Recent Vintages of Italian Wines from All over the Country – March 2024 Edition

by Ian D’Agata

In many respects, Italy is the world’s most exciting wine country. Beautiful panoramas, stunning churches and buildings that abound even in small wine towns, magnificent food, legions of grape varieties that call only Italy their home and countless talented passionate people who make their living out of wine. Unfortunately, not all is well in Italian wine.

Italy and France are the world’s biggest wine producers, but Italy has been fairly stable in the top dog position of late. But just like size isn’t everything, neither is liquid volume: quality is even more important than quantity and unfortunately not all Italian wines are something to write home about. The worst culprits are wines in many famous denominations that are not at all what they should be: like death and taxes, it is a guarantee that all wine lovers have at one time or another been disappointed by Valpolicella, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Chianti and Soave wines that they had chosen. But alas, those famous wine names are not a guarantee of quality: though there are marvellous wines to be found in each such denomination, the pitfalls are too numerous to count as well. Unfortunately, many wines presented for DOC status are rubber stamped as such, whereas they ought to be impeded from soiling a denomination’s name and destroying the trust of wine buyers everywhere.

In this report, I have sourced wineries that are truly worth your time and money and that will not steer you wrong with their wines. Clearly, there are myriad other fantastic wines available from Italy, and I will be writing about many of them in the next couple of months now that the new vintages will be released and hitting the market.

The wines in this tasting report

I have tasted all of the following wines either in Italy, Shanghai or at the recent Astrum wine portfolio tasting in London.

Alto Adige.

Cantina Andriano.

Cantina Andriano 2022 Pinot Bianco Finado Alto Adige           91

Pale straw colour. Delicate peach, citrus skin and herbs on the nose. Easygoing and not especially complex, but nicely clean and ripe with apple, nectarine and mineral flavors. Silky and classically dry, even a bit austere, but finishes with building florality, ripeness and persistence. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Cantina Andriano 2022 Pinot Grigio Alto Adige                 91

Bright, pale medium yellow. Aromas of pear, white flowers, hazelnut and herbs. Moderately big, suave, and fairly deep with a stony minerality currently dominating the palate. Excellent persistence on the bright finish. Drinking window: 2024-2027.

Cantina Andriano 2021 Sauvignon Blanc Andrius Alto Adige    91

Bright straw yellow. Lifted, penetrating nose offers nectarine, peach, gooseberry and flowers. Bright, at once fruity and herbal, intense and round; nicely ripe and gripping. The stone fruit and lime flavors are balanced, nicely delineated, and long. Drinking window: 2024-2027.

Cantina Andriano 2021 Chardonnay Dorian Alto Adige           90

Golden-tinged straw yellow. Crushed herbs and cool tropical fruit on the showy nose. Fairly big, rich and ripe in the mouth, with strong orange and pineapple flavours. Continues cool and primary on the slowly building finish, which features lovely citric energy and a bright tactile quality. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Cantina Andriano 2022 Lagrein Rubeno Alto Adige          89

Medium red-ruby. Gentle, straightforward aromas of black cherry, blackberry, violet and ink. Fresh and classically dry, with lively if simple flavours of dark berries, bitter chocolate and herbs. Closes with firm tannins and high, lively, harmonious acidity. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Cantina Terlano.

Cantina Terlano 2022 Terlaner Cuvée Alto Adige               93

Bright straw yellow. Complex aromas of lime, orchard fruit, herbs and a hint of smoke. Racy, classy very pure wine, with a clean quality and very good inner-mouth energy. No impression of thickness here, closing long with a lovely light touch. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Cantina Terlano 2022 Chardonnay Tradition Alto Adige           92

Bright straw yellow. Ripe aromas of apple, ripe citrus, honey, banana and apricot. Dense and thick but shapely, with sweet stone fruit flavors complicated by orange peel, herbs and white flowers. Shows a leesy richness on the long close. Drinking window: 2026-2032.

