10 Italian wines under £15 you should try in 2021
For under £15, there is no shortage of choice for excellent wine in Italy. A journey through 10 labels that cannot be missed by enthusiasts of wine gems
Italian wine is a constant discovery, much more so than the wine from any other country. This is demonstrated by the heritage, unique in the world, of indigenous grape varieties, of which there are hundreds in the Campania region alone. And it is demonstrated by the variety of climates and microclimates, latitudes, sometimes extreme slopes, and above all soils.
Added to this is great value for money. It is absolutely not true that Italian wines are expensive, quite the contrary. From spumante to whites, up to the great native reds of the South, in Italy the peaks of excellence are still hidden behind labels with a competitive price, to say the least.
Drinking excellent and exciting wine every day at the table is, in fact, one of the typical and most enjoyable characteristics of the Italian wine world. Discovering and learning every day something about a civilisation and a culture that tells the story of more than two thousand five hundred years of history in every glass.
The Signora del Morellino is the Ambassador for Maremma. This is how Elisabetta Geppetti has been defined, and the definition immediately fit like a glove for this producer who, with Fattoria Le Pupille, has made history for this land and its most traditional and innovative name. Elisabetta’s rigour and passion are used to make wines from this honest and wild territory that each year are authentic paradigms of elegance and excellence of contemporary Tuscan enology.
Her Morellino di Scansano is a fine red wine, soft and aromatic, with a shiny ruby colour. The nose expresses pleasant hints of small red berries, with a light spicy note on the finish. Delicate and fresh flavour that confirms the fruity aromas. Excellent with cold cuts and salami, pasta with meat sauce, roast and grilled meat, white and red meat stews.
Fabio Marchionni's wine is an excellent, typical Verdicchio di Matelica wine, grown and vinified biologically, which has won several awards and offers extraordinary value for money. Pale straw yellow in colour, with greenish highlights, it has a delicate nose of white flowers, chamomile and aromatic herbs. The underlying texture evokes a light minerality. Fresh and vertical, on the palate it is lively and youthful, a pure expression of the Marche hinterland. Sapid and with a restrained structure, it is destined for a very fine and rich ageing.
The name of Bartolomeo Bortolomiol can be found in documents associated to the world of wine dating back to the mid eighteenth century. Bartolomeo dedicated all his life to cultivating vines on the Valdobbiadene hillsides, working with a love for the land and a talent for making the most of its qualities, which has been transmitted down through the family, generation after generation. The founder of the current winery which specializes in sparkling wines, Giuliano Bortolomiol, showed a firm commitment to quality and the future of the Prosecco appellation from day one. His daughters Maria Elena, Elvira, Luisa and Giuliana have followed in the footsteps of their father and, alongside their mother Ottavia, they invest all their efforts and resources into extolling and improving the quality of their products and creating and maintaining a firm link to the land, guided at all times by principles of environmental responsibility.
Audax Zero.3, with its bold character and sugar content approaching zero, fully respects today's consumer trends and at the same time the vision and pioneering spirit of Giuliano Bortolomiol, who was the first in the 1960s to produce a brut version of Prosecco di Valdobbiadene. The extra brut version of Prosecco Superiore DOCG di Valdobbiadene is the natural expression of the Glera grape variety, which succeeds perfectly in refreshing the palate and is an excellent accompaniment to fish dishes. Perfect as an aperitif, it also goes very well with first courses and fried food.
We cannot speak about Anna Maria Abbona without speaking about the terroir of her home region, Dogliani. It was here, in the town of Moncucco di Farigliano, where Anna Maria made a firm commitment in the 1980s to cultivating the Dolcetto grape rather than the more usual Nebbiolo. Anna Maria's decision paid off and has been successful thanks not only to the grand crus they run for cultivating Dolcetto vines, but for their wise choices of crop location and the work they are carrying out following organic, or ecological, management principles.
The Abbona family’s entry Dogliani, Sorì dij But is an expression of the terroir of the upper part of Farigliano, almost on the border with Belvedere Langhe. For Anna Maria, it is the most typical Dolcetto, classic, crunchy, drinkable. Simple and fruity, it has a beautiful violet colour and an intriguing fragrance on the nose. On the palate, it is sprightly and has lively, fresh and pleasant tannins.
Centopassi is the Sicilian winery that, beginning with its name, reveals its commitment to the front line against the Mafia. This, however, should not distract from the intrinsic quality of the wines, which is excellent. The winery works on land confiscated from the mafia, and bases its work on the values of transparency and sustainability of the supply chain. The area is that of San Giuseppe Jato, inland from Palermo, with vineyards ranging from 500 to 950 metres above sea level, in the evocative and symbolic amphitheatre of Portella della Ginestra.
