Wine buying list: Italian red wines for the curious and advanced explorers

Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein, Rotwein

How can you get to know a country from afar? Through its wines. Uncork a tour of Italy with me – with outstanding Journey red wines that, thanks to classy craftsmanship, take you on an exciting, multifaceted and curious journey, after which you will have one thing above all: more thirst for the country in your glass.

Wine always makes me curious, I’m always excited to see what new vino vibes are waiting around the next corner. The nice thing about it: even if you can’t make it there in person, you can travel to the most colorful wine spots on earth in a relaxed glass, fly around the world sustainably, and pour yourself more adventures in a short time than Indiana Jones would eat up in 20 movies. In addition, you not only discover new countries through the wines – which always reflect the soil and the environment – but also get to know your own personal style better and better on your taste journey. In short: I always have a thirst for knowledge. Since this year, I’ve had a particular focus on Italy – partly because of my aunt and uncle. They have declared an unofficial Italian year for themselves, and every week when we get together for a family meal, we try out and serve up culinary delights from Bella Italia.

It goes without saying that the emotion of Italy should be uncorked! A fitting occasion to go on a wine journey through Italy together and to add exciting, finely crafted grape soundtracks to the serving playlist – which taste impressive, but also show how versatile, diverse and multifaceted the country’s soils and growing regions are.

The best glass travel views? A pool of grapevine soundtracks awaits.

In this wine shopping list, I present you with (constantly updated) Italian red wines for the curious and advanced explorers, which take you on an exciting, multifaceted and curious journey thanks to classy craftsmanship. First of all: these wines are logically in a correspondingly high-quality price range, starting at around 20 euros – but in return, you will be poured a journey by the glass that scores points and inspires with a captivating price-performance ratio.

What do good wine and good series have in common? They immediately captivate you, and even – or precisely – because you don’t understand everything at the beginning, you stay tuned, curious about the next twist. That’s how I felt with the Bertinga 2017, an ambitious Tuscan red wine for around 50 euros that takes you straight on an Italian travel adventure. This is only the second vintage of this red wine, but in just a few years the winery has managed to join the ranks of top Tuscan wines thanks to its exceptional terroir.

The Bertinga adventure playground for vines in Gaiole.

The hills reach up to 800 meters above sea level and the soils are characterized by Alberese, a calcareous composition that is so valuable for the vines that it gives the wines a unique character. The estate has around 20 hectares of vines, divided into three vineyards: Vertine, Adine and Bertinga, the latter divided into five plots. This results in four characteristic wines – the eponymous Bertinga is the estate’s symbolic wine. A small honor to start a journey with it.

Bertinga 2017 Toscana wine

Young winery, elegant grapevine soundtrack: Bertinga 2017 is fun by the glass for wine explorers.

Hypnotizing Tuscany: Bertinga 2017 immerses the nose in an elegant, spicy setting of notes ranging from small red and black berries to tonka bean.

Bertinga 2017 Toscana wine

The soils in Gaiole in Chianti allow Sangiovese and Merlot to give their best, so that this take-me-on-a-trip wine builds up an arc of tension, somehow situated between “dark” and “fallout”. It takes time, oxygen and curiosity to unravel the mystery. The grapes for the cuvée are vinified separately, followed by around 18 months of ageing in large barrels for the Sangiovese and in tonneaux for the Merlot, followed by at least four years of ageing in the bottle. The nose is immersed in an elegant, spicy setting of notes of small red and black berries, complemented by spicy and undergrowth nuances and mineral notes, plus a character twist full of tonka bean, before a road trip begins that lays dry and flowing on the tongue. Chocolate and pomegranate come into play, and the final episode is reminiscent of nonchalant whisky. Get involved, stream in, discover.

Bertinga 2017 Toscana, Price: around 45 Euros, for example via

A Tuscan tango on the red carpet today. Together with the wine experts from I’m collecting for a blog article on red wines, with which you can learn to travel through Italy’s wine diversity in classy style. With the “Poggio Valente 25 anni” Rosso Toscana IGT 2021 (approx. 30 euros) we go to Fattoria Le Puppile in the Maremma. There, wine DJs Elisabetta Geppetti and Clara Gentili – mother and daughter – turn the dials on the vines and mix super exciting wine soundtracks.

Poggio Valente 25 anni Fattoria Le Pupille, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

A must-try for curious wine explorers: Poggio Valente is an elegant, charming ticket to Tuscany.

At Fattoria Le Puppile, wine DJs Elisabetta Geppetti and Clara Gentili – mother and daughter – turn the dials on the vines.

