The special prizes 2022
Bringing under the lens some wines, above all, but also wineries, people, projects that particularly strike us year after year is the meaning of the special awards we give in The Essential Guide to Italian Wine and that contribute to shed light on the state of our viticulture.
Here is the list of the best wines per category. The Red Wine of the Year is Barbaresco Asili Riserva 2016 Bruno Giacosa. Thanks also to an exceptional year, this wine left us speechless and we gave it a 100/100 rating. For the White Wine of the Year, on the other hand, we awarded the prize ex aequo to two champions for their propensity to age. Both, in fact, are vintage 2008, which underscores how often it is unmotivated (and even harmful) to just go for the latest vintage. The complexity these wines achieved from aging long in the bottle expresses itself in the glass. The wines are Alto Adige Terlano Rarity 2008 Cantina Terlano and Greco di Tufo Vittorio 2008 Di Meo, which are totally different from each other and made from totally different varietals yet share a common vision.
The Rosé Wine of the Year, on the other hand, is from one of the historic regions for Italian rosé, Puglia, and is Furia di Calafuria 2020 Tormaresca. The leading local varietal, Negroamaro, is blended here with some Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The wine is from the Antinori family. For the Sparkling Wine of the Year (we use this term to appease those who, by definition and with reason, do not like the terms spumante or bubbly) we for once moved away from Italy’s two classic appellations Franciacorta and Trentodoc to highlight another great area for sparkling wine, Piedmont, and selected Alta Langa Zero 140 Riserva 2008 Enrico Serafino.
The Sweet Wine of the Year is not sweet but is a dessert wine, one of those that Veronelli defined as “meditation wines”. It is Vecchio Samperi Marco De Bartoli Perpetuo Quarantennale Marco De Bartoli, an absolutely outstanding wine (it merited a 100/100 rating) with an amazing personality.
As for the Winning Debut prize, dedicated to a wine that reached the market for the first time and obtained a remarkable result, we selected Barbaresco Gallina 2018 Ceretto, an historic producer who has offered this cru for the first time.
We now turn to a much appreciated prize for our readers, the prize for the Best Quality/Price Ratio, which went to a classic and very traditional Lazio wine, Frascati Superiore Vigneto Santa Teresa 2020 Fontana Candida. It is offered at a pittance of 6.50 euros. We move to Veneto for the winner of the Quality/Quantity Prize, awarded to a top wine produced in large numbers and is thus easy to find on the market. The wine is Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera 2016 Masi, a classic that is a guarantee.
In the category dedicated to producers, the Estate of the Year price, awarded to a winery that performed particularly well, went to the Tuscan Casanova di Neri, a solid estate that year after year always offers a fantastic line of wines and that this year surpassed itself with vintages 2015 and 2016, which in Montalcino were fantastic years. The Up and Coming Producer prize, given to a new producer or a little-known one who has made leaps and bounds, also came from Tuscany. It is Bertinga, which is Russian-owned and has its vineyards in Gaiole in Chianti. The Cooperative Prize, awarded to wine cooperatives, was won by Cantina Valtidone, one of the most important producers in the whole Piceno district.
Now for the prizes awarded to people. The Enologist of the Year went to someone who years ago was defined as an enfant prodige and has maintained and even surpassed expectations: Luca D’Attoma, who is responsible for some very great wines in Tuscany and elsewhere. For the Sustainable Winemaking prize, a recognition for those committed to eco-sustainability in its many forms, we chose to give it to the enologist Gioia Crespi, who has always been committed to this approach more for substance than for show. In conclusion, the prize for A Life for Wine, which seeks to underscore the role and commitment of a leading figure in the world of Italian wine, this year went to the enologist Riccardo Cotarella, the president of the Union Internationale des Œnologues, a federation and groups together and represents on a global level national associations of wine sector professionals, as well as of Assoenologi, Italy’s most important association for that category.
Finally, the Italian Federation of Independent Winegrowers is the protagonist of the Quality Project Award. Fivi4Future: Vintners Cultivate Research is a multi-year strategic project articulated in many actions which focuses on environmental sustainability and protection of biodiversity. First action: increase the biodiversity of vineyards.
Barbaresco Asili Riserva 2016 Bruno Giacosa, Piemonte