Cantina Terlano 2021 Terlaner Cuvée Riserva Nova Domus Alto Adige         94

Medium deep yellow. Nose dominated by pear, apple, grilled hazelnut and walnut. Then rich, round and full in the mouth, with mellow acidity cleanly framing the nut and peach flavours. Seamless, shapely and persistent. Drinking window: 2026-2035.

Cantina Terlano 2021 Terlaner Grande Cuvée Primo Alto Adige   95

Bright straw-green with a little gold. Deep aromas of chamomile, beeswax, white orchard fruit and minerals are complicated by strong hints of Sauvignon-derived gooseberry and lime. Then multilayered and thick, but with lovely lift thanks to white flower and fresh citrus elements energizing the apple and pear flavours. The finish is long and lively, with a very refined quality and repeating nuances of the Sauvignon presence. A blend of mostly Pinot Bianco (from the prized Vorberg cru), with some Chardonnay (from the Kreuth area) and very little Sauvignon Blanc (from the excellent Winkl site), this is Terlano’s best wine. Drinking window: 2026-2039.

Cantina Terlano 2021 Gewürztraminer Lunare Alto Adige           92

Medium golden yellow colour. Ripe tropical fruit, honey, fruit nectar, glazed pineapple, grapefruit reduction and guava. Thick and rich with a low-acid mouthfeel and thick flavours of ripe tropical fruit and honey on the long mouthcoating ripe finish. A very ripe, luscious, concentrated Gewurz, but I would have liked a little more acidity for greater lift. Drinking window: 2024-20428.

Cantina Terlano 2021 Lagrein Riserva Gries Alto Adige                  92

Good full ruby-red. Perfumed, lively aromas of raspberry, blackberry, plum, cola and spices. Broad and gentle with easygoing lovely inner-mouth perfume and sweetness of dark berry and black cherry fruit. Offers good mineral tang and Lagrein-typical underlying structure but this comes across as fruity and juicy rather than big and structured. Drinking window: 2026-2032.

Franz Haas.

Franz Haas 2021 Pinot Nero Alto Adige                               90

Vivid medium ruby colour. Varietally accurate flavours of red and black cherry, ink, herbs and some smoke. Fresh and juicy, with a nicely layered mouthfeel and smooth tannins on the juicy fruity long finish. A nice Pinot Noir wine that’s easygoing and approachable. Drinking window: 2026-2032.


Praesidium 2021 Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Superiore                     93

One of Abruzzo’s best Cearsuolo d’Abruzzo wines, the 2021 by Praesidium is especially good. Medium dark pink colour, which is exactly the dark tonality a Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo wine should be (wines that were never, and should not be, Provence Rosé-like pale in colour). Fruity and earthy tones abound on the nose, with red cherry, rosehip, plum and forest floor dominating. Fresh and juicy, with good mineral tang to the flavours of red fruits, flowers and underbrush. Closes long and juicy. Make sure you decant an hour ahead to let the natiuralò wine funk dissipate, but at Praaesidium they are far too talented to serve you a wine that stinks and then try to pass it off as a good thing. This is an outstanding Italian pink wine made in the light red wine style that is the historically accurate and traditional way of Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo. Drinking window: 2024-2030.


Tenuta del Conte.

Tenuta del Conte 2022 Cirò Bianco                               90

Medium pale yellow. Pure aromas of white plum, fresh apricot, tangerine and herbs. Quite dry, juicy and elegant, with orchard fruit and powdered stone flavors complicated by a grilled nuance on the close. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Tenuta del Conte 2013 Calabria Bianco Manere                 91

Bright full yellow. Full-blown aromas and flavours of apricot, apple and hazelnut. Silky and lush on entry, with good mid-palate energy and greater austerity to give shape to the wine. Still a bit youthfully tight, but there’s a lot of wine here. Drinking window: 2025-2029.