Under the management of Elisabetta’s father-in-law, Fattoria Le Pupille was more of a farm than a winery. He grew vegetables and bred sheep and cows. On the side, he did some viticulture and bottled his own wine. Later, in her early twenties in the mid-1980s, Elisabetta took care of her first grape harvest on her own. She stubbornly and charmingly asserted herself in the male domain of wine. Today, Elisabetta and Clara cultivate a total of 80 hectares of vineyards around the small village of Peretta. They are spearheading a movement that is establishing the Maremma as a world-class wine region. The winery itself is located in the municipality of Grosseto. A modern winery in a traditionally designed building.

Ready for the movies: the view from the Maremma vineyards.

fattoria le Puppile

Poggio Valente 25 anni Fattoria Le Pupille, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

This Sangiovese hit comes from a single vineyard and appears delicate, almost shy, when first tasted. With the first sip, the revs go up.

The Sangiovese hit “Poggio Valente 25 anni” comes from a single vineyard of the same name at an altitude of around 300 meters. The elegant red wine appears delicate, almost shy, on first tasting, after a cuddly floral and small-fruited Sangiovese nose with nuanced hints of tobacco, cedar wood and mint. It’s almost as if you’ve been taken by the tender hand of a ninja and lifted into a sports car that waits for you to fasten your seatbelt. With the first sip, the revs go up and you glide charmingly towards the sunset on a delicately fruity, enchantingly tarred silk road of cherries, chocolate, lavender and vanilla, in the hope that a bottle sequel is waiting there.

“Poggio Valente 25 anni” Rosso Toscana IGT 2021, Fattoria Le Pupille, Price: around 32 Euros, for example via

The approx. 300 year old Tenuta San Leonardo is undisputedly one of the top wineries in Trentino and is one of my favorite wineries – for both white and red grape soundtracks. A bit like a buoy in the sea – if it gets stormy and choppy when deciding on a wine, you can always hold on to a Tenuta San Leonardo wine. You’ll never go swimming with it. In 2001, Carlo’s son Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga took over the management of the family business and has remained true to his father’s high quality standards. A brief look at the geographical location: the Monti Lessini mountains protect the vineyards in the south of Trento from cold northerly winds and the Mediterranean climate of Lake Garda, as well as the optimal temperature differences between day and night, create the basic conditions for the best possible growth and optimal ripening of the grapes.

The Villa Gresti red wine is aimed more at curious newcomers who have their first diploma in hand and want to take the next step with a little more awareness – at around 28 euros for this Italian glass journey, the Villa Gresti is an absolutely fair value for money.

The tailors behind the elegant wine dress codes: Carlo and Anselmo Guerrieri Gonzaga.

Tenuta San Leonardo, Italien-Rotwein, Wein

Tenuta San Leonardo, Italien-Rotwein, Wein

Lined up wine adventures are stored in the cellar of the San Leonardo estate.

Not just in music: duets have always had a special vibe, haven’t they? The San Leonardo Villa Gresti is an exciting and balanced cuvée of Merlot and Carménère that sends the curious on a harmonious journey – because the balance between fruit intensity and spice is very harmonious.

Tenuta San Leonardo Villa Gresti, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

Orderly chaos in the glass: Villa Gresti is an exciting cuvée of Merlot and Carménère that provides a balance between fruit intensity and spice.

The elegant, clean bottle dress code charmingly reflects the refined, always classy wine journey inside.

Tenuta San Leonardo Villa Gresti, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

The nose scrolls through an aromatic photo album of hypnotizing spiciness that immediately draws you in. Like a song that immediately catches you on first listen. You almost think you can smell a balmy evening and a gently searing steak in the distance. In the mouth, the red cuvée curves over the tongue with a silky temperament like a delicate but athletic ice skater – super smooth. With every sip, a pinch of peppery redcurrant juiciness is added to the palate, everything is classy, never overloaded. A wine without airs and graces, but with character. The handcrafted details make you want to discover more.

“Villa Gresti di San Leonardo” Rosso Dolomiti IGT 2018, San Leonardo, Price: around 28 Euros, for example via

Castello di Vicarello Wine, Poggio Vico, Merah, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

What does this double trip to Italy in a glass have to do with France? The wines of vinery Castello di Vicarello – where, by the way, you can go on vacation, which looks as if 007 is secretly enjoying life there between jobs, and where I like to beam myself to in moments of wanderlust for a poolside wine date with a view – are produced by two generations of the Baccheschi Berti family, Carlo and the eldest son Brando. Carlo was inspired by the wines of Bordeaux and tried to realize his dream of creating a Tuscan wine similar to those of the famous terroir. I met up with two red wines from Castello di Vicarello for a glass travel date – the Mera and the Poggio Vico.

