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Home Winners > Winners 2015 > ITALY: South Reds, including Sicily & Sardinia

Winner Details

Italy: South Reds, including Sicily & Sardinia


2015: Gold 4 Silver 12 Bronze 4 Commended 7
2014: Gold 3 Silver 8 Bronze 9 Commended 9


As prices have headed northwards, so this section of the competition has grown in importance – a way of getting wines that are distinctively Italian, but without the big-name DOC price-tags to match. And for sure, there were some great wines here under £10, mostly with joyously accented southern grapes such as Nero d’Avola, Nerello Mascalese and Primitivo.

This being the south, it wasn’t consistent. Some teams loved their flights, others were underwhelmed. And while not all the pricier wines were appreciated, there were enough successful examples to suggest that, however good the lower-end wines were, southern wines needn’t all be about the price.

Star Performer
Well done to both Rapitalà and San Marzano for scoring Golds in both the Red and White Southern Italy sections from their respective strongholds of Sicily and Puglia.


FOOTNOTE: Includes wines from Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sicily & Sardinia.

From the Tasting Teams


‘You can’t make breakfast wine in southern Italy – it’s just too hot.’ Sandro Lyhs, Oxo Tower Bar

‘This was one of most consistent flights that we’ve had. The wines were fresh with good drinkability. At £5-7 we were all agreed that they were very good.’ Garreth Ferreira, Launceston Place

‘At the top end these were not so good – whack in expensive oak and charge for it – but at entry level these wines have real interest and excitement, being definitely Italian, but with a personality that stands out.’ Jade Koch, team leader

‘Many had a beautiful freshness – a lovely herbaceous quality that would also make them very flexible when it comes to food matching.’ Debbie Smith, 21212

‘At the entry level these wines showed very well and would certainly work on an Italian restaurant list. But they can find a really good home elsewhere, in gastropubs, with burgers and slow-cooked meats. These are wines that stand out as Italian and are also good fun!’ Andrea Fasan, La Petite Maison

‘I expected more good wines. This flight was quite disappointing.’ Xavier Rousset MS, Texture, 28°-50°

‘These are discovery wines, so a hand-sell at the upper prices, but great as points of difference for the flavour-adventurous.’ Caroline Brangé, 28°-50° Mayfair


Award winners

Found 27 wines

Italy: South – Red, including Sicily & Sardinia

Leone de Castris, Villa Santera, Primitivo di Manduria 2013, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

With a winning mix of perfume, soft and round fruit, and a refreshing finish, this garnered the Mushroom Risotto Food Match Trophy. ‘Bright red fruit aromas, silky tannins on the palate and very fresh, making for a stunning example,’ said Debbie Smith of 21212, with Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place adding: ‘Ripe fruit, juicy tannin, soft and elegant.’ Great with grilled lamb with rosemary too.

£9.90 Eurowines

Terrazze dell'Etna, Cirneco 2009, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

Complexity, with a gently perfumed nose and a firm, tannic style, this Nerello Mascalese from 750m up Etna's slopes entranced our judges. ‘Good, earthy terroir notes, intense and weighty, with a long finish,’ began Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison, with Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous adding: ‘Subtle fruit with nice use of oak and soft tannins on the finish.’

£20.00 Liberty Wines

Rapitalà, Hugonis, Terre Siciliane, Cabernet Sauvignon/Nero d'Avola 2011, Sicily, Italy

Gold medal winner

Local grape meets international visitor in this rich, dark, ripe Sicilian Gold winner, with its poised balance. ‘Thick and brooding on the nose, with a meaty, big, warm blackcurrant fruit style on the palate. Will age very well,’ said team leader Jade Koch, with Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous noting: ‘Bright, ripe red fruit with decent length on the palate.’

£17.45 Matthew Clark

San Marzano, Anniversario 62, Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2011, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

'Luxurious, rich and lingering,' said an entranced Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, citing the 'velvety, gorgeous palate, with its long, luscious finish'. ‘Good acidity and complexity, with lots of red and black fruit, raisin notes, cassis and silky tannins,’ said Gustavo Medina of Rex Whistler Restaurant, with consultant Michael Harrison adding: ‘Dense, dark and inky, very deep, dark red fruits and very well-managed tannins.’ 'Serve with roast fillet of hare with Perigord truffles,' said Jones.

£20.09 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

San Marzano, Vindoro, Negroamaro Salento 2011, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Herbaceous nose with rosemary, thyme and lavender notes; florals and wet clay minerality on the palate with sweet black fruit. Full-bodied and nicely balanced,’ said Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place. ‘Warm, comforting aromas, glossy tannins and ripe acidity. A crowd pleaser,’ added Debbie Smith of 21212.

£17.04 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

D'Angelo, Aglianico del Vulture 2011, Basilicata, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Savoury aromas of bay leaf and garrigue herbs, with a horsey animal edge to the palate of plummy fruits, with a clean and juicy finish,’ said team leader Jade Koch, with Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous agreeing: ‘Very natural, earthy red fruit and farmyardy hints on the nose.’

£7.35 Eurowines

Canicattì, La Ferla, Nero d'Avola 2013, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Very fresh, good cherry fruit on the nose, with a sweetly fruited palate, but flavoursome and attractive at the price,’ commented team leader Richard Bampfield MW, with Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place agreeing: ‘Cassis, fresh fruit, good drinkability and balance.’

