Best Italian Wines of 2023 selected by Wine enthusiast and Wine spectator Magazines


December is the time for an annual ritual, the month for looking back over the course of the year – chaotic as it has been – with various organizations pontificating on the best of various things be it books, high-performing stocks, movies or in this case, wines.

It’s a time when wine cognoscenti and wine-focused organizations pause to review and rank the wines they liked, or disliked in some cases, over the course of the year.

What it comes down to is an attempt to quantify the qualitative experience of drinking and enjoying wines. If done independently and with unbiased resolve, the rankings can help the wine-buying public make sense and assign some order to the thousands of wines released each year and will perhaps encourage one to try some previously-unknown but interesting, noteworthy labels. And besides, who doesn’t love buying a wine selected as one of the world’s best that hails from a little-noticed or unlikely corner of the world?

Glass of red wine with formal china place settingAnd, so it goes with Wine Spectator (WS) and Wine Enthusiast (WE), two prominent wine-centric magazines with world-wide circulations. Every year-end they publish their lists of the top 100 wines from around the world released that year. Both magazines’ choices of the Top 100 wines are based on ranking of the wines reviewed by their respective staffs over the course of the year.

Their published rankings of the Top 100 wines 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 its wine’s lofty rating and popularity.

Both periodicals’ selections of the best wines of 2023 include a number of Italian wines and it’s interesting to review what wines they selected and compare their choices. Italian wines scored well in both magazines’ rankings with 16 Italian wines included in WE’s top 100 list while 24 Italian wines made it into WS’s Top 100.

A 2018 Brunello di Montalcino from southern Tuscany captured the top spot in WS’s Top 100 list while a 2019 Barolo from Piedmont garnered the #2 position in WE’s list of the best wines of 2023.

Wine Enthusiast’s Top 100 Selections

The staff of WE blind-tasted more than 23,000 wines from around the world in 2023 in preparation for its selection of the Top 100 wines of the year. Only those 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.

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 2023.

WE’s top-rated wine of the year is a 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Duckhorn Winery in California’s Napa Valley that scored 96 points. The grapes are sourced from the estate’s Monitor Ledge Vineyard, the wine is aged for 18 months in primarily new French oak barrels and carries a retail price of $105.

A 2019 Barolo from the Ratti winery in Italy’s Piedmont region was WE’s second-highest rated wine of its Top 100 wines released in 2023. This wine is produced entirely from Nebbiolo grapes grown in the Serradenari MGA (Menzione Geografica Aggiuntiva) in the Barolo DOCG production zone. It is aged for two years in a combination of barriques and large-format oak casks and retails for $175.

Overall, Italy is well represented with a total of 16 wines in WE’s Top 100, the same number as the previous year. The Italian wines in WE’s Top 100 are primarily from northern Italy. Eight wines, half of the Italian total, are from the Piedmont region, 2 are from Lombardy region and 1 each are from Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions. The 4 remaining wines are from central Italy – 2 each from Tuscany and the Emilia-Romagna region.

While the majority of Italian wines in WE’s Top 100 wines are red, whites are well represented with 5 white Italian wines in WE’s Top 100, 3 of which are sparkling wines. One rosato (rosé) from the Pietro Beconcini winery in Tuscany’s Pisa province is als0 included in WE’s Top 100 (ranked #99). This rosé is noteworthy in that it is a rare example of a 100 percent Tempranillo wine produced in Italy.

While the average price of the Italian wines in WE’s Top 100 is $60 there is considerable variation in prices ranging from $24 to $175. Two wines (ranked #2 and #53) tied for the distinction of being the most expensive Italian wine in WE’s Top 100. Both are Barolo wines from the excellent 2019 vintage that with its near-perfect growing conditions was a real joy for vintners.

But at the time of this posting, a retail price has not yet been set for Vietti’s “Lazzarito” Barolo (#31), also from the 2019 vintage. Since the Serralunga d'Alba appellation is known for delivering wines of power and richness, this wine when released is sure to give the Barolos from Ratti (#2) and Fontanafredda (#53) stiff competition for the title of most expensive Italian wine in WE’s Top 100.