Tenuta del Conte 2022 Cirò Rosato                               92

Bright light pink. Raspberry and wild herbs on the nose, with hints of dried violet and minerals underneath. Clean and crisp, with red fruit and orange peel flavors braced by white pepper and nicely lifted on the long zingy finish by a perfumed floral undertone. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Tenuta del Conte 2019 Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore        93

Good bright red. Sexy aromas of red cherry, spicy underbrush, and balsamic hints of sweet tobacco and mocha. At once dense and vibrant, ripe and concentrated but without showing any excess weight; this strikes me as a really refined Cirò. Fine-grained and deep, with attractive floral lift to the red cherry, licorice and woodsy underbrush flavours. Closes firm and with outstanding length. One of the best Cirò wines I have ever tried, but you can extend that comment to just about any wine from this estate that boasts wines of truly eye-opening quality. Very well done. Drinking window: 2026-2033.



Pietracupa 2021 Greco Campania                   95

Bright pale yellow. Captivating aromas of pear, pineapple, marzipan, and minerals, with a touch of smoke that complements rather than overwhelms the wine. Suave and complex, with an impression of tannic underpinning that’s very typical of Greco but is buffered here by ripe fruitiness and firm minerality. Seems a bit less powerful than some past versions, but this boasts greater refinement. Closes with a very Fiano-like (and less like Greco) gripping citric aftertaste. Knockout Greco di Tufo from he who is not so arguably the best producer of Greco di Tufo wines in all Italy. Drinking window: 2025-2035.

Pietracupa 2021 Fiano Campania                    96

As good as Pietracupa’s Greco di Tufo wine is (arguably Italy’s best), the wine made by Pietracupa owner Sabino Loffredo that never ceases to amaze me is his marvelous Fiano. Pale straw yellow. Vibrant minerality, juicy orchard fruitiness, herbal underbrush, and smoky hazelnutty nuances dominate on the nose and in the mouth. Pure, dense and concentrated, with gorgeous clarity and cut provided by crystalline acidity, the finish lasts and lasts featuring hints of jasmine, peach, grapefruit and repeating minerality. Knockout stuff. Drinking window: 2025-2037.

Pietracupa 2019 Aglianico Quirico                  91

Good bright, dark red. Musky red berries, dark cherry, leather, smoked meat and tobacco on the deep nose and palate. Lively, silky-sweet and saline, this finishes long with firm fine-grained tannins. Nicely balanced wine for mid-term aging. Drinking window: 2025-2029.

Pietracupa 2017 Taurasi                      94

Good full ruby-red. A bit more exotic and high-toned on the nose than the 2019 Quirico, offering aromas of dark plums, licorice, violet, and nutty oak. Nicely seamless and concentrated, with real depth to the dense flavours of dark cherry, flint and mocha. Low-toned and ample, but with enough harmonious, sound acidity so as to leave an impression of lift on the sappy and long finish, featuring a building nutty oak component. Drinking window: 2024-2038.



Quintodecimo 2022 Greco di Tufo Giallo d’Arles               94

Bright yellow. Very intense, concentrated and complex aromas and flavours of tropical yellow fruit, ginger, crystallized lime, minerals, sexy spices and menthol. Rich, layered and dense in the mouth, but with vibrant acidity providing excellent clarity and cut. The finish is long and rich, leaving a noble mouthcoating sensation behind. A single-vineyard wine that is partly barrel-fermented but is not at all oaky, it is an archetypal Greco di Tufo that ought to be mandatory drinking for any self-respecting sommelier and aspiring wine course graduate. It highlights like few other Greco di Tufo wines what both the grape variety and the wine are all about. Greco gives wines that are quite red wine-like, with noteworthy tannic heft [the Greco variety is a rare tannic white grape: The wine’s name, “giallo d’Arles” is a reference to one of van Gogh’s favourite colours, a deep yellow that hints at a red colouration (how appropriate with Greco!)]. Drinking window: 2027-2032.

Friuli Venezia Giulia.

I Clivi.

