Italy is home to some of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world. From juicy reds, zesty whites and fruity rosés, there are plenty of food-friendly Italian varietals for all wine enthusiasts. Here are the best Italian wines to try for $15 and under.
Gorgo 2020 Bardolino Chiaretto; $15, 92 points. Downright delicious, this tangy rosato starts off with enticing aromas recalling black locust flower, peach and a whiff of acacia honey. The juicy palate offers strawberry compote, ripe peach and a hint of hazelnut alongside bright acidity. A sheer pleasure to drink, one bottle may not be enough. Ideal Wine and Spirits. Best Buy. —Kerin O’Keefe
Malvirà 2020 Roero Arneis; $15, 91 points. Made with organically grown grapes, this has delicate, enticing aromas reminiscent of ripe white stone fruit, crushed mint, pineapple and freshly made bread dough. On the linear, savory palate, notes of bitter almond and ginger accent a core of Bartlett pear and lemon drop before a tangy mineral close. Indigenous Selections. Best Buy. —K.O.
Villa di Corlo 2019 Primevo (Lambrusco di Sorbara); $15, 91 points. Dry and tangy, this sparkler has aromas of violet, red berry, grapefruit and a whiff of baking spice. Reflecting the nose, the savory, quenching palate doles out juicy sour cherry, strawberry and white pepper, alongside a foamy mousse and crisp acidity. Ethica Wines. Best Buy. —K.O.
Colosi 2020 Acacia Grillo (Sicilia); $15, 90 points. Certified vegan, this bright, savory white offers aromas of lime, white spring flowers and Mediterranean herbs. On the refreshing, tangy palate, crisp acidity accompanies juicy pink grapefruit, orange zest and peach before a salty finish. Vias Imports. Best Buy. —K.O.
Ruggeri & C. 2020 Argeo Rosé (Prosecco); $15, 90 points. This light-hearted, savory sparkler has delicate, inviting aromas of green apple, red berry and tropical fruit. Dry and crisp, the delightful palate offers crushed pomegranate, pear and citrus alongside tangy acidity and a foaming mousse. WinesU. Best Buy. —K.O.
Cantina di Venosa 2018 Balì (Aglianico del Vulture); $14, 89 points. There’s good concentration to the aromas of bramble berry, wild cherry, violet and hibiscus, offering an enticing mix of fruit and earth elements. The medium-bodied palate is juicy in tart cherry and blackberry flavors, with pretty floral accents on the sides. The tannins are resolved yet supportive while bright acidity and a tangy mineral note push everything along. Bacchanal Wine Imports. Best Buy. —Alexander Peartree
Cantina Frentana 2020 Vallevó Costa dei Trabocchi Rosato (Terre di Chieti); $12, 89 points. Made predominately from Montepulciano, this rosato offers a cohesive mix of lemon blossom, apricot and white grapefruit. There’s a gentle creaminess on the medium-bodied palate, with a blend of ripe and tart fruit that’s perked up by a brisk stony note. This would be a welcome pour alongside grilled vegetables or seafood. Wine Emporium. Best Buy. —A.P.
Castello di Gabbiano 2017 Cavaliere d’Oro (Chianti Classico); $11, 89 points. Aromas of black-skinned berry, violet and Mediterranean brush lead the nose on this 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot and 5% Colorino blend. The savory palate offers dried black cherry, star anise and ground pepper alongside smooth tannins. Drink through 2025. Treasury Wine Estates. Best Buy. —K.O.
Umani Ronchi 2019 Podere (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo); $13, 89 points. This tasty red begins with intense aromas of blood orange, juiced red cherry, tobacco and thyme. There’s ample concentration to these tones on the medium-bodied palate, with fresh acidity and soothing tannins framing it all. This is a solid weekday red to enjoy solo or alongside pizza, pasta and other casual fare. Vineyard Brands. Best Buy. —A.P.
Monte Antico 2016 Red (Toscana); $10, 88 points. Made with Sangiovese and drops of Cabernet and Merlot, this has aromas of dark-skinned fruit, underbrush and baking spice. The medium-bodied palate shows ripe black plum, tangerine zest and sage alongside smooth tannins. Empson USA Ltd. Best Buy. —K.O.
Stemmari 2019 Estate Grown Sustainably Farmed Nero d’Avola (Sicilia); $11, 87 points. Bright and juicy, this easygoing red has aromas of black-skinned berry, carob and a hint of baking spice. The aromas follow over to the soft, accessible palate alongside pliant tannins. Drink now. Prestige Wine Imports Corp. Best Buy. —K.O.
Published: October 1, 2021