Home Winners > Winners 2018 > ITALY: South Reds

Winner Details

Italy: South - Red

2018 Gold 2       Silver 13              Bronze 3             Commended 12
2017 Gold 5       Silver 10              Bronze 2              Commended 11


According to our tasters, these wines were rustic or authentic, well-priced or too expensive, comforting or baked, simultaneously sought out and avoided by diners, and either great or totally unsuitable for food. It’s hard to think of a category that aroused more divided (and mutually contradictory) opinions!

What’s undeniably true, on this evidence, is that in the £10-£12 area there’s a lot of good wine, particularly if you like your bottles with plenty of chunky fruit and confident tannins. They’re the vinous equivalent of a slap on the back from a cheerful Neapolitan pizzeria owner: sincere, warm and lacking in artifice.

FROM THE TASTING TEAMS

‘This was one of the standout line-ups for me, with good quality across the board. These have gained a lot of popularity over the last few years, especially for gastropubs. They’re really food friendly, with richness, spiciness and fruit.’ Piers Gibson-Birch, Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa

‘Some of the wines here were really over-extracted and heavily oaked, which is very much the style in the region, but I don’t think they’re necessarily good food wines, or wines that have any place in most restaurants.’ Andres Ituarte, Coq d’Argent

‘I’m a big fan of Puglia – I like the slight sweetness and jamminess and oak. All that is typical from the region, and I found well-made examples here. When a customer asks for a full-bodied wine with a sweet finish I bring something like these.’ Jurijs Nemkovs, Hakkasan Mayfair

‘They were all quite similar, and had a distinctive style, with ripe fruit and some sweetness, but that’s not something that people gravitate towards.’ Mikolaj Harmider, Adam’s Restaurant

‘There was a lot of oak here and, in spite of it being a warm region, there was a lot of greenness to the fruit.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

Award winners

Found 30 wines

Italy: South – Red

I Pàstini, Versosud, Susumaniello, Valle d'Itria 2014, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

‘Class, sophistication and elegance’, in the words of Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason, were just the characteristics to elevate this to Gold, with Mason praising it for being ‘food orientated and great value’. ‘Musky forest fruits’ led, according to team leader Nigel Lister, to ‘coffee notes on the palate, with some elegant dark chocolate, too’, while Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club was impressed by ‘plum and sweet cinnamon, with a fresh, elegant earthiness on the palate, and some gentle, fresh raspberry fruit’.

£11.60 Wine Traders

Leone de Castris, 50° Vendemmia, Salice Salentino Riserva 2015, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

‘A gentle giant,’ began Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason in his praise of this Gold medallist, finding ‘lots of ripe tannin and structure, but with ripe fruit and liquorice, and a savoury element too’, while freelance sommelier Julio Iglesias enjoyed notes of ‘tobacco, vanilla and some minerality’, finding the combination to be ‘balanced and structured’. A perfect match for pork ribs with a sweet glaze, added team leader Laurent Richet MS.

£11.70 Eurowines

Cantine del Notaio, L'Atto, Aglianico 2015, Basilicata, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A big wine with big, ripe tannins and some vibrant acidity, not to mention some complex black fruit, chocolate and spice notes,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW, while Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn found it to be ‘perfumed and floral, with nice balance, and some minerality too’.

£10.14 Berkmann Wine Cellars

Leone de Castris, Villa Santera, Primitivo di Manduria 2016, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

For team leader Annette Scarfe MW, this opened with ‘an attractive nose, with mixed fruit compote and some spice’, which led to ‘a fresh mid-palate that’s concentrated and spicy, and not cloying’. Erik Simonics of La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons, meanwhile, found it ‘rich and full, with oak and sweet spice’.

£11.80 Eurowines

Fattoria San Francesco, Duca dell'Argillone, Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva 2013, Calabria, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A light, soft and gentle wine – fresh and fun, with ripe red fruit,’ described Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason, while Piers Gibson-Birch of Wernher Restaurant at Luton Hoo Hotel Golf & Spa found it ‘light yet intense, a fresh, sour red fruit character’.

£14.15 Laytons

A Mano, Primo Mano, Primitivo 2015, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Elegance from southern Italy,’ began Wild Wine Club’s Debbie Warner, describing a wine with ‘perfumed violets on the nose, and sour cherries, damsons and sloes on the palate, all leading to a mouth-puckering finish that’s crying out for food’.

£16.50 Liberty Wines

San Marzano, Talò, Malvasia Nera, Salento 2016, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Sweet black fruit, as well as some smoke,’ began Lazaros Engonopoulos of Coq d’Argent, while for Andre Luis Martins of Cavalry & Guards Club this had ‘jammy plum aromas with a light herbal note, leading to some sweet spice and gentle cherry notes’ that culminated in ‘a complex finish’.

£9.84 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

San Marzano, Collezione Cinquanta, Rosso d'Italia NV, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

For team leader Annette Scarfe MW this had ‘ripe, rich and generous fruit, with well-balanced use of oak’, making it ‘a good food wine, with soft tannins’. Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine found it ‘broody and rambunctious, with rich, big fruit’.

