James Suckling tasting report
MY TOP 100 ITALIAN WINES IN 2015
October 20th, 2015
It should come as no surprise that this year's report on my Top 100 Italian wines from my tastings of close to 3,000 bottles focuses primarily on 2010 Brunello di Montalcino. Anyone who reads these pages - and just about anywhere else on wine - knows the 2010 was the greatest vintage ever for the famous red of Tuscany. And it's why I chose the Siro Pacenti Brunello di Montalcino 2010 as my Italian Wine of Year. It is the epitome of this unique vintage and shows unrivalled aromatic complexity, richness, structure, and freshness for a Brunello 2010. It's a perfect wine.
However, I only included Brunello 2010s that I rated 96 points or more in my list of my Top 100 Italian Wines in 2015. That still accounted for 32 of the 100. And there are plenty of other super exciting wines from perfect Bordeaux blends from the coast of Tuscany such as the 2012 Fattoria Le Pupille Toscana Saffredi (No.2 and 100 points) to a vibrant yet subtle 2011 Brunello Giacosa Barbaresco Asili Riserva (No.8 and 99 points).
The second largest group of wines in my Top 100 is Barolo. Almost all are 2011s. The vintage is excellent producing fruit-forward, friendly wines that have a brightness and tannin backbone that is so appalling. They remind me of the superb 1998s, which are drinking beautifully now. Don't miss the Giacomo Conterno Barolo Monfortino 2008 (99 points) that was recently released. It is a magical wine with so much depth and intensity. I also included two very late releases - both 2005s - that are fun to taste and absolutely delicious now - Roberto Voerzio Fossati Case Nere Riserva 10 (97 points) and Marchesi di Barolo Barolo Cannubi 10 Anni (96 points).
A dozen super Tuscans are the next largest group of wines in the list. Almost all of them have been in past Top 100s for Italian wines including Masseto 2012 (99 points) and Solaia 2012 (97 points). The Mazzei Toscana Siepi 2012 (97 points) is the best ever of this merlot and sangiovese blend.
There are plenty of cool wines from the south on the list from Etna to Terre Siciliane Il Frappato (one of my favorite summertime reds) as well as a stunning single vineyard Taurasi from Quintodecimo - 2010 Vigna Quintodecimo Riserva (97 points).
I tried to include some of my favorite whites this year. My top one was the Livio Felluga Rosazzo 100, a new blend of friulano, pinot bianco, sauvignon blanc and malvasia istriana. Only 400 magnums were made. It's stunning (98 points). The Cantina Terlano Alto Adige Terlaner I Grande Cuvée 2012 is almost at the same level of quality (97 points) and a fantastic blend of pinot bianco with chardonnay and sauvignon. This is only the second release of this great white.
I didn't want people to miss understand how Italy is now making some outrageously good quality sparkling wines. So I included three sparklers. They are all from Franciacorta: Bellavista Vittorio Moretti Riserva Extra Brut 2008 (95 points), Ca' del Bosco Cuvée Annamaria Clementi Riserva 2006 (96 points) and Bellavista Rosé 2010 (95 points).
I hope you enjoy my list of my Top 100 Italian Wines in 2015. The list is, of course, very personal and I couldn't include all the outstanding wines tasted this year. In any case, I would love to drink every wine I selected for the list this year. So rest assured they are really great bottles.