The least expensive Italian wine is the 2021 Lambrusco from the Vigneto Saetti winery (#25) priced at $24. This wine is made entirely of Salamino grapes, the most common of the Lambrusco varieties. Because these grapes are naturally high in sugar they tend to lend themselves to production of sweet and off-dry wines.

Five of the 16 Italian wines are priced at $30 or less and 5 are priced at $60 and up.

The table below lists the all the Italian wines included in WE’s Top 100 wines of 2023 along with some relevant information for each wine.

Italian Wines in Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 Wines of 2023
  Rank Score Producer Wine Vintage Region Price  
  2 97 Ratti Serradenari Barolo 2019 Piedmont $175  
  7 97 Castello Bonomi Cru Perdue Grande Annata Extra Brut Franciacorta 2016 Lombardy $50  
  8 95 Ceretto Bricco Rocche Barolo 2019 Piedmont NA  
  18 94 Borgogno "Derthona" Colli Tortonesi 2021 Piedmont $60  
  25 95 Vigneto Saetti "Viola" Rosso Lambrusco dell'Emilia 2021 Emilia-Romagna $24  
  31 94 Vietti "Lazzarito" Barolo 2019 Piedmont NA  
  33 94 Pertinace "Marcarini" Barbaresco 2020 Piedmont $60  
  39 96 Terrevive "Stiolorosso" Lambrusco NV Emilia-Romagna $35  
  48 95 Nino Negri Vigna Francia Valgella Valtellina Superiore 2018 Lombardy $72  
  53 94 Fontanafredda "Vigna La Delizia Lazzarito" Barolo 2019 Piedmont $175  
  57 93 Rotari Metodo Classico Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut 2018 Trentino-Alto Adige $30  
  58 93 Sandrone Barbera d'Alba 2021 Piedmont $53  
  73 92 Borgoluce Rive di Collalto Extra Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore 2021 Veneto $32  
  75 92 Salcheto Vino Nobile di Montalcino 2019 Tuscany $30  
  84 93 Emilio Vada "Camp Blanc" Moscato d'Asti 2022 Piedmont $25  
  99 90 Pietro Beconcini "Fresco di Nero" Rosé of Tempranillo 2021 Tuscany $25  
      Average Price       $60  
  Source: Wine Spectator Magazine December 2023        

Wine Spectator's Top 100 Selections

Each year, Wine Spectator’s staff reviews more than 11,000 newly-released wines. Of these, WS winnows its potential 100 list to approximately 5,000 wines that initially score 90 points or higher on WS’s 100-point rating scale.

Choosing the best from the short-listed wines is no easy task. 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 around the world. While wines from new regions or varieties break into WS’s Top 100 list each year, wines from classic regions and varieties still exhibit considerable strength. For example, wines from California made with traditional Cabernet and Chardonnay varieties make a strong showing while Italian wines, primarily from Piedmont and Tuscany (including WS’s #1 wine of the year), also do well, accounting for almost one-quarter of total WS awards. Wines from France’s Rhone Valley are also well represented 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 2023.

Italian wines performed exceptionally well in 2023 with 24 wines included in WS’s total awards, including its #1 wine of the year. The Italian wines in WS’s Top 100 are predominantly red with only 3 whites making the list.

A 2018 Brunello from the Argiano winery in southern Tuscany is WS’s top wine for 2023. It retails for approximately $90. The 2018 vintage was excellent in Tuscany in general and the Montalcino area in particular. Warm temperatures over an extended period along with adequate rainfall enabled grapes to be harvested at optimal ripeness presaging wines with elegant structure and good ageing potential.

Eleven Tuscan wines, accounting for almost half of WS’s Italian total, are included in WS’s Top 100 for 2023. The Tuscan total includes primarily Chianti wines with 7 Chianti wines included in WS’s Top 100.