£16.80 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

San Marzano, Sessantanni, Primitivo di Manduria 2015, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

This Puglian red had, according to Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine, ‘great fresh-fruit intensity and some good complexity’, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW described ‘a warm, spicy nose, with clean, vibrant fruit and dark chocolate notes, and soft, ripe tannins’.

£20.43 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Villa Matilde, Stregamora, Piedirosso, Roccamonfina 2016, Campania, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A complex, balanced wine,’ began Mikolaj Harmider of Adam’s Restaurant, who spoke of ‘dark berry fruit and a long finish’, while Jurijs Nemkovs of Hakkasan Mayfair found it to have ‘a complex nose and palate, with a generous structure’.

£13.20 Eurowines

Botromagno, Primitivo della Puglia 2016, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

Team leader Simon Woods found this ‘rounded, with generous berry and prune notes’, while Lazaros Engonopoulos of Coq d’Argent described ‘biscuit notes, as well as blackberries and some liquorice’, which contributed towards this wine’s ‘elegance and balance’.

£10.96 Enotria&Coe

Le Vigne di Sammarco, Bisso, Salice Salentino Riserva 2015, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A high-intensity wine, with smoky dark fruit,’ said team leader Lionel Periner, while Core by Clare Smyth’s Timothy Connor appreciated its ‘rich red and black fruit, with good acidity and ripe tannins’, and Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason described ‘peppery spice aromas’.

£12.14 Alivini

Cesari, Sollione, Primitivo 2016, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A ripe and juicy wine, with red fruit and soft tannins, as well as some fresh acidity, and good spice on the finish. Good value for money, too,’ said team leader Annette Scarfe MW. Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn agreed: ‘Good cherry-fruit flavours and nice acidity – as well as a great price.’

£5.30 Fuller's

Farnese, Fantini, Edizione 17, Cinque Autoctoni 2015, Vino da Tavola, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A complex wine,’ began Richard Cavagin-Carey of The Harwood Arms, describing ‘coffee, dried plum, prune and menthol’ aromas, leading to ‘sweet berry fruit with some wood smoke’ on the palate, while Timothy Connor of Core by Clare Smyth called it ‘dark, rich and intense’ and suggested this was ‘one for food’.

£19.94 Liberty Wines

Vigneti del Salento, Zolla, Primitivo di Manduria 2016, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘An intense aroma of dried figs and raisins, with some sweet spice on the palate balanced by ripe red fruits and blackcurrants, all elevated by some acidity,’ said Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine. ‘Spicy with some complexity,’ thought team leader Annette Scarfe MW, also finding ‘ripe fruit and soft tannins’.

£12.55 Liberty Wines

A Mano, Susumaniello 2016, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

This had upfront ‘red fruit and kirsch’ aromas, according to team leader Lionel Periner, with a ‘full, well-balanced palate’, while Cheese at Leadenhall’s Robert Mason described a wine that was ‘savoury and resinous, with good concentration and smooth ripe tannins’, making it a food-friendly wine, he explained.

£10.40 Liberty Wines

San Marzano, Talò, Primitivo di Manduria 2016, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘A rich and full-bodied wine,’ began Erik Simonics of La Dame de Pic at Four Seasons, going on to describe ‘ripe, dark fruits complemented by some sweet spice and leading to a long finish’, while team leader Annette Scarfe MW identified some ‘generous use of oak’.

£11.24 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Masseria Borgo dei Trulli, Lucale, Primitivo, Salento 2016, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Raisins and plums on the nose, leading to some sweet spice, like cinnamon and nutmeg,’ said Hakkasan Mayfair’s Jurijs Nemkovs, while Mikolaj Harmider of Adam’s Restaurant found ‘cloves and gingerbread, with some ripe tannins on the long finish’.

£7.84 Bibendum

Tenuta Iuzzolini, Maradea, Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore Riserva 2013, Calabria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£27.60 Mondial Wine

A Mano, Imprint, Appassito Primitivo 2016, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.40 Liberty Wines

San Marzano, Il Pumo, Salice Salentino 2017, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

Galardi, Terra di Lavoro, Roccamonfina 2012, Campania, Italy

Commended medal winner

£39.50 Eurowines

San Marzano, Vindoro, Negroamaro, Salento 2015, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

Bisceglia, Terra di Vulcano, Syrah 2015, Basilicata, Italy

Commended medal winner

£7.64 Bibendum

Bisceglia, Gudarrà, Aglianico del Vulture 2016, Basilicata, Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.22 Bibendum

Masseria Li Veli, Askos, Susumaniello, Salento 2016, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.06 Bibendum

Villa Matilde, Falerno del Massico, Rosso 2012, Campania, Italy

Commended medal winner

£14.60 Eurowines

Statti, Gaglioppo 2016, Calabria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£11.20 Eurowines

Scala, Retro Edition, Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore 2014, Calabria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£10.67 Bibendum

Vinosìa, Neromora, Aglianico, Irpinia 2015, Campania, Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.97 Alivini

 

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