Best Italian Wines of 2022 selected by Wine spectator and Wine enthusiast Magazines


December is the time for the annual ritual of looking back over the course of this Covid-recovery year with various organizations or individuals pontificating on the best of various things like books, music, high-performing stocks, movies or in this case, wines.

It’s a time when wine cognoscenti and wine-focused organizations pause to look back and rank the wines they liked, or disliked in some cases, over the course of the year in attempting to quantify the qualitative experience of drinking and enjoying wines.

It's not easy fut if done independently and with unbiased resolve, the rankings they develope can help the wine-buying public make sense and assign some order to the thousands of wines released each year. In this regard, they may encourage one to try some previously-unknown or not especially well-known but high-scoring labels. And besides, who doesn’t love buying wines selected as some of the world’s best, especially if they fly low on consumer radar screens?

And, so it goes with Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast, two prominent wine-centric U.S.-based magazines with world-wide circulations. Each December they publish their annual lists of the top 100 wines from around the world released that year. Both magazines’ choices of the top 100 wines are based on surveys of the wines reviewed by their respective staffs over the course of the year.

Their published rankings are closely followed since they can have a significant impact on a wine’s popularity and, hence, price and the producing winery can bask in the reflected glory of the wine’s high rating and increase in popularity and sales that's sure to follow the high rating.

Red wine glass with plates and silverware.Both periodicals’ selections of the best wines of 2022 include a number of Italian wines and it’s interesting to review exactly what wines they selected and compare their choices.

While no Italian wine managed to take the top, #1 position in either magazine’s rankings, Italian wines notched the runner-up, #2 position in both magazine's selections of the Top 100. For the Wine Spectator, this was a 2016 Brunello di Montalcino while a 2018 Barolo garnered the #2 spot in Wine Enthusiast's list of the Top 100 wines.

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Selections
The staff of Wine Spectator (WS) this year reviewed more than 8,800 newly-released wines. Of these, WS winnowed its potential 100 best list to approximately 5,300 wines that initially scored 90 points or higher on WS’s 100-point rating scale.

WS bases its final selections on considerations such as quality (as indicated by their staff’s scores), value (judged by the wine’s release price), availability (determined by the number of cases either made or imported into the U.S.) and a cryptic “x-factor” that they define as “the intensity of interest the wines generated by way of their singularity or authenticity.”

WS’s Top 100 represent a wide range of varietals, appellations and prices from a large number of countries. As in past years, wines from the U.S. dominate with approximately one-third of the total awards. Based on the strength of its premier grape varieties - Cabernet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay - California wines comprise the majority of the U.S. total but wines from Oregon and Washington state are also well represented.

Internationally, Italy figured prominently with 19 wines in WS's top 100 with strong showings by wines from Tuscany and Piedmont. With its strong lineup of Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhone wines, France also did well with 15 wines in WS's top 100.

You can view WS’s complete list of the Top 100 wines with price and vintage data at Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2022.

WS’s top-rated wine of the year is a 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from Schrader Cellars that retails for $80. It is made entirely of Cabernet Sauvignon from prime vineyard estates in Napa Valley’s prestigious Oakville AVA.

Italian wines figured prominently this year in WS’s Top 100 list with 19 wines making the list. Although 3 less than the previous year it is still a strong national showing, second only to the U.S. total. Of the 19 Italian entries in WS’s Top 100 all but 2 are red wines.

The highest rated Italian wine in WS’s top 100 is a 2016 Brunello di Montalcino from the Fattoria dei Barbi winery in southern Tuscany. It occupies the #2 position in WS's Top 100 and retails for for a hefty $130.

The 2016 vintage was excellent in Tuscany in general and the Montalcino area in particular. Warm temperatures over an extended period enabled grapes to be harvested at optimal ripeness presaging wines with good structure and ageing potential.