Castello di Vicarello Wine, Poggio Vico, Merah, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

Castello di Vicarello

The wines are produced by two generations of the Baccheschi Berti family, Carlo and his eldest son Brando.

Castello di Vicarello Merah

Merah, the first of two wines I tasted, is a pure Sangiovese – fermentation in conical 3000-liter wooden vats made of Slavonian oak and in stainless steel tanks, followed by maturation in French oak tonneaux and stainless steel tanks, plus 12 months of aging in the bottle.

Castello di Vicarello Wine, Poggio Vico, Merah, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

The Merah from Castello di Vicarello is a prime example of multifacetedness that takes you on a taste journey through Italy.

The spirited red wine for around 30 euros reminds me of an alpaca hopping into a bathtub full of intense red fruit, which somehow comes over for a cuddle, but you realize with the first almost wild nose contact: this is out of line. In a good way. The fragrance is a short full wash through the Tuscan fauna, after the first sip the thing purrs as if a cat with jam paws has saddled up.

Get involved, discover, enjoy. You should consciously enjoy the Merah.

Castello di Vicarello Wine, Poggio Vico, Merah, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

The first sip is clean, cool and flowing like a sunrise, suddenly redcurrant with fine acidity curves around the corner and lets the Merah gallop through the glass smoothly, juicy and making you want to take the next sip. This wine fits the wine journey theme like a glove, changing constantly as it is savored and displaying character traits ranging from floral to spicy to balsamic. Fruit salad cuddling can be so much fun.

Castello di Vicarello Merah, Price: around 30 Euros, via

Castello di Vicarello Poggio Vico

The Malbec grapes for the Poggio Vico are then allowed to graduate on loamy, clayey soils with limestone, before being studied and matured in French oak barriques (30% new) for 18 months, followed by 12 months of bottle ageing.Despite all the temperament that is often associated with South America and Malbec, this classy wine does not lose its cool. The Poggio Vico has plenty of temperament, but this cultivated, easy-going red wine shows it off with great aplomb. A red wine for explorers that does not allow itself to get carried away by any aromatic foul play, regardless of whether you let it breathe longer or shorter – nothing provokes a yellow or red card. However, a little breathing space is highly recommended. I like how the wine opens the door to every curious person with a ruby-red welcome of sour cherries, pickled plums, spices, red candied berries, sour cherries and even a little saltiness.

Castello di Vicarello Wine, Poggio Vico, Merah, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

Malbec and Tuscany? Let’s go on an exciting, elegant glass journey!

Patterns to discover? The Poggio Vico is a liaison of ripe berries and a curious acidity as well as a pinch of black tea.

Castello di Vicarello Wine, Poggio Vico, Merah, Italien-Rotwein, Italien Wein

A polite character trait, one would say, but at the same time very self-confident. Once the Poggio Vico glides down the palate slide, a liaison of ripe berries and a curious acidity washes over you, I even had thoughts of light black tea. Beautiful because it brings this pinch of cozyness: an accompanying spiciness without ever going over the top. A truly gallant glass journey through Tuscany, which is a great way to forget everyday life on the balcony.

Castello di Vicarello Poggio Vico, Price: around 47 Euros, for example via

Die wichtigste Zutat, um mit Wein auf Reisen zu gehen? Ein Glas voller Neugier.

The following wine is also a good example of my own personal development journey when it comes to the adventure of fruit salad in a glass. I didn’t put Chianti on my sexy list at the beginning of my wine journey – due to my first rather off-putting encounters with the obligatory supermarket wines or the house wines from the local Italian restaurant. Until you realize that when you get to the craft wine shelf, there are real treasures waiting to be discovered. This is only possible if you approach the matter with an open mind. That’s why these wines fit so well with the meaning of the journey – in the glass through Italy, but also in yourself, in terms of your own mentality.

The wines of Barone Francesco Ricasoli are created on historic terroir in Tuscany, as the estate embodies over 850 years of winegrowing tradition. The monumental Castello di Brolio was the birthplace of modern Chianti when Barone Bettino Ricasoli proclaimed Sangiovese as the most important component of a Chianti over 100 years ago, supplemented by Canaiolo and Colorino. Wines such as the Chianti Castello di Brolio or the rare Casalferro are regularly highly rated by international critics and are among the top quality wines in Tuscany.

