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TOP 100 WINES OF ITALY 2019

IL NOSTRO BAROLO  BUSSIA RISERVA ORO 2010 TRA I TOP 100 VINI D'ITALIA SECONDO JAMES SUCKLING!

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This year is Italy’s year for JamesSuckling.com! Roughly one out of four of the more than 25,000 wines we rated from around the world in 2019 were Italian. And so many were an amazing quality.

That’s why our Wine of the Year 2019 for the entire world was a superb 2015 Brunello di Montalcino from Siro Pacenti, the Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino Vecchie Vigne 2015. The same wine is also our Italian Wine of the Year. We just had to give the honor again to the Pacenti family, who made a perfect 100-point wine and a point of reference for all contemporary Italian wines.

The fact that the Masseto Toscana 2016, another 100-pointer, is our runner-up Italian Wine of the Year 2019 is another statement. We want to honor this incredible pure merlot for its consistently great quality and phenomenal following around the world. It puts the best of Italian wine at the same level as the great names of France including Latour, Margaux and Lafite-Rothschild. Masseto even sells a large percentage of its annual production to Bordeaux wine merchants, who then market the wine to customers around the world.

TUSCANY DOMINATES

This year was, indeed, a great year for the wines of Tuscany, which dominate our list. Toscana is making such diverse and high-quality wines from classics such as Brunello, Chianti Classico and Bolgheri to innovations like amphora-made sangiovese and barrel-fermented whites from remote coastal islands.

It’s Tuscan regions like Brunello di Montalcino that lead the way, however. And it certainly helps that the 2015 vintage is the greatest ever for Brunello and a new benchmark for Italian wines. In total, we included a dozen Brunellos in our list of the world’s Top 100 wines in 2019.

Therefore Brunello dominates this year’s list of the Top 100 Wines of Italy with 35 wines in total. Almost all were 2015 Brunellos, which will be available in the market from January 2020. A few 2013 riservas were also included.

BAROLO AND AMARONE SHOW PRECISION

Of course, many other great Italian wines were rated this year, particularly 2015 Barolos. This is also a benchmark vintage for Barolo, much like Brunello, in which the wines show a wonderful sense of richness yet remain fresh, structured and energetic. The purity and precision of the wines are fantastic. There are 32 Barolos in the list overall.

We are also happy to include three Amarone della Valpolicellas: Zenato Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Sergio Zenato Riserva 2013 (99 points), Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2011 (97 points), and Romano Dal Forno Amarone della Valpolicella Monte Lodoletta 2013 (97 points).

Amarone is finally moving away from the full-blown, high-octane style of the past to more precision and refinement that better reflects the unique terroirs and micro-climates of the region. They are becoming less wines of technique and more wines of place.

 ALTO ADIGE, FRIULI AND OTHERS ALSO SHINE

The remainder of the list includes a few whites, primarily from key northern regions such as Alto Adige and Friuli, as well as an ever-so-cool barrel-fermented trebbiano from Tuscany’s Petrolo, which makes the wine with Burgundy’s wunderkind Lucien Le Moine and an amphora white from an indigenous variety of Trentino called Foradori Manzoni Bianco Vigneti delle Dolomiti Fontanasanta 2018.

Don’t miss a few equally out-of-the-ordinary reds such as such as an ancient, ungrafted vine red from Sicily’s Etna called Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso Prephylloxera La Vigna di Don Peppino 2017 and a legendary red from Campania called Quintodecimo Taurasi Vigna Quintodecimo Riserva 2014. We clearly love the unique soils and microclimates of volcano wines!

This notion of provenance is essential to us at JamesSuckling.com. It’s why we look for balance and transparency in the best wines of the world and particularly Italy. And we believe Italian winemakers continue to make great wines with this notion in mind as well as maintain traditions and uniqueness of their great wines. We will be looking for more such great wines next year in our tastings in Italy!

 

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