With 8 wines accounting for 42 percent of all Italian wines, Tuscany had the lion's share of all Italian wines included in WS’s Top 100 list. The Tuscan wines include 2 Brunello; 2 Chianti Classico; a Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; and several Super-Tuscans.

Piedmont had the second-highest number of wines in WS's Top 100. It's total of 5 wines includes 4 Nebbiolo-based wines and 1 Barbera.

The other Italian wines in WS’s Top 100 include 2 from the Campania region and 1 each from Veneto, Puglia and Basilicata.

With a retail price of $195, Elvio Cogno’s 2016 Barolo Riserva (#96) is the most expensive Italian wine in WS’s Top 100 with Antinori's 2019 Tignanello not far behind in the ranking (#5) but more expensive at $145.

Nine wines are priced below $30. The least expensive wine is a 2020 Soave Classico from the Suavia winery (#51) in the Veneto region that retails for a very modest $18 and is one of only 2 white Italian wines in WS's Top 100. The average price of the 19 Italian wines in WS’s Top 100 is $63.

The table below presents the wines and relevant information for all Italian wines included in WS’s Top 100 wines of 2022.

Italian Wines in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2022
  2 95 Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2016 Tuscany  $130  
  5 96 Antinori "Tignanello" Toscana  2019 Tuscany  $145  
  8 96 Fattoria Le Pupille "Saffredi" Toscana  2016 Tuscany  $100  
  12 97 Grattamacco Bolgheri Superiore 2019 Tuscany  $100  
  22 94 Capria Chianti Classico Riserva 2018 Tuscany  $27  
  24 92 San Felice Chianti Classico 2020 Tuscany  $20  
  31 95 Boscarelli Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva 2016 Tuscany  $62  
  40 95 Produttori del Barbaresco "Muncagota" Barbaresco Riserva 2017 Piedmont $86  
  49 91 d'Angelo Aglianico del Vulture 2019 Basilicata $20  
  55 93 Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino  2017 Tuscany  $60  
  58 90 Suavia Soave Classico Garganega 2020 Veneto $18  
  61 91 Damilano Barbera d'Asti 2020 Piedmont $20  
  63 90 Masseri Li Veli "Askos" Susumaniello Salento 2020 Puglia $23  
  73 90 Pecchenino "Botti" Nebbiolo Langhe 2021 Piedmont $25  
  76 90 Zisola-Mazzei Noto Rosso 2020 Sicily $20  
  78 92 Fontanafredda  Barolo Serralunga 2018 Piedmont $56  
  80 90 San Salvatore Falanghina Campania 2021 Campania $27  
  84 92 Mastroberar-dino "Radici" Taurasi 2017 Campania $62  
  96 97 Elvio Cogno Ravera "Vigna Elena" Barolo Riserva 2016 Piedmont $195  
      Average Price       $63  
  Source: Wine Spectator Magazine, December 31, 2022        

Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Selections
The staff of Wine Enthusiast (WE) cumulatively reviewed upward of 21,000 wines from around the world in 2022 in preparation for its selection of the world’s best. Only those wines that received an initial minimum rating of 90 on WE’s 100-point scale are considered for inclusion in its Top 100 wines of the year.

From this initial group the Wine Enthusiast staff tasters then try to tease out the best 100 wines based on high quality valuations, outstanding quality-to-price ratios and general availability in the market.

On a country-by-country basis, the U.S. comes out on top with 29 wines included in WE’s Top 100 even though 4 less than the year previous. The majority are from California (22) but Oregon and Washington are also represented with 2 each as is New York with 3.

Italy is well represented with 16 wines in WE’s Top 100, the second-highest country total after the U.S., followed by France and Spain, each with 8 wines in WE's Top 100.

You can view the complete list of WE's Top 100 wines along with price, vintage and individual reviews in PDF format at Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Wines of 2022.

WE’s overall top-rated wine of the year is a 2020 Pinot Noir from the Giant Steps winery in Australia's Yarra Valley. This top-rated cru wine is made with 7 Pinot Noir clones and retails for $65.