I Clivi 2022 Malvasia Vigna 80 Anni Collio           94

One of Italy’s best white wines in almost every vintage, the 2022 I Clivi Malvasia 80 anni is a knockout. Pale, green-tinged color. Pear, tangerine, lemon ice and crystallized citrus peel on the nose, along with intensely aromatic notes of fresh ginger, diesel fuel and lemongrass. Rich and spicy, with an almost exotic oily character and a suggestion of caramelized citrus peel nicely framed by bright harmonious acidity that really extends the fruit and spice flavours on the chewy, lightly saline fruit- and spice- driven finish. Drinking window: 2026-2032.

I Clivi 2021 Friulano San Lorenzo Collio               93

Good pale yellow. Aromas and flavours of almonds, white orchard fruit, and thyme are very dense and deep. The aftertaste is rich, full and mouthcoating. Layered and concentrated, with a luscious mouthfeel, this is a gorgeously complex, rich Friulano wines like few others. From very old Tocai Friulano vines planted in a vineyard surrounding the Church of San Lorenzo on the Monte Quarin. Drinking window: 2026-2030.

I Clivi 2021 Collio Bianco Brazan                           92

Good full yellow. Pure, delicate nose opened nicely with air to reveal fresh apricot, crystallized citrus peel and herbal high notes, with a touch of lemongrass and white pepper from the Malvasia Istriana in the blend. Offers plenty of tightly coiled energy to its fresh tangerine and citrus fruit flavours, complicated by almond and mint. The aftertaste is long and plush. Another I Clivi wine made from very old vines (around 80 years of age) planted along the Slovenian border in the Brazan vineyard in the territory of the hamlet of Brazzano di Cormons. This is a blend of 90% Tocai Friulano and 10% Malvasia Istriana. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

I Clivi 2022 Cabernet Franc Friuli Colli Orientali       91

Vivid ruby colour. Blueberries and blackberries are complemented by minerals and cedar on the nose and in the mouth. Vibrant, juicy and boasting good inner-mouth perfume, this energetic, lively Cab Franc finishes long fresh and juicy. Perfect with burgers and pizza. These forty years old vines are planted on the hills of Buttrio, one of the warmer sections of the Colli Orientali, where Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Carmenère thrive. Buttrio is also historically the best or at no worst one of the three best areas in which to grow red grapes in all of FVG. Drinking window: 2027-2032.


Claudio Mariotto.

Claudio Mariotto 2021 Timorasso Bricco San Michele              90

Pale straw with golden tinges. Pear, white flowers, wild fennel and licorice aromas and flavours. Finishes long with a saline edge. Organic farming, indigenous yeasts, twelve months on the lees in stainless steel tanks and then just as many in bottle are just parts of the recipe for success of this easy to like, nicely approachable white wine made from the estate’s youngest Timorasso vines. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Claudio Mariotto 2020 Timorasso Colli Tortonesi              92

Greenish yellow-gold. Bright aromas of apple, lime peel, quince, flint and herbs. Supple and suave, with ripe flavours of lime, fig and peach. The long mineral-accented finish shows subtle sweetness and excellent clarity. Made from a selection of the winery’s best Timorasso grapes, aged one year in stainless steel tanks and then six months in bottle. This white wine usually ages up to a decade without problems, though the 2020 will be more approachable sooner and perhaps not quite as long-lived. But it’s so good already now, why defer gratification? Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Claudio Mariotto 2020 Freisa Braghé Colli Tortonesi        93

Bright dark red with garnet highlights. Aromas and flavours of strawberry, dark cherry, musk, licorice and roses are bright, perfumed and juicy. The long finish features nicely harmonious acidity and fine-grained tannins. Knockout Freisa wine made in a fresh, easy-going ready to drink style. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Claudio Mariotto 2017 Croatina Montemirano Colli Tortonesi            89

Bright dark ruby. Aromas and flavours of blackcurrant, coffee, herbs, menthol and leather. Enters pliant on the palate, then more austere, showing a restrained sweetness and some slightly intrusive acidity.  The tannins turn a bit grippy on the medium-long back end.  This 100% Croatina wine spent twelve months in 50% new and 50% second fill 500 liter oak barrels; the oak is not especially noticeable but I found this to be slightly fruit-challenged for what I am accustomed to with Croatina and the types of wines it gives; most likely it’s a vintage effect, given the characteristics of the 2017 growing season.  Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Francesco Rinaldi.

