Finding value from Italy’s top producers
The big name producers in Italy usually gain a reputation from their high end, flagship wine but their portfolio tends to extend much further and can offer great value.
Roagna, famous for its Barbaresco Crichët Pajé, also make a basic Langhe Rosso that is far from simple yet incredibly affordable. Guado al Tasso, whose Bordeaux blend Bolgheri usually comes in above £100 a bottle, recently began production of Cont’Ugo. Made from 100% merlot grown across the estate the winemaking quality is evident but the price has yet to creep up.
Taking a closer look at a well-reputed producer’s extended range is definitely worthwhile as it can offer the chance to enjoy the high quality production and winemaking skills at a more approachable level. We’ve chosen to focus on Italy for this list but the sentiment applies throughout the winemaking world.
Tenuta Dell’Ornellaia have a reputation for consistency and quality and their wines tend to be a good crowd pleasing option. Whilst Ornellaia and Le Serre Nuove are Bordeaux blends, Le Volte is made with Sangiovese in a more classic Tuscan style. Well made, easy drinking, good value wine from one of Italy’s great producers it is well worth a try.
Francesco Rinaldi is an old established family run winery in Piedmont that has done well to remain quality conscious throughout its expansion. They are well-known for their single vineyard Barolos but are also very good at the underrated art of creating simple yet high quality wines. This Barbera is classic and easy yet perfectly formed.
Guidalberto is the next rung down from Sassicaia in the Tenuta San Guido portfolio but has a hefty percentage of Merlot rather than Cabernet Franc. This blend change makes it a more approachable wine when young but also creates a fuller, rounder style with less power and complexity. The quality is apparent and the price very welcoming.
Roagna is one of Barbaresco’s oldest wine estates who specialise in high quality wines from the very best vineyard sites in Barbaresco including Paje, Crichet Paje and Paje Riserva, which are three of the top Crus of the region. They do occasionally dabble in the simpler wine but the quality remains making them great value. 2016 was a great year across Italy and the Langhe Rosso from Roagna is full of bright, juicy fruit and intriguingly powerful.
Made by the Marchesi Antinori group, of Tignanello fame, Cont’Ugo is a 100% Merlot offering from the Guado Al Tasso Bolgheri estate. Located on the Tuscan coast the wines are usually closer in style to Bordeaux than Chianti thanks to the maritime climate. After several years of production the Cont’Ugo is getting into its stride and offers something a little different.
Another Marchesi Antinori offering this time in the form of a Chainti Classico from a single estate. Made from 100% Sangiovese this has clean, pure fruit, plenty of classic violet notes and a strong grip.