Ricasoli Castello di Brolio, Italien-Rotwein

A wine that should be sampled by curious explorers: The grapes for this excellent Auslese are the product of the best vineyards and are therefore particularly rich in aromas.

For the red wine by the glass adventure through Italy, I went on a date with the house classic. Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio is an almost varietally pure Sangiovese, with just a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon allowed to hop into the sandbox of chalky clay and sandstone and join the fruit salad party. The Gran Selezione comes from the vineyards located 500 meters above sea level directly around the impressively beautiful castle. The grape soundtrack is allowed to make itself at home in French oak tonneaux for 24 months. And during the short winter sleep, the wine gathers a lot of character. The intense aroma of red berries, the typical violet note and a beautiful spiciness is like a deep red sea or a pool of finely spiced jam. Noble, but not too overwhelming.

Enjoy consciously: Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio is a wine that is only produced in the best vintages.

Ricasoli Castello di Brolio, Italien-Rotwein

On the palate, this classy red wine is firmly structured, but not overpowering. It’s more like driving a dynamic car around a Tuscan serpentine, where the tires stay compactly on track. The Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio is very round, spreads out immediately and has a nice dry humor. At first it seems silky, then the red wine glides along, the first sip a street art graffiti of vanilla, strawberry, dried tomato, chocolate with cherry, all with pithy pressure. There is depth, there is length, there is melting – but all with a seemingly invisible lightness. Be sure to take a deep breath. Every breath gives power, pushes the accelerator pedal harder on the journey, and at the end a flirty, juicy currant note greets you in the closing credits. Really tasty entertainment in a glass.

Ricasoli Chianti Classico Gran Selezione Castello di Brolio, Price: around 44 Euros, for example via

Have you heard the saying about building a house, planting a tree, etc.? To the things you should have done in your life, red wine fans would have to add one more point: try a wine from a wineryTenuta di Trinoro . Subjunctive, because: The wines produced according to the Burgundy model not only taste like a tailor-made suit, but are also produced in small quantities and have a corresponding price tag.

In Val d’Orcia near the border with Umbria and Lazio, cult winemaker Andrea Franchetti, who sadly died far too early in 2021, devised and developed some very unusual red fruit salads. The estate owner chose Bordeaux varieties as raw materials – primarily Cabernet Franc, but also Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and a little Petit Verdot.

Fortunately, the winery also has a small beginner’s edition for advanced drinkers. But this is also a case for the festive budget, to be fair. The Cuvée Le Cupole, made from Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, is, like its bigger siblings, not a wine for every day, but a holiday treat for aroma and taste hunters.

Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole 2021, Italien-Rotwein, Wein

An Italian red wine for explorers, where everything is in the green zone. The Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole 2021 is the entry-level edition of the famous winery.

Tasting a Trinoro wine is reason enough to clink glasses. And afterwards, you can talk about it with a glass in your hand. Aged for 8 months in French oak barrels and 11 months in cement tanks, Le Cupole smells of a fireplace and sunshine at the same time. It gallops velvety easy over the tongue into the heart. Important: take your time. The longer the red wine from Tuscany swings in the mouth, the more aromas jump onto the dance floor.

The Italian red wine Le Cupole convinces with a beautiful cut, fine details and follows a clear pattern: unagitated elegance.

Tenuta di Trinoro Le Cupole 2021, Italien-Rotwein, Wein

What does it smell and taste like? Imagine closing your eyes, dreaming yourself away to a small cottage on a Tuscan hill, going out onto the terrace, leaning back on a comfortable, deep couch and sinking into a blanket of dark fruits, leather, grilled herbs, lavender, cherries, blackberries, plums and dark chocolate. A bit like a dark sauce that has been preserved for days, in which veal cheeks would be bathed to braise. But the whole thing comes in a flowing, relaxed dress code. Which also applies to the taste. For curious explorers, the red wine enters the palate more like a nonchalantly chipped flank of Andrea Pirlo, finely accentuated texture, dense, but not overwhelming, rather pulling you along, thanks to a beautiful juiciness that joins in with a grin. An Italian glass journey with a drinking train that never comes too late.

“Le Cupole di Trinoro” Rosso Toscana IGT 2021, Price: around 31 Euros, for example via

Always think positively when pouring! Pio Cesare was one of the first winemakers to believe in the high quality and potential of Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and other wines from Piedmont. The world-famous traditional house, which he founded in the 19th century under his own name, is still based in the old town of Alba today. The walls of the cellars date back to the Roman Empire.