Francesco Rinaldi 2022 Nebbiolo Langhe                     92

Bright red. Perfumed aromas of red roses, red cherry, minerals and violet. Then similar flavours boasting impeccable precision and plenty of juiciness. Closes long vibrant and juicy. Very smooth, harmonious easy to drink Nebbiolo wine that is impossible not to like. Delicious. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Francesco Rinaldi 2019 Barolo Brunate                94+

Good bright medium red. Fresh and lively on the nose, offering scents of red fruits, dried flowers, licorice and flint.  Moderately intense with good energy and lift to its red fruit and licorice flavors, along with some youthfully chewy wood tannins. There’s some richness here but this version of Brunate seems slightly subdued to me at the present time. This is an outstanding well-balanced Barolo, but maybe I caught it at an awkward stage, because this is usually bursting at the seams with juicy fruitiness even at a young age, but in this vintage it seems more restrained and less powerful than the winery’s Cannubi, which is usually the more delicate of the two wines. Drinking window: 2036-2040.

Francesco Rinaldi 2019 Barolo Cannubi                96

Luminous bright red. Warm aromas of red cherry, dark plum, sweet spices, marzipan and candied violet.  Plush, rich and pliant, showing terrific depth to its sweet red and dark fruit flavours, complicated by minerals, sandalwood and marzipan nuances. Quite large-scaled fand very fruit-forward for a Cannubi from this estate, and surprisingly approachable now. Youthfully chewy but smooth tannins, outstanding length and a lusciously mouthcoating texture characterize the long sexy finish. Drinking window: 2037-2044.

Produttori del Barbaresco.

Produttori del Barbaresco 2022 Nebbiolo Langhe       92

Bright red. Concentrated, harmonious aromas and flavours of red cherry, orange peel and sweet spices have lovely clarity and cut. Finishes smooth with outstanding length. This is fermented in concrete to preserve freshness then ages in large oak barrels for five months. Drinking window: 2029-2040.

Produttori del Barbaresco 2020 Barbaresco          94

Good bright medium red. Aromas of spicy red cherry, red plum, dried flowers, and coffee; though the fruit aromas are subtle, this strikes me as a much fruitier Barbaresco than Produttori’s spicier 2019 Barbaresco. Suave and fine-grained, with lovely floral and spicy lift and a distinct minerality. Finishes with serious but smooth tannins, this is highly enjoyable to drink already now but will age and improve easily for another decade. Drinking window: 2029-2040.

Produttori del Barbaresco 2019 Barbaresco Riserva Muncagota  95+

Good full, bright red. Exotic nuances to the aromas of blue flowers, sweet spices, blood orange and red cherry. Firm and taut but with good glyceral sweetness to its captivating floral and spicy red fruit flavours.  Finishes with terrific floral lift and length. This is actually quite ready to drink now, though spending another eight years or so in the cellar won’t hurt it any. Drinking window: 2029-2042.

Produttori del Barbaresco 2019 Barbaresco Riserva Asili             98

Moderately saturated red. Fairly backward but vibrant nose (both of which are “very Asili”) hints at raspberry, black cherry, mace, exotic woods, and dried violet, plus a bright red rose topnote.  Gripping, sharply delineated and wonderfully light on its feet, with the notes of red cherry, dried flowers and spices repeating the palate. Boasts outstanding focus from promising start to very long, rising, classy and still youthfully closed finish. As good as the Muncagota is, this is simply stellar, and a clearcut example of the difference that exists between a premier cru and a grand cru site. Make no mistake about it: this is a beauty, and a great expression of Nebbiolo from Asili. Drinking window: 2029-2044.


Federico Curtaz.

