Ratings: The Best Italian Wines of 2023
Back in the summer, we took a look at the top wines to have recently come out of Italy. The selections were wide-ranging and as impressive as one would expect for a destination that’s been producing wine for thousands of years. The highest-rated bottles hailed from regions that spanned from the volcanic soils of Sicily and rolling hills of Tuscany up to the mountains of Lombardy and Alpine foothills of Piedmont. At the time, Wine Enthusiast’s Tuscany and Southern Italy reviewer Danielle Callegari said, “If there’s one takeaway from the huge amount of Italian wine I’ve tasted in the past months, it’s this: Italian wine is better than ever.”
But our tasters have gone through even more Italian wines from an even wider area in the ensuing months. We reviewed more than a whopping 3,400 bottles in 2023—it’s been a busy year—and our reviewers have been delighted with the diverse array of quality wines they’ve come across. In the last few months, we’ve found a stunning Prosecco grown in the chalky soils high in the hills of Valdobbiadene; lush and vibrant Lambruscos; an indulgent Sangiovese-based Vino Nobile di Montepulciano; a rare example of 100% Tempranillo rosato; and, of course, some age-worthy and very impressive Barolos and Barbarescos.
The best of the bunch made the cut for the Enthusiast 100: The Best Wines of 2023. These picks are not just the highest-rated or most expensive bottlings, but those that reminded our reviewers of what makes Italy—and especially Italian wines—so special and intriguing. What Callegari said about the impressive state of the country’s wines earlier in the year “definitely still stands” today.
From splurge-worthy selections that can be cellared for special occasions to budget bottles that will elevate a weeknight dinner, here are the best Italian wines of 2023.
Ratti 2019 Serradenari Nebbiolo (Barolo)
This wine expresses itself with aromas of wild cherries, tart red plums, dried violets and oolong tea leaves. The palate is elegant and almost dances across the mouth, leading with ripe red fruits that give way to savory flavors of fresh bay leaf, clove and balsam. Drink 2025–2040. Editor’s Choice. 97 Points — Jeff Porter
Ceretto 2019 Bricco Rocche Nebbiolo (Barolo)
On the nose, this wine exudes notes of black cherry, tea and cedar. The palate is very elegant, showcasing fine tannins and a very pretty and enticing character. The finish reveals earthy and mineral elements, contributing to its classy profile. A wine for the ages. Drink 2026–2046. 95 Points — J.P.
Borgogno 2021 Derthona Timorasso (Colli Tortonesi)
Spiced pear mixed with candied lemon rind, wildflowers and fresh honey all swirl in concert in the glass. Each sniff brings out a new element from the wine: fruit, mineral and flower. The palate is full in body with a texture that will make you keep coming back and rue the moment the glass is finished, capped with apricot and a salty minerality. 94 Points — J.P.
Vigneto Saetti 2021 Rosso Viola Lambrusco Salamino (Lambrusco dell’Emilia)
100% Salamino grown organically in the hills north of Modena this wine is the personification of the Saetti family’s dedication to their craft. Aromas of blackberries, mulberries and tamarind share the glass with violets, dried roses and wild herbs. The palate is lush and vibrant at the same time with rich ripe black-hued fruits balanced with crunchy acidity. The wine has a long and refined finish highlighted by the well-crafted perlage. 95 Points — J.P.
Vietti 2019 Lazzarito Nebbiolo (Barolo)
This is the Barolo we have been looking for! Black cherry, warmed spices, crushed stone and dried herbs flow from the glass. The palate is firm and states its purpose to take some time in the cellar. The core of fruit is present but reticent while the black tea, anise, pepper and mineral edge are present but want more time. Drink 2028–2045. Editor’s Choice. 94 Points — J.P.
Pertinace 2020 Marcarini Nebbiolo (Barbaresco)
Ripe raspberry aromas leap from the glass of this fleshy and fruit-forward wine with wildflowers and savory spice notes quickly following. The superfine palate is refined with fresh wild cherries spiked with hints of anise and clove finishing with a mineral edge. Drink 2025–2035. Editor’s Choice. 94 Points — J.P.
Terrevive NV Stiolorosso Lambrusco di Sorbara (Emilia)
Established in 2008, Terrevive is not just a vine grower but also an integrated farm that creates biodiversity that makes healthier grapes and people. The Stiolorosso has aromas of blackberry, cherry and white pepper. The palate is mouthfilling and supremely structured, balanced between a deep core of black fruits and intriguing savory herbs and spice, finishing with crisp acidity and superfine bubbles. Editor’s Choice. 96 Points — J.P.
Nino Negri 2018 Vigna Fracia Nebbiolo
This wine opens with aromas of warmed strawberries, violet, rosemary and forest floor. The palate achieves a near-perfect balance between fruit and savory notes, each in harmony. Elegant tannins and lifted acidity saunter to the finish, where the wine lingers in a contemplative manner. Supple and so pretty. Drink now–2035. 95 Points — J.P.
Salcheto 2019 Sangiovese (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano)
The nose is structured around notes of strawberry and raspberry, with balanced undertones of both delicate rose petals and sharp gunpowder. The berries get denser and sweeter on the palate, which sets up an indulgent milk chocolate finish, while chalky tannins contrast that plushness. This is a great reminder of how much pleasure can be derived from Vino Nobile. Editor’s Choice. 92 Points — Danielle Callegari
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All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.
Published: December 22, 2023