Best Italian Buys

Twenty vastly diverse and delicious value wines to sip on this spring.


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Italian value wines are having a moment—and just in time for your spring sipping. Wine Enthusiast gives you the 20 best bottlings from various Italian appellations in vastly diverse styles. And they have one thing in common: They are all Best Buys.

91 Capanne Ricci 2010 Rosso di Montalcino. This Rosso boasts impressively intense and pure Sangiovese aromas. The wine is compact, with red berry, rum cake, dried rosemary, ginger and spice. It’s a small step away from the quality of Brunello at a fraction of the price. Imported by Montcalm Wine Importers. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 14.5%        Price: $15

90 Kellerei Kaltern Caldaro 2011 Pinot Grigio (Alto Adige). This gorgeous Pinot Grigio displays the fresh aromatic fragrances associated with cool-climate, mountain winemaking. Layers of jasmine, tangerine, cut grass and white almond appear on the bouquet, giving this wine a delicate and feminine personality. A spicy touch of acidity drives the clean, bright finish. Imported by Omniwines Distribution. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 14%        Price: $15

88 Vinosia 2011 Aglianico (Irpinia). Here's a bold, ripe and chewy expression of Aglianico with loads of plump cherry and blackberry followed by dark spice and moist pipe tobacco. The wine offers great value and would pair with lamb chops or roast pork. Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13%        Price: $13

88 Cavit 2009 Alta Luna Phases (Vigneti delle Dolomiti). A blend of Teroldego, Lagrein and Merlot, this well-priced Italian red opens with inky, dark concentration and loads of ripe fruit, blackberry and cinnamon. Nicely balanced, it’s not too bold or overextracted. Imported by Palm Bay International. Best Buy. —M.L.
Abv: 12.5%        Price: $13

87 Matané 2011 Primitivo (Puglia). Here's a great value wine from southern Italy that shows ripe cherry notes, prune, cinnamon and leather. The mouthfeel is soft and slightly sweet, making this an excellent pairing partner to tomato-based pasta sauces. Imported by Empson (USA). Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13.5%        Price: $12

87 Carpineto 2011 Dogajolo Rosato (Toscana). A whole new generation of Italian rosé is finally gaining the attention it deserves. This is an exceptionally fresh and clean wine that would pair with smoked salmon, fish carpaccio or insalata di mare. Imported by Opici Wines. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 12.5%        Price: $12

87 Talamonti 2011 Rosato (Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo). A delicious rosato made from the hearty Montepulciano grape, this wine opens with pretty aromas of garden flower, wild berry, dried mint and white almond. Crisp and fresh, it would pair with fried calamari rings. Imported by Panebianco. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13%        Price: $11

87 Tenuta San Giorgio 2010 Ciampoleto (Rosso di Montalcino). Here’s a lovely Rosso and a rare value wine from one of Tuscany’s most prestigious wine-growing areas. Ciampoleto offers bright berry nuances, light shadings of exotic spice and a fresh, zesty finish. Imported by Majestic Imports. Best Buy. —M.L
abv: 13.5%        Price: $12

87 Banfi 2011 Centine Bianco (Toscana). This Tuscan blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio opens with crisp, almost tart, tones of citrus, exotic fruit and honeydew. The wine shows substance in the mouth and enough heft to pair with tuna or chicken salad. Imported by Banfi Vintners. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13%        Price: $11

87 Mezzacorona 2011 Chardonnay (Vigneti delle Dolomiti). The nose offers easy tones of creamy apricot and almond paste, with bright accents of tangerine and lemon. The mouthfeel is soft and plush. Imported by Prestige Wine Imports Corp. Best Buy. — M.L.
abv: 13%        Price: $9

87 Caldora Vini 2011 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. Perfectly suited for home-cooked comfort meals like lasagna or meatloaf, this wine is rich, dense and soft, with endnotes of blackberry, cherry and tobacco. Imported by Vin Divino. Best Buy. —M.L
abv: 13%        Price: $11

87 La Gironda di Galandrino 2011 Moscato d’Asti. This bright Moscato d’Asti delivers pure expressions of both the fragrant Moscato grape and the special territory in northern Italy that shaped this delicate dessert wine. Floral aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine are presented in a compact, elegant manner thanks to the temperate growing conditions in Piedmont. The finish is creamy, frothy and rich. Imported by Wine Appellations Ltd. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 5%        Price: $8

87 Illuminati Dino 2011 Costalupo (Controguerra). A blend of Trebbiano, Passerina and Chardonnay, this white wine offers aromas of cut grass, citrus, lemon zest, creamy vanilla and peach. The fresh acidity makes it a perfect match for crab legs and butter sauce. Imported by Montcalm Wine Importers. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 12.5%        Price: $12

87 Lucania 2010 Gricos (Aglianico del Vulture). Aged in large oak casks, this terrific value wine shows bold spice and dried berry aromas with lingering accents of leather and pipe tobacco. The tight tannins give the wine structure and staying power. Imported by Oliver McCrum Wines. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13.5%        Price: $11

87 Begali 2010 La Cengia (Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso). A real crowd pleaser, this is a full, round and soft wine, with thick layers of dried berry, spice, leather and dark tobacco flavors. It would pair with any meat-based pasta dish. Imported by Siema LLC. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13.5%        Price: $12

87 Mionetto NV Il Prosecco (Prosecco). Fresh and bright, this sparkling wine offers lasting aromas of stone fruit, lime and white flower. The mouthfeel is creamy and soft thanks to the foamy quality of bubbles. Imported by Mionetto USA. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 10.5%        Price: $12

87 Vitiano 2012 Rosato (Umbria). Here's a beautifully colored Rosato made from a blend of Merlot, Cabernet, Sangiovese and Aleatico. The bouquet is bright and deeply floral with rose and honeysuckle backed by forest fruit and wild strawberry. The wine shows depth in the mouth with a touch of soft sweetness on the finish. Imported by Winebow. Best Buy. —M.L
abv: 12.5%        Price: $10

86 Canella NV Extra Dry (Prosecco). Canella’s pocketbook-friendly Prosecco opens with drying tones of talc powder, citrus and tangerine. The mouthfeel is cheerful, lean, informal and crisp. Imported by Empson (USA). Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 11%        Price: $11

85 Cantina di Soave 2011 Volére (Delle Venezie). A “bag-in-box” blend of Merlot and Pinot Noir, this easygoing wine would pair with barbecued hamburgers or franks at an outdoor picnic. The wine delivers simple acidity, with fresh cherry and bitter almond flavors. Imported by MW Imports. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 12.5%        Price: $15 (for 1.5 liters)

85 Piccini 2011 Chianti. Fresh and simple, this iconic Chianti from Piccini boils the Tuscan red wine experience down to its easiest and most genuine state. This is a crisp, lean wine with a ruby color and bright berry aromas. Imported by Aveniù Brands. Best Buy. —M.L.
abv: 13%        Price: $10

Find more related wine reviews in our Best Buys 2012 selection of the top Italian wines under $15 >>>

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