Federico Curtaz 2020 Etna Bianco Gamma          92

Bright straw colour. Vertical aromas and flavours of lemon verbena, apple and minerals. Long and fresh on the vibrant finish. The Carricante grapes were sourced near Milo, the single best spot to grow this grape on Etna. The wine is aged in stainless steel only. This white wine showcases noteworthy finesse and ages very well. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

Federico Curtaz 2020 Etna Bianco Kudos

Pale gold-tinged yellow. Pure crushed rock and flinty minerality on the nose complicated by hints of ripe pear and vanilla. Spicy and complex in the mouth, this manages to be simultaneously thick and weightless, a neat trick. The slowly mounting finish features iodine, balsamic oil and ripe yellow fruit notes. Carricante grown in the famous Contrada Rinazzo on the eastern slope of Etna, the best place in the world in which to grow Carricante. Vinified and aged in 25 hectoliters oak barrels. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

Federico Curtaz 2019 Etna Rosso Il Purgatorio           93

Bright red. Terrific floral lift to the ripe aromas and flavours of red fruits, minerals and sweet spices. Perfumed and penetrating in the mouth, with lots of energy and thrust to the spicy red cherry and redcurrant flavors.  Very long, fine-grained finish featuring a strongly saline mineral grip. 100% Nerello Mascalese from the Biancavilla area of Etna. Drinking window: 2025-2028

Federico Curtaz 2019 Etna Riosso Pukkaria         94

Deep red. Red cherry, camphor, sandalwood, minerals and orange peel of the bright nose. Then similarly bright but also very rich and ripe flavours of red fruit and sweet spices. Closes long and briny and slightly flinty. The wine’s name, “Pukkaria” refers to the Contrada Porcaria, that most everybody else calls Feudo di Mezzo. Drinking window: 2025-2030.


Gulfi 2022 Valcanzjiria Terre Siciliane            90

Pale yellow. Hints of peach, banana and orange zest, plus a whiff of powdered stone. Strong stone fruit flavors lifted and complicated by eucalyptus and wild herb. Brisk lemony acidity leaves an impression of very good grip on the herbal, long finish. A blend of 50% Chardonnay, 45% Carricante and 5% Albanello from the Muti vineyard. Drinking window: 2024-2027.

Gulfi 2020 Carjcanti Terre Siciliane         91

Green-tinged straw yellow. Almond flowers, flint, green apple and fresh citrus aromas and flavours linger nicely. A 100% Carricante wine made with grapes from the Campo vineyard. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Gulfi 2022 Rossojbleo Terre Siciliane              92

Good bright medium pale red.  Scented, soil-driven aromas of red cherry, redcurrant, dried flowers, minerals and tobacco. Fresh and juicy on entry, then penetrating in the middle, with serious but harmonious acidity firming up the sappy red fruit and floral flavours. Finishes with palate-staining floral perfume.  I love this style of Sicilian red wine. Drinking window: 2024-2027.

Gulfi 2022 Cerasuolo di Vittoria               93

Glass-staining richly hued red.  Powerful red cherry and blueberry aromas are complicated by dried flowers, potpourri and herbs  Fleshy sweet red and blue fruit flavours are nicely framed by silky tannins and pick up a candied lavender note with air. Closes with excellent clarity and fruitiness. A very successful Cerasuolo di Vittoria from Gulfi, this is very easy to drink now but will also show a graceful evolution in the bottle. A 70% Nero d’Avola and 30% Frappato blend. Drinking window: 2024-2030.

Gulfi 2019 Nerobaronj Terre Siciliane             95

Vivid deep red-ruby. Varietally- and site-accurate aromas of red and dark berries, violet, cracked pepper and fresh citrus.  Juicy and nicely precise, offering energetic blackberry and strawberry flavours and a hint of minerals. A flinty note comes back on the finish, which is long and citrussy fresh. Drinking window: 2026-2038.

Gulfi 2019 Nerobufaleffj Terre Siciliane         96

Deep red. Flamboyant candied aromas of red cherry, coffee, dried flowers, licorice and marzipan are lifted by a bright violet topnote. Lush, sweet and perfumed in the mouth, with intense flavours of raspberry, cherry, spices, rose petal and saline minerality. Closes very long, ripely tannic and with repeating perfumed floral lift. Very expressive already, with lovely framing acidity, this strikes me as a more floral less Amarone-like version of Nerobufaleffj. Drinking window: 2026-2036.


