The Best Italian Wine Award turns seven

by Daniele Cernilli 09/17/18
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Biwa 2018

The Best Italian Wine Award is a classification of the Top 50 Italian Wines. Before criticizing the choices, why not surprise yourself by tasting those wines that at first glance convinced you the least.

When the question arises on how to communicate the world of wine and what the reference points are, a good example is the Best Italian Wine Award (BIWA) which in 2018 is in its 7th edition. It was the brainchild of Luca Gardini, a sommelier and author of publications dealing with wine, and Andrea Grignaffini, a journalist, the editor-in-chief of Spirito di Vino and a professor at Alma, the international school of Italian cuisine.

Why is BIWA useful? For the simple fact that it gets people talking about wine and, at a time when few outlets do, contributes to wine being a subject dealt with in the press, on TV and on the web. And this is good because discussing, criticizing and taking positions is always positive. Then there is the fact that yours truly has been on the jury from the beginning. With me are some excellent tasters and critics from around the world who form a panel of competent professionals with, and above all, international experience. This year there is Lou Young, a famous Chinese sommelier; Othmar Kiem, the correspondent for Italy for Falstaff; and Kenichi Ohashi, the only Japanese Master of Wine. Then there are Amaya Cervera, the founder of the website spanishwinelovers.comTim Atkin, the charismatic British Master of Wine; and Christy Canterbury, another MW but from New York. Last but not least are Luciano Ferraro, managing editor at Corriere della Sera and the author of many articles dealing with “wine things”; Pier Bergonzi, a deputy editor at Gazzetta dello Sport and the creator of the weekly page Gazza GolosaAntonio Paolini, a veteran wine and food journalist; and Marco Tonelli, a seasoned writer on wine and food with an impressive experience as a taster. The panel obviously also includes Gardini, Grignaffini and yours truly.

We tasted 350 wines, rigorously “blind”, from all over Italy including many “iconic” wines and then drew up a classification of the 50 wines we thought to be the best, combining the points we each assigned to each wine and then averaging them out.  Not all of Italy’s best wines made the list but a good percentage did and the wines that made the Top 50 are, in my opinion, magnificent products.

This starting with the first three. Number One was Sassicaia 2015 which rightfully won the prize because, for me, this is one of the best versions ever. Barbaresco Vecchie Vite 2012 Roagna came in second and Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2013 Casanova di Neri placed third. You can check out the rest of the wines selected below. The top three are classic wines made following different styles but they were representative of that type of wine and the vintage and are, above all, to die for.

Look through the rest of the classification and offer your own opinions. Some may agree and some may not. But before criticizing, why not try and surprise yourself by tasting wines that at first glance convinced you the least. Changing opinion is always a sign of intelligence and open-mindedness and is the opposite of adhering to a “single view” and preconceptions.

1. Tenuta San Guido Bolgheri Sassicaia 2015, Toscana

2. Roagna Barbaresco Asili Vecchie Viti 2012, Piemonte

3. Casanova di Neri Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2013, Toscana

4. San Michele Appiano Sauvignon The Wine Collection 2015, Alto Adige

5. Lusignani Alberto Vin Santo di Vigoleno 2008, Emilia Romagna

6. Uberti Franciacorta Quinque - Cuvée 5 Vendemmie, Lombardia

7. Marco De Bartoli Solera Vecchio Samperi, Sicilia

8. Tenuta Sette Ponti Vigna Dell’impero 2015, Toscana

9. Pacher Hof Private Cuvée Andreas Huber 2016, Alto Adige

10. Cantina Tramin AA Chardonnay Riserva 2015, Alto Adige

11. Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo 2014, Abruzzo

12. Florio Marsala Superiore Riserva Ambra Donna Franca, Sicilia

13. Grattamacco Bolgheri Superiore Grattamacco 2015, Toscana

14. Broglia Gavi Vecchia Annata 2009, Piemonte

15. Ettore Germano Langhe Riesling Hérzu 2016, Piemonte

16. Nino Negri Sforzato di Valtellina Sfursat 5 Stelle 2015, Lombardia

17. Damilano Barolo Riserva 1752 Cannubi 2010, Piemonte

18. Ca' del Baio Langhe Riesling 2016, Piemonte

19. Il Marroneto Brunello di Montalcino Madonna delle Grazie 2013, Toscana

20. Giuseppe Mascarello e Figlio Barolo Monprivato 2013, Piemonte

21. Cavalleri Franciacorta Collezione Esclusiva Giovanni Cavalleri 2007, Lombardia

22. Torre San Martino Romagna Sangiovese Modigliana Vigna 1922 2015, Emilia Romagna

23. Schiavenza Barolo Cerretta 2014, Piemonte

24. Petrolo Galatrona 2016, Toscana

25. Fratelli Alessandria Barolo Monvigliero 2014, Piemonte

26. Ca' del Bosco Franciacorta Riserva Annamaria Clementi 2008, Lombardia

27. Marisa Cuomo Furore Bianco Fiorduva 2016, Campania

28. Vietti Barolo Rocche di Castiglione 2014, Piemonte

29. Conte Emo Capodilista - La Montecchia Colli Euganei Fior d'Arancio Passito Donna Daria 2015, Veneto

30. Gini Soave Contrada Salvarenza – Vecchie Vigne 2015, Veneto

31. Michele Chiarlo Barolo Cerequio 2013, Piemonte

32. Brezza Giacomo e Figli Barolo Cannubi 2014, Piemonte

33. Elvio Cogno Barolo Riserva Vigna Elena 2012, Piemonte

34. Poliziano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Asinone 2015, Toscana

35. Surrau Cannonau di Sardegna Riserva Sincaru 2015, Sardegna

36. Passopisciaro - Vini Franchetti Contrada S Sciaranuova 2016, Sicilia

37. Cantina Terlano AA Terlano Grande Cuvée Terlaner I 2015, Alto Adige

38. Tenuta di Fessina Etna Bianco A’Puddara 2016, Sicilia

39. Zidarich Vitovska 2016, Friuli Venezia Giulia

40. Santa Barbara Mossone 2016, Marche

41. Tenute Cisa Asinari Dei Marchesi di Gresy Barbaresco Riserva Camp Gros Martinenga 2013, Piemonte

42. Podere Le Ripi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Lupi e Sirene 2013, Toscana

43. Belpoggio Brunello di Montalcino 2013, Toscana

44. Giacomo Borgogno & Figli Barolo Liste 2013, Piemonte

45. Pio Cesare Barolo Ornato 2014, Piemonte

46. Monte Rossa Franciacorta Riserva Cabochon Rosé 2008, Lombardia

47. Livio Felluga Terre Alte 2016, Friuli Venezia Giulia

48. Umani Ronchi Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore Vecchie Vigne 2016, Marche

49. Bruno Rocca Barbaresco Rabajà 2014, Piemonte

50. Pievalta Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva San Paolo 2016, Marche





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