Top 100 Wines of Italy
We tasted more than 6,000 Italian wines this year and that itself is an achievement, considering the conditions during the pandemic. The greatest number of wines on our Top 100 list come from Tuscany (41), followed by Piedmont (19), the Northeast (15), Sicily (9), Veneto (8), Campania (6), and Sardinia and Umbria with one each.
On close scrutiny, our Top 100 Italy list may look a little different this year. In the past, it was filled with the latest-release Barolos and Brunellos. At the start of 2021, the big question among the JamesSuckling.com tasting team was how producers in Piedmont and Tuscany would have coped with the most recently released vintage – the very hot 2017. After tasting nearly 400 Barolo 2017s and over 170 Brunello 2017s, our list goes some way in answering the question.
Of the 12 Brunellos on our list, none are from the 2017 vintage. They are all 2016 Riservas, and this is probably the last opportunity to snap up wines from that fantastic vintage on release. On the other hand, all 19 Barolos included in the list are from the challenging 2017 vintage.
“The complexity and beauty of this wine is something else on the nose, offering perfume, cedar, dried flower, black cherry, blueberry and crushed stone. Orange peel, too. Full-bodied with incredible layers of ultra-fine tannins that give this wine horizontal depth that almost seems endless. Extremely long and lightly chewy at the end. This is one for the cellar. Try after 2026.”
“So much ash and dried-strawberry character. Burnt orange-peel undertones. Tar, too. It’s full-bodied with chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Lots of rose petals. This needs four or five years to open, but nicely integrated now. Try after 2024.”
By James Suckling | JamesSuckling.com
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