If you are new to the world of Italian red wines, navigating through the countless options available can be overwhelming. With its rich history and diverse wine regions, Italy offers a wide range of red wines that cater to every taste. In this blog post, we will explore the five best Italian red wines for beginners to buy online in 2023. Whether you prefer a bold and full-bodied wine or a lighter and fruitier option, this list will help you discover some fantastic choices to begin your journey into the world of Italian wine.
Here are the 5 best Italian wines for beginners to buy online in 2023:
- Brunello di Montalcino | San Guglielmo
- Barolo Camilla | Bruna Grimaldi
- Toscana Dautore | Le sode di Sant'Angelo
- Roro | De Bacco
- Riserva Kosmos | Marco Antonelli
The wines in this selection are carefully chosen for those taking their first steps into the world of wine. This means we've applied different criteria for selection compared to what sommeliers typically consider when evaluating a wine. Our goal is to curate wines that offer an unforgettable experience, appreciated even by those new to the wine scene. This doesn't imply that if you're a wine enthusiast, you won't enjoy these wines – quite the contrary! You'll certainly find them excellent, but as a connoisseur, you might be seeking more robust characters and complex bouquets to challenge your knowledge and abilities.
Here are the three criteria we employed for this selection.
Criterium 1: Balanced Tannins
Tannins are natural compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, imparting a structural element to red wines. When evaluating wines for beginners, the level of tannins is crucial as it significantly influences the wine's mouthfeel. Soft tannins refer to a smoother, less astringent sensation, making the wine more approachable, especially for those new to red wines. Harsh or pronounced tannins can be overwhelming and may mask the fruity and nuanced flavors, potentially discouraging beginners from fully enjoying the wine. Opting for red wines with balanced or soft tannins ensures a more pleasant tasting experience, allowing individuals to ease into the complexities of red wine without the distraction of excessive dryness or bitterness.
Criterium 2: Defined Aromas
The presence of defined and easily recognizable aromas in red wines is essential for beginner winelovers as it provides a tangible, concrete and enjoyable tasting experience. Wines with expressive fruit-forward characteristics, such as cherry, raspberry, or blackberry notes, offer a clear and familiar profile that is easier for novices to identify and appreciate. This clarity in flavor profile helps individuals develop their taste and gain confidence in distinguishing different taste elements in wine. For beginners, wines with well-defined flavors act as a gateway, making the learning process more engaging and nicer, setting the stage for further exploration into the diverse world of wine.
Criterium 3: Versatility in food pairing
Versatility in terms of wine and food pairing in red wines is a key criterion for wine beginners due to the wide range of foods they may encounter in their exploration of wine pairings. Choosing a versatile italian red wine means selecting a bottle that can complement various dishes, allowing beginners to experiment with different food and multiple wine combinations. This criterion is important for fostering an holistic appreciation of wine as part of the dining experience. A versatile red wine provides the flexibility to pair with almost anything from grilled meats to pasta, enhancing the overall enjoyment and encouraging beginners to discover the synergy between wine and food. This adaptability ensures that beginners can confidently select a red wine that suits their taste preferences across diverse culinary scenarios.
Best Italian Red Wine #1: Montalcino DOCG 2016 | Winery San Guglielmo
The Brunello di Montalcino DOCG by San Guglielmo Winery is a red wine crafted from 100% Sangiovese grapes, embodying intensity, balance, and structure. Tasting it reveals the true essence of the finest Tuscan winemaking tradition.
This exceptional wine originates from Cantina San Guglielmo in Montalcino, a region steeped in winemaking history. The vineyards, nestled in the Il Chiesino area, bear witness to the meticulous work of Ilaria Martini, who, alongside her father and husband, guides the winery. The Sangiovese vines, cultivated in this unique location surrounded by oaks and holm oaks, contribute to the exceptional quality of Brunello di Montalcino. Ilaria recently revitalized an old vineyard and began producing a Brunello that immediately established itself as an excellence.
Brunello di Montalcino by San Guglielmo reveals a distinctive tannic profile, contributing to its impressive longevity. The carefully balanced tannins create a well-defined palate, offering a silky texture and excellent persistence. The wine undergoes meticulous maceration and aging, including two months in steel, 18 months in large barrels, and an additional 12 months in the bottle, resulting in integrated and incredibly pleasant tannins.
This vibrant red wine, with its captivating garnet hue, presents an aromatic kaleidoscope. The floral approach (of peony and dog rose) soon gives way to a succession of fruity scents of plums and sour cherries, marked by precise spicy touches. And then one perceives: cocoa, cinnamon, tamarind, and nutmeg. All of this makes the tasting experience incredible.
Renowned for its structure, tannic presence, and persistence, Brunello di Montalcino by San Guglielmo is a complex wine with a beautiful structure. For this reason, we recommend pairing it with succulent dishes with intense aromatic persistence. Tasting it with Tuscan meat enhances the experience, but it can be enjoyed with various foods that have a good structure.