£5.93 Vinum

Zabù, Il Passo, Nerello Mascalese/Nero d'Avola 2014, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Complex, with a beautiful herbaceous quality, balanced with warm, vibrant fruit and prominent oak,’ said 21212’s Debbie Smith, with Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place adding: ‘Nice touch of earthiness, ripe blueberry fruit on the palate and good balance.’

£19.60 Liberty Wines

Argiolas, Isola dei Nuraghi, Turriga 2010, Sardinia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Shy but still delivering,’ began La Petite Maison’s Andrea Fasan, continuing: ‘Class and complexity with length and definition.’ ‘Big, spicy nose with smoke and cigar notes, a big chewy, huge wine with good spice and fruit character; decent balance,’ added team leader Jade Koch.

£33.12 Eurowines

Varvaglione, Papale Oro, Primitivo di Manduria 2012, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Ripe fruit on the palate, with spice and tarry notes, and good length,’ began consultant Michael Harrison, with Gustavo Medina of Rex Whistler Restaurant adding: ‘Elegant nose, packed with red and black fruits, cassis, with good texture.’ Good food matches include braised and grilled meats, stews and casseroles.

£16.20 Enotria&Coe

San Marzano, Il Pumo, Negroamaro Salento 2013, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Generous, pure fruit on the nose, with a linear, crisp, pure character on the palate and a precise finish,’ said La Petite Maison’s Andrea Fasan, with Caroline Brangé of 28°-50° Mayfair adding: ‘Like the nose, spicy, peppery, smoky liquorice and tar notes.’

£7.07 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

San Marzano, Il Pumo, Primitivo Salento 2013, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar found ‘blackberry and dark cherry fruit, with high tannins’, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW noted: ‘Syrupy redcurrants, cooked fruit flavours with vanilla notes and clean acidity coming through.’

£7.44 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Tasca, Tascante, Ghiaia Nera, Nerello Mascalese 2012, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Fresh fruit, red berries, berry compote and violet florals on the nose, with plenty of herbaceous character and firm tannins. An appetising style,’ said Gareth Ferreira of Launceston Place, with Debbie Smith of 21212 adding: ‘Stunning warm nose with beautiful spicy notes and rounded hedgerow fruits on the palate.’

£13.50 Berkmann Wine Cellars

A Mano, Imprint of Mark Shannon, Appassito, Primitivo 2012, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A little restrained on the nose but better intensity on the palate, with a touch of warmth; needs air time,’ said consultant Michael Harrison, with Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar adding: ‘A little young, but elegant, with cherry fruit and good balance. Fine on its own.’

£9.00 Liberty Wines

Tasca, Rosso del Conte 2010, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Notes of liquorice and eucalyptus on the nose, with interesting spice character on a big, yet refreshing fruit palate with good herbal support,’ noted team leader Jade Koch, with La Petite Maison’s Andrea Fasan adding: ‘Spicy, fruity nose, clean and complex youthful palate.’

£29.93 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Tasca, Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Sicily, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Attractive style, with dried fruits and tar notes on the nose, a rich mid-palate, finishing dry, long and persistent,’ said team leader Richard Bampfield MW, concluding: ‘Very good wine, but needs careful matching.’ ‘Very expressive, balanced fruit with a hint of aniseed,’ added 21212’s Debbie Smith.

£23.94 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Leone de Castris, Salice Salentino Rosso Riserva 2011, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Bright and grassy with fresh red berries,’ began Charles Pashby-Taylor of Dabbous, with an impressed Andrea Fasan of La Petite Maison adding: ‘Good modern style, with pure and spicy character on a clean, long, precise palate.’

£10.22 Eurowines

Santadi, Terre Brune, Carignano de Sulcis Superiore 2010, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Toasted oak, with oxidative oloroso notes,’ began impressed team leader Richard Bampfield MW, continuing: ‘Bright cherry fruit nose, beautifully integrated oak, with an intensely fruity, compelling palate. Very, very good, fragrant and scented.’

£30.54 Enotria&Coe

Boutinot, Adria Vini, Conviviale, Primitivo 2013, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘A fresh, tannic fruit bomb with grippy tannins,’ as Sandro Lyhs of Oxo Tower Bar put it succinctly, with team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW expanding: ‘Meaty, chewy, rustic, with good, punchy acid. Needs hearty food, but full value.’

£5.50 Boutinot

Cantina Mesa, Buio, Carignano de Sulcis 2013, Sardinia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Warm, rich palate, ripe with redcurrants and a hint of spice,’ began Debbie Smith of 21212, concluding: ‘Would be great with seared tuna.’ ‘Strawberry nose, classy palate with everything in place,’ added team leader Richard Bampfield MW.

£10.95 Liberty Wines

San Marzano, Falò, Negroamaro Salento 2013, Puglia , Italy

Commended medal winner

Vigneti del Salento, I Muri, Negroamaro 2013, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£7.10 Liberty Wines

Vigneti del Vulture, Piano del Cerro, Aglianico del Vulture Riserva 2010, Basilicata , Italy

Commended medal winner

£15.10 Liberty Wines

Candido, Cappello di Prete, Rosso del Salento 2009, Puglia , Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.48 Enotria&Coe

Vallone, Vereto, Salice Salentino Riserva 2009, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

Plantamura, Black Label, Gioia del Colle, Organic Primitivo 2012, Puglia , Italy

Commended medal winner

San Marzano, Falò, Primitivo di Manduria 2013, Puglia , Italy

Commended medal winner

 

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