Best Italian Wines of 2011 From Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast Magazines

The Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines recently published their annual selections for the best wines released in 2011 from around the world. Both magazines’ lists are based on wines reviewed by their respective staffs over the course of the year and both magazines’ selections include a number of Italian wines. I find it interesting to analyze and compare exactly what wines were included in the two lists.  However, let’s first look at the overall distribution of wines selected by each of the magazines.

Wine Spectator’s top 100 picks are selected from the more than 16,000 new wine releases reviewed by the magazine’s staff this year. Twelve countries are included in the Wine Spectator’s list of the top 100 wines. Perhaps not surprisingly, the largest number of wines selected is from U.S. producers with 41 U.S. wines included in the top 100. The majority of the U.S. wines selected are from California but there are a goodly number from Washington and Oregon states as well as one each from New Mexico and New York. The top wine of the year as determined by the Wine Spectator is a 2009 Pinot Noir from the Kosta Browne winery in Sonoma, California.

However, Italian wines fared well with 20 Italian wines appearing in the list of the top 100. The top-rated Italian wine is a 2006 Brunello di Montalcino from the Campogiovanni estate, which garnered the number four position in Wine Spectator’s top 100. France also makes an impressive showing with 16 French wines in the top 100 list and Spain is fourth with 11 wines in the top 100.

Amost all of the Italian wines included in Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines are from Tuscany, Piedmont or the Veneto. 2006 was an excellent year for both the Piedmont and Tuscany regions. The 2006 growing season was especially generous in southern Tuscany, resulting in well balanced, exceptionally age-worthy Brunello di Montalcino wines and four Brunellos are included in the top 100. While no Barolo or Barbaresco wines were included in Wine Spectator’s top 100 wine selections the previous year, three Barolo and one Barbaresco wines are included in this year’s top 100.

glass of Italian red wine with silverwareThe Wine Enthusiast’s list of the top 100 wines of the year includes 30 wines from U.S. producers. The majority of these are from California but Washington and Oregon states also have several wines in the top 100 listing. Following the U.S., France has 20 wines in the Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 while Italy has 17 wines in the top 100. Wines from South Africa, Portugal and Australia are also well represented.

The top-ranked wine in Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 list is from Italy, a 2007 Chianti Rufina “Nipozzano” Riserva from the Marchesi de’Frescobaldi estate in Tuscany. Tuscany fared well overall with ten of the 17 Italian wines in Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 produced by Tuscan wineries. This includes four Brunellos and several super-Tuscan wines such as Galatrona, Excelsus and Perlato del Bosco, among others. All of the remaining, non-Tuscan Italian wines in the Wine Enthusiast list come from either the Piedmont or the Veneto regions, which includes two Soave Classico wines.

As in previous years, there is no overlay in the selections for the best Italian wines of 2011 put forward by the two magazines. In any event, here are the listings of the Italian wines included in the top 100 wines for 2011 as put forward by Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast magazines.


    Italian Wines from Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2011    
Rank Score Producer Wine Vintage Price  
4 96 Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino 2006 $50  
8 96 Domenico Clerico Barolo "Ciabot Mentin Ginestra" 2006 $90  
16 95 Rivetto  Barolo Serralunga 2006 $50  
17 95 Tenuta Carlina Brunello di Montalcino "La Togata" 2006 $60  
24 97 La Serena Brunello di Mnontalcino 2006 $60  
31 92 Castello di Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 $22  
36 93 Terrabianca Toscana "Campaccio" 2007 $30  
44 94 Moccagatta Barbaresco "Bric Balin" 2007 $53  
46 92 Argiano Toscana "Non Confunditur" 2009 $25  
48 92 Zenato Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa 2007 $28  
49 92 Fonterutoli Chianti Classico Riserva 2009 $29  
56 95 Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino "Tenuta Nuova" 2006 $80  
57 93 Fratelli Revello  Barolo 2006 $37  
60 90 Allegrini Veronese Palazzo della Torre 2008 $20  
61 90 Tormaresca Primitivo Salento "Torcicoda" 2008 $22  
69 91 Rocca di Frassinello Maremma Toscana "Le Sughere di Frassinello" 2009 $22  
73 91 Fratelli Oddero Barbera d'Alba 2007 $20  
79 93 Poggio al Tesoro Bolgheri "Sondraia" 2008 $35  
87 90 Terredora di Paolo Greco di Tufo "Loggia della Serra" 2009 $26  
88 94 Nicolis Amarone della Valpolicella Classico "Ambrosan" 2004 $65  
    Average price     $41  
Source: Wine Spectator Magazine, 2011      


    Italian Wines from Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2011    
Rank Score Producer Wine Vintage Price  
1 93 Marchesi de'Frescobaldi Chianti Rufina "Nipozzano Riserva"  2007 $22  
7 97 Castello Banfi Toscana "Excelsus"  2007 $81  
12 93 Tua Rita Toscana "Perlato del Bosco"  2008 $30  
21 94 L Gerla Brunello di Montalcino 2006 $40  
31 93 Canneto Toscana "Filippone"  2007 $30  
39 97 Fattoria Petrolo Toscana Merlot "Galatrona"  2008 $134  
46 94 Capanna Brunello di Montalcino 2006 $55  
49 93 Piazzo Armando Barolo 2007 $43  
51 93 David Sterza Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2007 $40  
54 93 Mocali Brunello di Montalcino 2006 $40  
56 95 Il Poggione Brunello di  Montalcino "Vigna Paganelli Riserva"  2005 $96  
60 92 Piccini Toscana "Sasso al Poggio"  2006 $25  
62 94 Cascina Ballarin Barolo "Bussia"  2007 $70  
65 93 Rocche Costamagna Barolo "Rocche dell'Annunziata"  2007 $49  
74 92 Pieropan Soave Classico "La Rocca"  2009 $30  
76 92 Cantina Sociale della Valpantena Amarone della Valpolicella 2007 $30  
80 92 Inama Soave Classico "Vigneto du Lot"  2009 $30  
    Average price     $50  
Source: Wine Enthusiast Magazine, 2011      


Richard Marcis
December 7, 2011

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