Wines from the Piedmont region are also well represented with 6 wines receiving awards.  The Piedmont total includes 3 Barbera, 2 Barolo and 1 Barbaresco wine.
The remaining Italian wines in WS’s Top 100 include 1 each from the Veneto, Sicily Campania, Alto Adige, Lombardy, Marche and Molise.

It is a rare occasion when a wine from Molise, the second-smallest and least populated (after Valle d’Aosta) of Italy’s 20 official regions, is included in an elite Top 100 wine list. But this time a wine from Molise is included in WS’s annual Top 100 list. This entry is a bold and structured red wine (#75) from the Catabbo winery in Campobasso Molise made entirely of Tintilia, a unique red grape variety grown only in Molise.

The most expensive Italian wine in WS’s Top 100 is a 2019 Barolo from the G.D. Vajra winery (#26) that retails for $95 while 2 wines priced at a very modest $19 are tied for the title of the least expensive Italian wine in WS’s Top 100 list. This includes the 2020 Chianti Classico from the Castello di Quereto winery in Tuscany (#42) and the 2020 Nero di Avola from the Morgante winery in Sicily (#83).

The average price of the 24 Italian wines in WS’s Top 100 is a wallet-friendly $41. Italian wines in WS’s Top 100 are generally very modestly priced with 12 wines priced at $30 and under and only 6 wines priced over $60.

The table below presents relevant information for all Italian wines included in WS’s Top 100 wines of 2023.

Italian Wines in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2023
  1 95 Argiano Brunello di Montalcino 2018 Tuscany $90  
  5 95 Mastroberardino Taurasi "Radici" Riserva 2016 Campania $73  
  7 95 Antinori Chianti Classico Marchese Antinori Riserva 2020 Tuscany $50  
  11 96 Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico Gran Selezione 2019 Tuscany  $42  
  22 94 Fattoria di Felsina Chianti Classico Berardenga Riserva 2020 Tuscany  $40  
  24 94 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva 2020 Tuscany  $45  
  26 96 G.D. Vajra Barolo "Bricco delle Viole" 2019 Piedmont $95  
  34 93 Dei Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2019 Tuscany $37  
  36 92 Pico Maccario  "Lavignone" Barbera d'Asti 2021 Piedmont $20  
  39 92 Giuseppe Cortese  Barbaresco 2019 Piedmont $40  
  42 91 Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico 2020 Tuscany $19  
  45 93 Poggerino Chianti Classico 2021 Tuscany $26  
  47 91 Ratti "Battaglione" Barbera d'Asti 2021 Piedmont $25  
  51 90 Mionetto  Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore NV Veneto $20  
  54 92 Michele Chiarlo "Cipressi" Nizza DOCG 2019 Piedmont $29  
  59 91 Cecchi "Storia di Famiglia" Chianti Classico 2021 Tuscany $26  
  63 94 Nino Negri "Ca' Guicciardi" Valtellina Superiore Inferno 2019 Lombardy $68  
  67 91 Bisci Verdicchio di Matelica 2021 Marche $24  
  70 90 Abbazia di Novacella Kerner Alto Adige Valle Isarco 2022 Alto Adige $22  
  72 90 Poggio San Polo Rosso di Montalcino 2020 Tuscany $25  
  75 91 Catabbo "Colle Cervino" Tintilia del Molise DOP 2019 Molise $30  
  78 93 Paolo Scavino Barolo  2019 Piedmont $63  
  80 96 Isole & Olena "Cepparello" Toscana IGT 2020 Tuscany $63  
  83 90 Morgante Nero di Avola  2020 Sicily $19  
      Average Price       $41  
  Source: Wine Spectator Magazine December 2023        

All in all, it was another great year for Italian wines on the competitive world stage.

Return to About Italian Wines

©Richard Marcis
December 15, 2023



Help keep this website ad-free and independent.
Consider making a contribution to support the work of
For your safety and security, all transactions are remotely processed using PayPal's secure servers.
No credit card or other sensitive information is held on this site. However, you do not need a
PayPal account to make a contribution as PayPal will also process regular credit card transations.



Copyright 2008-2023, Richard Marcis. All rights reserved.