Italian Top Wines?

Any Italian label whores here? We’re going to Alba and Tuscany this fall for our 20th anniversary and want to raid some lists. If you want to understand what I mean by raiding lists, look at Kevin Shin’s latest trip to Burgundy which is a whose who of producers and cuvées.

My high end Italian experience is limited to Conterno Monfortino and Francia, Soldera, maybe a couple of others I can’t remember. But it’s extremely limited.

What should I be looking for on lists? Which vintages to seek out or any to avoid?


Others have much more experience but you can’t go too far wrong with aged giacosa and gaja.


Tack on Roberto Voerzio

I think it’s more important to ferret out the restaurants with such lists. Young trophy Barolo is not a pleasure.

My trips have not been to Alba, and prepandemic, but if you are near Montforte, Trattoria della Posta fits the bill. Fancier than a trattoria, deep list, get the rabbit if you are inclined.

Giacosa is my favorite, Guisseppe Rinaldi, I would say are trophy along with Conterno. So would be Gaja, but not as much a fan as they are more modern (they add barbera to their single vineyard Barbaresco).

I wouldn’t get anything younger than 2010 at the big $ level, preferably 1996-2001,2004, 2006. I enjoyed 2007 and 2009 for early drinking but it’s no longer early. I head great things re 2013.

I would go for mature over trophy - Mascarello, Cogno, Oddero, Brovia, F Rinaldi, Burlotto, and Produttori di Barbaresco.


If you want trophy wines, i would go with old Giacosa before they increased the production, and the master was still making wine. Let’s say before the first years of ‘00.

Then if you can source it, a Gravner’s ‘91 chardonnay, before the orange wine period. Very difficult to source but amazing wine.

You can’t go wrong with the usual suspects as well.

Rinaldi, Mascarello, Conterno, Roagna, Soldera

You can also try the wine of Marta Rinaldi protégée Philine Isabel. She rents 1 hectar of land and makes very interesting wines. I tried Barbera and chardonnay and they were pretty good! Not easy to source as well.

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Just buy the most expensive on the list and you should be fine.


Personally - No

My mindset aligns much better to What are your favorite “off the beaten path” Italians? than seeking out the most prestigious labels. Good luck in your pursuit though.


Ester Canale Vigna Rionda?

At least according to that one dude who suddenly appeared on the forum and started championing this wine hard :laughing:

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He was just cutting edge! :grin:

But i actually had the chance to taste the 2011 next to two 2011 Giacomo Conterno’s. It also cost more than the Conterno’s, which i guess is a criteria here hehe. But i also think it was a better wine. Think it is pretty hyped among the rich Barolo geeks.


You should be also able to sweep up a bunch of great Champagne while in Piedmont. They’re pretty crazy for it over there.

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Maybe some Montevertine Le Pergola Torte or Stella di Campalto to go with your Soldera? :grin:


Absolutely. Last time i went to Bovio, they had Cedric Bluchard Val Vilaine for 100€.


I didn’t get to visit on our trip, but Osteria Centro Storico. Serralunga d’Alba. – Serafina – Häuser, Weine, Piemont is somewhere I would like to stop by next time.

If you have an idea of where you’ll be staying, it’ll be easier to nail down some places. We stayed in La Morra and driving to Alba, for example, would be a day trip. While you might make a trek for a few places, I think there’s enough in each commune/neighboring towns, where you can stay pretty local and soak it all in.

You could do the bigger names (we had G Rinaldi, B Mascarello, Cappellano, etc) but old vintages of producers that one might not necessarily look at today is also another way to go. We had an '85 Ceretto that was as good as the ones above.

A couple of vintage charts


Totally, it was several years ago but picked up a bottle of Ursules while on a stroll and brought it to dinner that night

So, what are the top Alta Langa DOCG wines?

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For sure.

And you’ll be more likely to find that at good prices on the great but nonfancy traditional restaurants than the Michelin star types.

Only if he likes modern Barolo.

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Very fair, definitely Modernist, tannins in check earlier on among other characteristics. That said, Modernist or Traditionalist was not a qualification; it was an open ended question. Knowing the usual names would show up, Voerzio was a producer I suspected would not be frontal lobe and makes some exceptional wines. A good contrast I’d seek out to juxtapose IMO.

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If you want to go trophy in BdM, Biondi Santa counts. Might be others that outpunch it, but I’m always excited to have it.

Soldera as mentioned above( haven’t had it).

My favorite is Ciacci Piccolomini Santa Catarina d’Oro Riserva.

Constanti, Cerbaiona, Cannichlio di Sopra are great estates.

I also like Fuglini, Carpazzo (la casa) and Altesino (but call them delicious, not trophy).I also have Valdicava but it’s for my friends who like things more modern.

I don’t always prefer riservas, often not. Depends on a producer, but the normale will more often be
In large neutral Slavonian oak with the riservas in small baroque. Same producer can be more traditional in normale and more internationally styled in riserva.

Of course if you just want trophy to say you had it, go for the most expensive.