Pio Cesare, Italein-Rotwein, Wein

The Pio Cesare vineyards are located in the Barolo area in Serralunga d’Alba, Grinzane Cavour, La Morra as well as in Barolo and Novello, in the Barbaresco areas in Treiso and other selected growing zones in Diano d’Alba, Sinio and Trezzo Tinella.

Today, the traditional winery is in its sixth generation of family ownership. The legacy of more than 40 years of enthusiastic work has now been passed on to Pio’s daughter, Federica Boffa. Together with her cousin Cesare Benvenuto and her uncle Augusto Boffa, she is now at the helm of the winery, with the support of oenologist Paolo Fenocchio. Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto thrive in Pio Cesare’s vineyards alongside other – mostly indigenous – grape varieties. And that’s exactly the kind of Nebbiolo that I once tried.

At Pio Cesare, classy uncorking is a family affair – with Federica Boffa Pio now in the 5th generation.

If you were looking for a weather forecast for the red wine journey with the Pio Cesare Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2020, I could assure anyone who is curious: Dynamically sunny, and when it does, it rains maximum entertaining vine adventures into the glass here. The red wine from Piedmont is definitely a lively, elegant representative of its kind. Not really shy, rather politely waiting to see how the first breaths in the glass club turn out, it slowly taps onto the dance floor with a finely spiced soundtrack of strawberry, black cherries, raspberries and violets. Then a short swing of the hips with vanilla, and the thing calls out: drink me harder!

Entertaining right from the start: the Pio Cesare Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2020 from Piedmont is definitely a lively, elegant representative of its kind.

Pio Cesare Nebbiolo, Italien-Rotwein, Wein

Pio Cesare Nebbiolo, Italien-Rotwein, Wein

The italian red wine dances through the glass, always in time and with a perfect balance of fruit, acidity and tannins.

Once it has hopped across the palate, the Pio Cesare Nebbiolo Langhe DOC 2020 lies silky but with dry humor on the tongue, shakes a few pepper twists out of its sleeve and then prances on full-bodied. Always elegantly in time and a perfect balance of fruit, acidity and tannins. I like how the currants and plums then join in the duet without it ever becoming kitschy or ponderous on this glass journey. Absolutely fair value for money glass dancer.

Pio Cesare Nebbiolo 2020, Price: around 27 Euros, for example via

The photogenic winery and castle Castello di Querceto lies to the north-east of Chianti Classico, in a small valley (in Greve in Chianti). The historic Castello di Querceto is nestled in the typical Tuscan Colline (hills) at an altitude of around 470 meters above sea level. 190 ha of land, of which 60 ha are vineyards, 5 ha olive groves and the rest untouched woodland have belonged to owner Alessandro François since 1978. The vineyards are located at an altitude of between 350 and 520 meters above sea level and the vineyards run in an arc from east to south and then west. The majority of the vines are red grapes, among which Sangiovese stands out, flanked by Canaiolo, Colorino, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Merlot and other indigenous varieties. The white grape varieties include Malvasia del Chianti, Trebbiano Toscano, San Colombano and Chardonnay. I poured myself the Sangiovese soundtrack Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2020.

Castello di Querceto Riserva Chianti Classico, Italien-Rotwein

Please take a close look! On the nose, the Sangiovese lays down elegant, finely spiced beats like a spray of cherry, blackberry, gingerbread or chocolate on the dance floor.

What does cuddly rock sound like in a bottle? The Castello di Querceto Chianti has a fine, nonchalant temperament, fresh notes keep knocking, dark fruit determines the refrain.

Castello di Querceto Riserva Chianti Classico, Italien-Rotwein

Old school? Not at all! Even if Chianti is still often confused with old-fashioned vibes, this Tuscan bottle flirt shows just how appealing the region can currently be uncorked. The Chianti Classico Riserva 2020 from the Castello di Querceto winery reminds me of music by The Weeknd. 80s vibes, but the vine soundtrack comes around the corner with a hypnotizingly modern soundtrack. On the nose, the Sangiovese lays down elegant, finely spiced beats like a spray of cherry, blackberry, gingerbread or chocolate on the dance floor. Relaxed, but with a marching tempo. The longer you listen to it in the glass, the denser and more mellow it becomes, without becoming stale. The red wine has a fine, nonchalant temperament, fresh notes keep knocking, dark fruit determines the chorus. After a hook of redcurrant, a juiciness spreads, a drum set of olives or juniper, a forward pull. An elegant but drinkable wine for just under 20 euros, with hints of a Tuscan earworm. Ready for the charts!

Castello di Querceto Chianti Classico Riserva 2020, Price: around 17 Euros, for example via

*With the support of Samples and Thurner PR, updates from time to time


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