From the rocky harshness and sudden changes in temperature that characterise the rows of Pietra Longa in the Monreale countryside comes this austere single variety Grillo, Rocce. Dedicated to Nicolò Azoti, a trade unionist from Baucina assassinated by the Mafia, it rests nine months on its lees in steel. Straw yellow with golden hints, on the nose it is clearly mineral, with notes of jasmine and citrus scents of citron and grapefruit. Taut hints of Mediterranean scrub certify the label's origin. Fresh and incredibly sapid on the palate, this exceptional Grillo is mineral, harmonious and balanced.
The Sirica is an ancient variety with a mystery behind its origins, and in all likelihood it was used by the Romans in their winemaking. Although it apparently disappeared without trace over the centuries, we can still find it nowadays sparsely scattered over Italy. After the discovery in Irpinia of four vines aged more than two hundred years old, Feudi di San Gregorio has carried out an in-depth study of this variety's DNA and reproduced it in a small vineyard from which stems a unique wine, profoundly Mediterranean and with great personality.
Sirica appears a beautiful ruby colour (the name of the variety itself probably derives from "syricum", a red dye widely used in Roman times) and releases rich notes of blackberry, myrtle, liquorice and black pepper, in a clean-cut bouquet from which each nuance emerges with amazing vitality. The wild nature of this variety is tamed in the cellar through ageing in French oak barrels, and this makes Sirica a pleasant drink suiting all palates. A fresh, smooth wine that's very well-balanced and has some characteristically velvety tannins.
An ancient Benedictine monastery carved into the harsh rock of the Murgia plateau is the heart of one of the best wineries in the new showcase of quality winegrowing in Apulia: Torrevento. Torrevento, in the shadow of Castel del Monte, the medieval fort built by Frederick II of Swabia with the same beautiful rocks from the surrounding area, has been working since 1920 on the development and recovery of native grapes in this tiny plot in Apulia, with unique and traditional care of the specific extraordinary terroir.
The fundamentals for producing nero di Troia, an incredibly sleek, delicious and versatile wine, are selection, reducing the yield and sustainable management of the vineyard. Vigna Pedale is a wine which is immediately seductive with its deep colour and intense hints of claret. Delicious aromas of sweet spices, green pepper and dry flowers delight the nose, over a background of hints of prunes and tobacco. On drinking, its wonderfully wide aromatic range is confirmed in a pleasant all round mouth which is sure to convince. The wine has a well-defined body, just the right amount of tannins and a clear minerality. Notes of liquorice appear at the end to remind us of the spicy character of its nose. All in all, a complete wine.
The history of the Rynnhof dates back to the Middle Ages. The designation of origin "an der Rynnen" appeared for the first time in a document from 1438. At Rynnhof, wine production is carried out in a natural and artisanal way from the vine to the bottling. Since 2011, the vineyards have been cultivated according to organic farming principles. The harvest lasts from the beginning of September to mid-October. Then the work in the cellar begins, where the varietal wines from Pinot Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Lagrein and Vernatsch, i.e. Schiava, are created and developed.
Ansitz Rynnhof's Schiava is a light, low-tannin South Tyrolean red wine with a light to bright ruby colour. It has a pleasantly mild, fruity flavour with a hint of bitter almonds and cherries. The Schiava is the classic accompaniment to South Tyrolean cuisine, it goes perfectly with many traditional products and especially with the typical snack of speck, cold cuts and cheese. It is also ideal between meals.
In Brianza which, after the phylloxera devastation, had abandoned viticulture in favour of sericulture to produce silk or, more often, industrialisation, there is now a winery like La Costa, which has given new life to an apparently lost Lombard tradition. Among ancient terracing and new vineyards, the Crippa family has had the merit of giving new lustre to these magnificent soils which are beautifully exposed and blessed by the Lake Como breezes. Also, of course, the calcareous soils, rich in minerals and skeleton.
Brigante Bianco is the freshest and most immediate white wine from La Costa and, for this very reason, it immediately strikes you with the very high quality that this young winery from the upper Brianza area now expresses on a permanent basis (including in the splendid family agritourism just a short distance from Milan). The colour is straw yellow; the bouquet is characterised by gentle hints of tropical fruit and citrus fruits and notes of white flowers. The taste is fresh and sapid, with a consistent persistence. Perfect in combination with fish dishes. Excellent with baked sea bass with potatoes.
Among the countless Italian grapes to be discovered, Pecorino is one of the most significant. We are talking about a full-bodied white wine, naturally structural, mineral and long-lived, which expresses itself best along the Adriatic ridge of Italy, between Marche and Abruzzo.
The Tenuta I Fauri is a real jewel in the crown in the latter region. This family winery, run by the Di Camillo brothers, has vineyards between Francavilla and Villamagna, in the Teatino area, where the climate is a thin line between Mediterranean and hilly. It is also an eco-sustainable company spearheaded by its Pecorino.
Intense, complex and multifaceted, this great white wine offers hints of exotic fruit, apple, honey and mint. The flavour is firm and distinctive, sapid and at times saline, and goes well with cheese, white meat, roast fish and fried fish.