Best Italian Red Wine #2: Barolo DOCG "Camilla" 2018 | Winery Bruna Grimaldi
The Barolo Camilla by Bruna Grimaldi, a highly elegant italian red wine from the Piedmont region, showcases exceptional value. It embodies the authentic traditional style of Barolo but with a distinct interpretation and character that make it both memorable and enjoyable.
Situated in Serralunga d’Alba, the heart of Barolo, the winery has roots dating back to 1957 when Giacomo Grimaldi initiated grape sales. Since then, the focus has been on ethical vineyard practices, sustainable viticulture, and traditional winemaking methods. With a modest annual production of 70,000 bottles, the winery emphasizes a meticulous vinification process for its red wines, employing traditional methods and ancient techniques like submerged cap maceration for Nebbiolo grapes destined for Barolo.
The Langhe region, globally renowned for prestigious and elegant wines such as Barolo and Barbaresco, sets the stage for this exceptional red.
Barolo Camilla exhibits a significant and well-structured tannic profile, contributing to its impressive longevity and potential for aging (at least 15 years). The tannins are notably present yet finely integrated, creating a smooth and velvety texture on the palate. The wine's prolonged maceration period, aging in large oak barrels, and meticulous winemaking techniques contribute to refining its structure.
The sensory experience of Barolo Camilla is marked by an expansive and intense aromatic profile. The wine's transparent garnet color hints at its elegance. The nose is greeted with a broad and intense array of complex aromas, including notes of leather, tobacco, fruit preserves, and sweet spices. The well-defined and layered flavors continue on the palate, where the wine showcases a great structural presence. The taste is characterized by a substantial tannic framework, leaving a long and memorable finish enriched with saline and spicy reminiscences. These distinct flavors reflect the characteristics of Nebbiolo and highlight the unique terroir of the Piedmont region. With this wine you understand why Barolo is called the king of red wines.
Barolo Camilla is a special Barolo for its complexity and balance. This versatility allows it to complement a wide range of structured and rich dishes, including meat-based courses like roasted meats, game, stews, braised dishes, and aged cheeses. The wine's ability to stand up to robust and flavorful dishes speaks to its versatility and adaptability. You can decide to immediately enjoy it or keep it for long-term cellaring.
Best Italian Red Wine #3: Toscana IGT “Dautore” 2015 | Winery Le Sode di Sant'Angelo
The Toscana Dautore by Le Sode di Sant'Angelo is a red wine from Tuscany crafted with Sangiovese, Merlot, and Alicante grapes, representing a significant wine from the heart of Maremma. Its standout qualities lie in its super enjoyable and rich taste, evoking dreams of the iconic hills of the region.
In 2001, Luca Purgatorio founded the winery, selecting the perfect location in the heart of Maremma Toscana. Transforming 40 hectares of rugged, wild terrain with a view of the Gulf of Follonica into a beautiful vineyard, the winery has become a niche reality, prioritizing quality in both the vineyard and the cellar. Success is rooted in the excellence of its wines and the passion and expertise of those leading the winery.
Situated in the hilly area of Montebamboli within the municipality of Massa Marittima, the estate benefits from constant sea breezes and limited spring rainfall, providing ideal conditions for grape maturation and imparting an unmistakable quality to their wines.
The Toscana Dautore exhibits a moderate yet refined tannic structure, offering a smooth and velvety palate. The original grapes and a meticulous winemaking process, including 15 months of aging in French and Bulgarian oak barriques, contribute to integrated tannins and a persistent finish. The moderate tannic presence enhances the overall drinking experience, making it approachable for a wide range of wine enthusiasts.
The sensory profile of the Toscana Dautore is marked by an elegant and complex bouquet. On the nose, a symphony of notes, including blueberries, blackberries, and hints of vanilla, showcases the intricate interplay of Sangiovese, Merlot, and Alicante grapes, highlighting the wine's varietal character and the influence of the Tuscan terroir. The persistence of flavors, such as chocolate, roasting, and tobacco on the palate, adds layers of complexity, contributing to the wine's special identity.
The Toscana Dautore is a versatile wine with a robust character, suitable for various occasions and food pairings. Its substantial structure and body recommend it for pairing with flavorful and succulent dishes, like roasted meats or aged cheeses. The wine's versatility extends to both culinary pairings and standalone enjoyment, appealing to a broad audience with different preferences. Whether paired with a hearty meal or savored on its own, the Toscana Dautore offers a versatile and enjoyable wine-drinking experience, bringing happiness to your table.
Best Italian Red Wine #4: Veneto IGT “Roro” 2020 | Winery De Bacco
The Roro wine from De Bacco Winery is a 100% Teroldego from Veneto. It stands out as a truly special red wine for several reasons: crafted in a niche winery dedicated to preserving ancient grapes, produced with meticulous attention, and boasting a precise and robust profile that allows enthusiasts to experience the unique character of Teroldego—an often overlooked but incredibly excellent red grape.