The highest-rated Italian wine in WE’s Top 100 is a 2018 Barolo from the G. B. Burlotto winery in the historic Piedmont village of Verduno. The grapes for this cru wine come exclusively from the Monvigliero vineyard, the northern-most vineyard in the Barolo zone. It is ranked #2 in WE's Top 100 and retails for $110.

The 16 Italian wines included in WE’s Top 100 are widely dispersed throughout geographic Italy, from Trentino in the north to Sicily in the south. Piedmont has the highest number of Italian wines (6) in WE's Top 100 followed by Tuscany with 3 and Trentino and Lombardia with 2 each. Emilia-Romagna, Sicily and Campania each have 1 wine in WE’s Top 100 for 2022.

Six sparkling Italian wines are included in WE’s Top 100. This includes 2 each from Lombardia and Trentino and 1 each from Emilia-Romagna and Sicily.

The prices of the Italian wines included in WE's Top 100 range from $16 to $159 with four wines priced north of $100 while 3 wines are priced under $25. The average price of the Italian wines in WE's Top 100 is $72.

At $159, the 2017 Brunello di Montalcino from the Salvioni winery in southern Tuscany is the most expensive Italian wine in WE's Top 100 of 2022. With its searing summer heat, 2017 was less than an ideal vintage in southern Tuscany but talented winemakers were able to produce some rich and intense wines albeit in more limited quantities than the previous year.

The 2010 Riserva del Fondatore Extra Brut from the Ferrari winery in Trentino (#23) is at $140 the second-most expensive Italian wine in WE's Top 100. This highly-regarded sparkler consists entirely of Chardonnay that is aged on its lees for more than 10 years.

The least expensive Italian wine is a $16 Lambrusco di Sorbara, a red sparkling wine from the Paltrinieri winery (#38) in the town of Modena in the Emilia-Romagna region.

The table below presents the 16 Italian wines included in WE’s Top 100 wines of 2022 along with vintage and pricing data for each wine.

Italian Wines in Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2022
  2 98 Comm. G. B. Burlotto "Monvigliero" Barolo Verduno 2018 Piedmont $110  
  13 98 Salvioni Brunello di Montalcino 2017 Tuscany $159  
  14 97 Ca' del Bosco  "Annamaria Clementi" Extra Brut Rosé Riserva 2011 Lombardia $135  
  17 93 G. D. Vajra "Ravera" Barolo 2018 Piedmont $90  
  21 91 Pio Cesare Barolo 2018 Piedmont $85  
  23 94 Ferrari Giulio Ferrari Riserva del Fondatore Extra Brut 2010 Trentino $140  
  36 96 Figli Luigi Oddero "Vignarionda" Barolo 2018 Piedmont NA  
  38 95 Paltrinieri "Radici" Lambrusco di Sorbara 2020 Emilia-Romagna $20  
  42 96 Fonterenza "Alberello" Rosso di Montalcino 2018 Tuscany $43  
  43 95 Castello di Neive Barbaresco 2018 Piedmont $45  
  63 92 Rotari Sparkling Rosé 2022 Trentino $16  
  65 95 Ferghettina Rosé Brut Franciacorta 2017 Lombardia $65  
  68 95 Cocchi  "Pas Dose" Alta Langa Blanc de Noirs  2014 Piedmont $70  
  72 95 Frescobaldi "Tenuta Perano" Chianti Classico 2019 Tuscany $35  
  95 91 Nicosia "Sosta Tre Santi" Etna DOC Rosato Metodo Classico Brut 2019 Sicily $35  
  99 90 Torricino "Raone" Greco di Tufo Riserva 2020 Campania $25  
      Average Price       $72  
  Source: Wine Enthusiast Magazine, December 31, 2022        

Overall, it was another exciting year for Italian wines on the competitive world stage.

Return to About Italian Wines

©Richard Marcis
December 4, 2022



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