Monteleone 2022 Etna Bianco            92

Bright straw yellow. Mineral, white fruit and fresh citrus aromas and flavours are complemented by nuances of wild herbs and minerals. Closes long with zingy lemony twists. Reportedly made with Carricante grapes from the Sant’Alfio and Milo areas on the eastern slope of Etna between 700-900 meters above sea level. Certified organic farming and the wine was vinified and aged in stainless steel. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Monteleone 2021 Etna Bianco Anthemis  93

Light golden-tinged straw colour. Pungent pear skin and peach pit aromas are complicated by hints of sweet spices and vanilla. Picks up more spice and floral qualities with air, along with an herbal nuance and a touch of honey. Ripe but pure orchard fruit flavors boast impressive energy and finish long with very good clarity. 100% Carricante from the easter slope of Etna (Sant’Alfio area), vinified in stainless steel and aged in 700 liters oak tonneaux. Only 12.5% alcohol and lots of flavour. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Monteleone 2021 Etna Rosso                     92

Bright red. Crisp mineral-accented red fruit aromas and flavours. Vibrant and steely on the long aftertaste. Aged in a mix of 500 and 700 liters oak tonneaux then another six months in bottle prior to going on sale. Drinking window: 2029-2040.

Monteleone 2020 Etna Rosso Qubba        93

Good saturated medium red. Rich aromas of red cherry, potpourri, earth and dried flowers are complemented by a decadent marzipan quality. Silky on entry, then richer and riper, but with a restrained sweetness to the seamless red fruit and saline mineral flavours.  The aftertaste lingers impressively. Drinking window: 2027-2033.


Passopisciaro 2020 Chardonnay Passobianco Terre Siciliane              92

Good straw yellow. Tangy lemon oil, mint, butter and crushed stone on the bright nose. Spicy, ripe and deep on the palate, with ripe yellow fruit and spice flavours. Finishes classically dry and long. Drinking window: 2025-2028.

Passopisciaro 2021 Etna Rosso Passorosso Terre Siciliane              93

Bright red. Crunchy, sweet red cherry and red berry have a smoky mineral nuance and a typical balsamic edge. The close is long clean and pure. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Passopisciaro 2021 Contrada R Terre Siciliane            95

Luminous deep red. Strawberry, raspberry, balsamic oils, lava and violet dominate the nose and the palate. Firmly tannic but polished, with rich ripe fruit carrying through on the long lively finish. A great wine from one of the greatest (and highest) crus of all Etna, known for giving wines of uncompromising tannicity but Passopisciaro’s talent level is such that their Contrada R wine is always smoother than most. Drinking window: 2029-2040.

Passopisciaro 2020 Franchetti Terre Siciliane        98

Deep red. Ink, black pepper, candied violet, black cherry syrup and red roses on the deep, perfumed nose. Then rich and voluptuous, with ripe flavours of exotic woods, red cherry and blackberry coulis, complicated by Cesanese-affiliated nuances of white pepper, sage and sultry red cherry. A big strapping but creamy red wine that finishes long and pure. A blend of 60% Petit Verdot and 40% Cesanese d’Affile. Drinking window: 2029-2040.


Planeta 2016 Noto Passito                          92

Golden yellow. Straightforward, clean aromas and flavours of wildflower honey, peach, tropical fruit, lemon peel and orange reduction. Enters rich and honeyed, then slightly austere in the middle and not so sweet as the nose had let on the long classic finish. Not at all weighty, this very well-balanced sweet wine that will leave your mouth feeling clean and lively. Drinking window: 2024-2028.

Tenuta delle Terre Nere.

Tenuta delle Terre Nere 2022 Etna Rosato                    92

Pale pink with an orangy twist. Aromas and flavours of rosehip, redcurrant and orange peel have a strong mineral overlay. Saline and savoury on the long vibrating fresh finish. Drinking window: 2024-2026.