It’s produced by the De Bacco winery, where siblings Marco and Valentina De Bacco have been revitalizing viticulture in the Feltre area for about a decade. They are pioneers in high-quality wine bottling in the province of Belluno, continuing a family tradition that dates back to the late 19th century. With vineyards spanning 400 to 600 meters in altitude, they cultivate local varieties like Pavana and Bianchetta, alongside international grapes. Their commitment to tradition, evident in practices like the unique pergola training system, results in wines known for freshness, drinkability, and a distinct territorial imprint.
The Belluno region in Veneto has a recent resurgence in viticulture. We are talking a super small production by ten wineries, taht focus on quality only.
Roro showcases a notable tannic structure, contributing to its powerful and harmonious palate. These tannins provide both structure and texture, enabling wine lovers to appreciate a robust and well-balanced character. The careful aging process, including 12 months in barrique and additional months in the bottle, enhances tannin development, resulting in a wine with substantial depth and structure. The meticulous aging in the winery adds complexity, elevating the overall drinking experience.
Roro's sensory profile is marked by intense and well-defined flavors. On the nose, it presents enticing notes of wild berries and nutmeg, with a subtle herbaceous undertone. This aromatic richness adds layers of complexity, creating an engaging and rewarding experience for wine lovers. Precision in flavors is crucial, especially for a wine like Roro, as it highlights the distinct characteristics of the Teroldego grape when grown in the unique terroir of the Veneto region. These flavors contribute to the wine's identity, allowing enthusiasts to appreciate the specific elements that make it stand out.
Roro is a highly versatile red wine. Its intense, complex, and structured nature pairs exceptionally well with succulent dishes, persistent aromatic profiles, and intense flavors, but it is also enjoyable alone for those who love intense drinking experiences. Whether enjoyed with red meats, game, or aged cheeses, Roro's adaptability makes it a perfect companion for a variety of culinary experiences.
Best Italian Red Wine #5: Olevano Romano Dop Riserva “Kosmos” 2016 | Winery Marco Antonelli
The Riserva Kosmos by Marco Antonelli is a captivating journey through complexity and structure. This red wine stands out for its distinctive flavor, treating the rare indigenous Cesanese grape with care and showcasing its aging potential. Situated in the medieval village of Olevano Romano, southeast of the province of Rome, the winery benefits from unique pedoclimatic conditions. Marco Antonelli's vineyards, positioned at varying altitudes, contribute to the wine's exceptional quality. With some vines surpassing 50 years and reaching up to 75 in the Morra Rossa vineyard, the limited yields allow meticulous attention to every production detail. The winery's commitment to the Cesanese grape, a significant native red variety in Lazio, is carried out with great passion and rigorous organic methods. The volcanic soil of the territory enhances the wine's salinity, minerality, and overall excellence.
Crafted from 100% Cesanese grapes in the Olevano Romano Dop Riserva, the Riserva Kosmos reveals a distinctive tannic profile that contributes to its impressive longevity. Represented by a balanced intensity on the technical scale, the wine's tannins create a well-defined palate. The meticulous maceration and aging process, including two months in steel, 18 months in large barrels, and an additional 12 months in the bottle, result in integrated and pleasant tannins.
The Riserva Kosmos, with its vibrant red hue, offers a special tasting experience. The harmonious bouquet combines vanilla with fresh fruity notes of cherry and marasca, along with delightful undertones of pepper and white chocolate. On the palate, the wine unfolds with freshness, length, dryness, and cleanliness, culminating in excellent tannic resolution. It expresses the unique character of Cesanese grapes through Marco Antonelli's interpretation.
Renowned for its structure, tannic presence, and persistence, the Kosmos by Marco Antonelli pairs exceptionally well with robust and hearty dishes. Its versatility makes it a fitting companion for various culinary delights, from cured meats and flavorful pasta dishes to grilled red meats, slow-cooked stews, and aged cheeses. This wine can stand alone or elevate the dining experience to something truly special.
What is the most popular Italian red wine? And why it is not on the list?
While there are many outstanding red wines in Italy, one of the most celebrated italian red wines and sought-after is the Sassicaia Supertuscan produced by Tenuta San Guido. Renowned for its exceptional quality and Tuscan elegance, Sassicaia has earned global acclaim. The wine's popularity can be attributed to its rich history, consistent excellence, and the innovative approach of Tenuta San Guido in crafting a Bordeaux-style blend featuring Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Whether enjoyed in Italy or beyond, Sassicaia remains a symbol of Italian winemaking prowess and a favorite among connoisseurs. It is not included in this list due to its widespread availability: this iconic wine is easy to find in various markets, whereas here, we aimed to uncover excellent and delightful wines that are less known and practically inaccessible.
In this exploration of the best Italian red wines for beginners to purchase in 2023, we have infused all our knowledge and countless hours of tastings to select only wines that can offer a unique experience.
Rest assured that all the suggested wines share a common denominator: quality. So, even though we've numbered them, feel free to start with any, and you will undoubtedly be satisfied. Of course, our recommendation is to try them all.
Cheers to a delightful and fulfilling wine exploration!