A classic Barolo leads the way, the former champion has dropped out of the top 10, Super Tuscans are not as numerous as we might have thought, and there are one or two other surprises in our list of the most expensive wines in Italy.
Italy is generally known for its red wines, and so it is perhaps of little surprise that no white table wines feature.
Giacomo Conterno Monfortino Barolo Riserva
Named after the local village of Monforte d’Alba, the wine was created in the 1920s as one of the very first producer-bottled wines, and quickly gained renown for its quality and great ability to age. The latter characteristic helps place the wine at the top of our tree; the Wine-Searcher database lists vintages dating back to 1927.
Masseto Toscano IGT, Tuscany
Whilst Bordeaux-inspired Super Tuscan red wines have gained a lot of attention over recent decades, only one Bordeaux blend or single-varietal wine makes the list. This may reflect that some of those blue chip bottles are produced in reasonable quantities, which moderates the price a little; Ornellaia’s average price is $187 and Sassicaia comes in at $204, for example.
Giuseppe Quintarelli Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico Riserva, Veneto
The Riserva is selected by the family from the very best barrels of the “standard” Amarone Classico. It is aged for seven years in large Slavonian oak barrels. To say that this wine is only released in the best years feels like an understatement.
Biondi Santi Tenuta Greppo Riserva, Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany
The Biondi Santi Family, at their Greppo estate, is another of the world’s most celebrated wine producers and the creators of blueprint wines for the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG. The first recorded mention of a Brunello wine was in 1869. A record of two silver medals won by Clemente Santi for his wine at Montepulciano’s agricultural fair, and the phrase “Brunello di Montalcino” first appeared with the family’s 1888 vintage.
Bibi Graetz Testamatta Colore Toscana IGT, Tuscany
Bibi Graetz’s top 10 IGT Toscana wine is not a Bordeaux blend but made from one-third each of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Colorino from 60-year-old vines in Fiesole, to the northeast of Florence. Geographically it qualifies for the Chianti Colli Fiorentini appellation, but the blend proportions do not – in any case, a Toscana IGT designation perhaps fits in better with these lofty pricing levels.
Roagna Crichët Pajé Barbaresco, Piemonte
Roagna has been making wine since before the Barbaresco region was formerly designated in 1890, though the spread of vintages of Crichët Pajé on Wine-Searcher begins with their 1978. The second Nebbiolo is made from a small plot on the Pajè vineyard (yes the accents on the final “e” do change). “Crichët” is local dialect for “top of the small hill”.
After purchasing the vineyard in 1953, Giovanni Roagna spent many years experimenting with the plot and reserving the wines for family consumption and special occasions. The wine undergoes long aging in wooden vats and is released around 10 years after vintage.
Case Basse di Gianfranco Soldera Toscana IGT-Brunello Riserva, Tuscany
In 2012, a former employee emptied tanks and casks storing vintages from 2007 to 2011, resulting in major reductions in availability. The incident and a rejected attempt by fellow producers to help by offering replacement wine led to a heavily publicized falling-out with the Brunello di Montalcino Consorzio This means that only half of the 2006 Casse Basse Riserva was released as a Brunello; the remainder was labeled as Toscana IGT, as have subsequent vintages.
Miani Calvari Refosco Colli Orientali del Friuli, Friuli-Venezia Giulia
Enzo Pontoni only makes 8000 bottles from 18 hectares of Friuli vineyards, with tiny yields and incredibly strict selection in both the vineyard and winery. His Calvari cuvée made from Refosco dal Pedunculo Rosso is the rarest wine in his lineup, made from less than a hectare of steeply terraced pre-World War II vineyards, in many years producing just one single barrel. The first vintage was 1995, and since then it has been made in all but three or four years.
Avignonesi Occhio di Pernice Vin Santo di Montepulciano, Tuscany
As much as vin santo is a classic Tuscan product, Avignonesi’s Occhio di Pernice may seem like a slightly surprising representative for that region. But it is a consistent recipient of high scores from the major critics and, according to our data, ranks third in Tuscany in terms of a number of prizes won.
See Also: Luxury Champagne: Toast with Wijion