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Indigenous Italy: Classic wines with regional flair

Decidedly distinct from one another, Italy’s 20 regions present fascinating diversity in their grapes and wines. Each region has its own identity, but when considered as a whole, the country’s production regularly rivals that of France as the largest producer in the world.

For its scale and notable breadth, judging of Italian wines at the Decanter World Wine Awards involves six regionally focused panels including Piedmont, Veneto, Northern Italy, Tuscany, Central Italy and Southern. Each team of specialists is led by a Regional Chair, flights are categorised and judged within each region by colour, grape, style, vintage and price, with top results highlighting outstanding wines of typicity.

Scroll down to see our top selection of Italian wines from DWWA 2022

In the 2022 competition, Italy was awarded more medals than any other country, with many top-medal best performances from Sardinia and Marche to Emilia Romagna and Alto Adige.

Reflecting on the judging, Regional Chair for Southern Italy Anthony Rose said: ‘The wines are getting better. In addition to the astonishing variety of styles from this vast expanse of vines and wines, I get the feeling there’s a growing demand-led awareness of the quality imperative, and it shows in most of the many diverse regions and sub-regions represented.’

From south to north, as shown in the top DWWA results, Italy’s producers are bringing together their traditions and native varieties with classic and modern techniques in masterly fashion, to create noteworthy wines with regional flair.

Below explore a selection of top-scoring regional classics from 15 of Italy’s 20 regions, with many more to discover at awards.decanter.com

Indigenous Italy: Classic wines with regional flair

Best in Show


Botter, Lapilli, Greco di Tufo 2021

97 Best in Show
£15.25 Astrum Wine Cellars, Bottle Apostle, Corks, Field & Fawcett, Harrogate Wines, Sociovino, The Horsham Cellar, The Stroud Wine Co
With a sniff, you might imagine you were up in the mountains, or by a great ocean: fresh, sappy, ripely green, almost evoking Pessac-Léognan or the Pinot Bianco wines of Alto Adige. On the palate, you feel the southern width, depth, sinew and plump fruits, yet the poise and freshness never leave the wine. Alcohol 13%


Ciabot Berton, Roggeri, Barolo 2017

97 Best in Show
£43 Jeroboams
The fiercely warm 2017 vintage was not an easy challenge to surmount, but the aromas here are rich, earthy and generous, with the oak used sagely to lend equilibrium to boisterous fruits. It is intense and deep, structured and detaining, and again the oak serves to give the fruit a charm, lift and fragrance it might not otherwise have. It will be better in four or five years, but there is still much to enjoy here now. Alc 14.5%


Zenato, Sergio Zenato, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva 2016

97 Best in Show
£59 (ib)-£120 Crop & Vine, Cru, Grand Vin, Hedonism, Ideal Wine Co, Simply Wines Direct, VinQuinn, Wineye
A wine of remarkable aromatic complexity reveals mushrooms, forest underbrush, truffle, Havana leaf and even woodland violets as well as confit cherries and plums. Remarkably concentrated yet elegant, carrying all its flavours seamlessly through the palate. Alc 16.5%

Alto Adige 

Cantina Terlano, I Primo Grande Cuvée, Terlano 2019

97 Platinum
£210-£242 Astrum Wine Cellars, Butlers Wine Cellar, Field & Fawcett, Handford, Hedonism, Sociovino
Teeming with restrained yet buzzing aromas of seasoned oak, chalk and flint. A really elegant and structured palate. A sensational wine with decades ahead. Alc 14%

Emilia Romagna

Oinoe, 4.0 Rea Malvasia, Colli di Parma 2020

97 Platinum
An evolved, honeyed, oxidative, nutty wine with plenty of character. Yet the palate is still so fresh, with an enticing mineral component throughout. Fulsome, polished, almost oil-textured stone fruits with a dry chewy finish. Plenty of interest and distinctive varietal character. Alc 14%


Mazzarosa, Vere Novo, Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2020

97 Platinum
Plenty of ripe plum, blueberries, well-integrated oak, with subtle accents of thyme and laurel. Quite light in concentration, with a delicacy of acid and tannins. It shows a perfumed spine of herbs that runs throughout the palate’s lingering finish. Alc 14.5%


Carpineto, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016

97 Platinum
£61.70-£65.76 Corking Wines, Hallgarten Wines, Vinvm
Complex, mature characteristics of porcini and leather are intertwined with dark cherries and sweet lush plums. There is well-managed oak on the palate, which shows accents of dried spices and finishes with a cherry stone freshness. Alc 14.5%


Santa Barbara, Antonucci, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore 2019

96 Gold
£27.20 Xtrawine
Delicate and fresh aromas of green apple, crunchy stone fruit and lovely touches of vanilla. Defined texture, concentration, elegant and firm with great salinity on the finish. Will blossom over the next few years. Alc 13.5%

Friuli Venezia Giulia

La Roncaia, Pinot Grigio, Friuli Colli Orientali 2020

95 Gold
£27 (2021) London Wine Deliveries
A bright green/yellow apple and citrus nose. Toasty notes round out the pure, lightly tropical fruit flavours. Elegant and stately yet reserved, with a light, chewy texture. Its length is no less impressive. Absolutely ready to go. Alc 13.5%


Ferruccio Deiana, Arvali, Vermentino di Sardegna 2021

95 Gold
POA Dolce Vita Wines
Fresh lemon and ripe pineapple on the nose with nuances of honeysuckle, grapefruit and cedar. Very elegant palate with a gently creamy texture, harmonious. Alc 14.5%


Tenuta di Salviano, Grechetto 2021

95 Gold
£16.95 Lea & Sandeman
Rich aromas with delicate acacia, hazelnut, almond and a touch of honey. Sunny ripeness on a bright palate with floral notes, fresh lemon, cedar, grapefruit and more notes of hazelnut. Appealing, impressive body and structure with a lush, long finish. Alc 13%


Pileum, Bolla di Urbano, Cesanese del Piglio 2019

95 Gold
Refined aromas with medicinal herbs, dried flowers, wild red and black fruits, violets, fig leaves and hints of crushed black pepper. Fresh and appealing palate with elegant tannins, mineral and floral notes and intensity to finish. Alc 15%


Rivetti & Lauro, Uì Riserva, Valtellina Superiore 2016

95 Gold
Complex nose of redcurrant, plum, herbs, cigar, leather and dried rose petals. Starting to show nice tertiary development; the tannins are fine and dusty and the acidity still fresh, pure red fruit underneath. Excellent ageing potential. Alc 13.5%


Antica Enotria, Vriccio Primitivo 2020

95 Gold
£16.50-£17 Shrine to the Vine, The Good Wine Shop, The Sourcing Table
Fresh aromas of blueberries, mulberries, dried cherries and plums with a jammy and raisiny touch. Very juicy on the palate with a savoury, refreshing finish. Alc 14%


Salvatore Tamburello, 306N Nero d’Avola 2020

95 Gold
£22.80 (2018)
Independent Wine Surprisingly pale in colour, but it has aromas of fresh and baked strawberry with notes of plum, leather and tobacco. Savoury on the palate, fresh and easily approachable. Alc 14%

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