Sancaba 2021 Pinot Nero Toscana                   91

Bright red. Delicate aromas and flavours of red fruit, ink and minerals. Closes long and light-bodied with a hint of violet. I’ve probably never had a Pinot Noir from Tuscany remotely as good s this one. Drinking window: 2024-2026.

Tenuta di Trinoro.

Tenuta di Trinoro 2021 Le Cupole Toscana     94

Good full, bright red. Exotic perfume of flowers, sweet spices, blood orange and red fruits. Sweet, lush and glyceral but at the same time energetic and precise, with captivating floral nuances to the red fruit flavours. Closes with terrific clarity and cut. Given the quality in the bottle, Le Cupole is for me is one of the top three or four best buy wines in Italy. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Tenuta di Trinoro 2021 Campo di Tenaglia Toscana       93+

Bright red. Strong notes of violet, noble cocoa, vanilla, and red cherry with a strong milk chocolate overlay. Then suave and rich, with a penetrating mouthfeel and repeating red fruit and spicy flavours. Closes long with bright mineral and floral lift. Drinking window: 2026-2035.

Tenuta di Trinoro 2020 Tenuta di Trinoro Rosso Toscana 96+

Medium red.  Lovely floral perfume lifts a slightly reticent, shut-down nose of candied raspberry, cherry and violet; very Cabernet Franc! Silky, intense and penetrating, with lovely harmonious acidity providing grip and lift to the complex red fruit, mineral, candied violet and underbrush flavors. Slightly youthfully sullen currently, but boasts lovely underlying glyceral sweetness and depth. Finishes with suave tannins and terrific fruity persistence. The 20202 Trinoro is a 92% Cabernet Franc and 8% Merlot blend and  is a very good example of a Cabernet Franc-dominated red wine, that is characteristically more reticent in its youth than might be a Merlot-dominated wine (such as for example will be the 2021 Tenuta di Trinoro); but in my experience, given very few world-wide exceptions (Petrus, Trotanoy, Apparita, Redigaffi, Masseto) it is always the Cabernet Franc-dominated wines that win out in the end. Drinking window: 2028-2040.


Monte Tondo.

Monte Tondo 2022 Soave Mito                  92

Bright straw colour. Subdued but pure aromas of yellow plum, orange peel and herbs. Lively and fresh, with a dominant element of rocky minerality. Focused and bright on the long zingy finish. Lovely. Drinking window: 2024-2029.

Monte Tondo 2022 Soave Classico                   93

Pale yellow. Aromas of nectarine and orange blossom are lifted by spicy high tones and a steely minerality. A step up in volume and energy over the Mito, showing a distinctly tactile, saline quality to its dense yellow fruit. Close long with a firm edge. Drinking window: 2025-2030.

Monte Tondo 2021 Soave Casette Foscarino   94

Vivid straw yellow colour. Ripe pineapple aroma complicated by a note of crushed stones, anise and orange nectar. Ripe and rich, but with firm acidity and a strong mineral quality nicely framing and lifting the ripe yellow fruit and flinty flavours. Dense and concentrated, but floral and elegant at the same time, this is gorgeous. Very successful Soave: I wish there were more such wines boasting similarly impressive depth, texture and Garganega-accurate aromas and flavours. Drinking window: 2025-2032.


Ian D'Agata

Editor-in-Chief of Terroir Sense Wine Review
President of Terroir Sense Academy
Vice President of Association Internationale des Terroirs
Chief Scientific Officer of TasteSpirit

Ian D’Agata has been writing and educating about wines for over thirty years. Internationally recognized as an distinguished expert, critic and writer on many wine regions, his two most recent, award winning books Native Wine Grapes of Italy and Italy's Native Wine Grape Terroirs (both published by University of California Press) are widely viewed as the "state of the art" textbooks on the subject. The former book won the Louis Roederer International Wine Awards Book of the Year in 2015 and was ranked as the top wine books of the year for the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and the New York Times, while the latter was named among the best wine books of the year by Food & Wine Magazine and the NY Times.

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Ian D'Agata