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Home Winners > Winners 2019 > ITALY: South - Red

Winner Details

Italy: South - Red

2019 GOLD: 7      SILVER: 7      BRONZE: 9      COMMENDED: 9
2018 GOLD: 2      SILVER: 13    BRONZE: 3      COMMENDED: 12

This is the classic Forrest-Gump-box-of-chocolates flight. You just never know what you’re going to get.

Some tasters found spiciness and verve, others found jam. Some found signs of improvement, others felt that the heel and sole of Italy were still stuck somewhere around the millennium.

Since the reactions from the teams at the second round of tasting were significantly more positive than those in the early stages of the competition, it suggests that once the badly made or unbalanced wines have been weeded out, there’s some pretty good stuff being made down here. You just have to work hard to find it.

We put together a really strong section of our wine list here, with wines at all the key price points from £8 to £18 and one what-the-hell show-off wine at the hand-sell end of things.


‘They either make it right, or they don’t. There were a lot of faults here. But when they were well made they were very enjoyable: unique, with very elegant fruit character.’ Savvas Symeonidis, Gymkhana Restaurant

‘Italy should give you generosity of Mediterranean sunshine, and good value, and some distinctive, well-known varieties, but I thought these were baked and sweet. Southern Italy should be an easy sell, but too many of these didn’t have the balance between freshness and ripe fruit.’ Sarah Jane Evans MW, team leader

‘I was expecting rounded, richer wines, but some of these were quite harsh, and in terms of value the prices were all over the shop. Somewhere like Languedoc would be a better bet.’ Harry Ballmann, Wiltons

‘I found what I was expecting – powerful, fruity wines with some tannins. Some were good value for money, and most were practical and approachable in terms of price. If it was up to me I’d add some to the list.’ Roberto Sanchez, Sexy Fish

‘There are some good cooperatives in the south, and they’re becoming more individual, and better for wine lists. These were beginning to get up to some serious site-specific wines.’ Angela Reddin, team leader

‘When we think of southern Italian reds we think of inexpensive wines and simple country pleasures, like eating salami with your feet in the grass. That’s at £6 or £7 a bottle. When it gets to £15 or £20, it’s just strangling the life out of them.’ Nigel Lister, team leader

‘There were a lot of people here aiming at a more serious style, and it feels like old-style winemaking, like something people were doing 10 or 15 years ago. No one has found ways to bring some elegance to southern Italy.’ Hamish Anderson, team leader 

Award winners

Found 32 wines

Italy: South – Red

Agricole Vallone, Vallone Susumaniello 2016, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

‘Red cherries and berries well balanced by some spicy, peppery notes,’ said Roberto Sanchez of Sexy Fish on encountering this Gold Lister, while Ieva Markaityte of Portuguese Concepts praised its ‘old-school style, with some black olives and black bread crust notes, and some good acidity and freshness, too’. ‘A fillet of beef with Stilton would complement this well, with its dark cherry and rich chocolate notes,’ thought Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse.

£8.70 Boutinot

Vinosia, Sesto a Quinconce, Aglianico 2011, Campania, Italy

Gold medal winner

This well-deserved Gold winner was showing some ‘black fruit and sweet spices, as well as some black pepper and a savoury, meaty note, with fine-grained tannins and well-integrated alcohol’, according to Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant. ‘A complex nose of plum and vanilla, with a hint of caramel, leading to raisin fruit with fresh cherries on the palate, bringing some necessary acidity,’ continued Joseph Lunn of Suave Wine, adding that ‘hints of white truffle and crème brûlée make this a great wine’.

£43.78 Alivini

Amastuola, Primitivo 2016, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

‘Elegance,’ summarised Sue Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn as judges unanimously awarded Gold, further describing it as ‘dry and lean, with good fruit breaking through, and leading to a pleasant finish’. Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants thought it ‘floral and fresh, with some chalky tannins’, while team leader Carlos Ferreira found interesting notes of ‘olives, pine and eucalyptus, as well as some rosemary, all leading to a long, fresh finish with black fruits and good acidity’.

£13.05 Amathus

Francesco Candido, Salice, Salentino Riserva 2015, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

For team leader Angela Reddin, this worthy Gold winner opened with some serious ‘humidor aromas, as well as some crushed red bramble fruits, leading to a good, spicy palate with some good fruit and some tertiary leathery characteristics, too’. Woodhead 17’s James Fryer added praise for its ‘tart palate, with black plum and kirsch notes, as well as some mouthwatering acidity’, while team leader Carlos Ferreira further identified some ‘red roses, cherries and pine, with a fresh finish’.

£9.21 Enotria&Coe

Regio Cantina, Donpà, Aglianico del Vulture 2014, Basilicata, Italy

Gold medal winner

Team leader Tom Forrest was taken with this Gold winner’s ‘perfumed, violet aromas, as well as cherries and blueberry notes’, which led to a palate with ‘soft red fruit, some cinnamon spice and a nice meatiness’. Fellow team leader Laurent Richet MS found it to be ‘scented with spices and liquorice, as well as some lavender and thyme, leading to prunes and dates on the palate, with elderberry and cassis, in addition to some grippy tannins’.

£11.36 Matthew Clark

Amastuola, Lamarossa, Primitivo 2015, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

This Puglian Gold medallist earned praise from team leader Tom Forrest for its ‘leafy tobacco notes and black fruit’, while The Harrow at Little Bedwyn’s Sue Jones appreciated its ‘bright, clean flavours, including fruits of the forest, with richness and smoothness’, further describing ‘plenty of vigour and minerality on the finish’. Savvas Symeonidis of Gymkhana Restaurant found it to be ‘savoury on the nose, with leather notes, as well as red and black fruit, and sweet spices, too’.


Antica Masseria Jorche, Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2014, Puglia, Italy

Gold medal winner

Clearly a Gold winner for its ‘intense perfume of dark cherry, vanilla and liquorice, leading to a rich, full-bodied palate with good concentration, and well-integrated alcohol’, thought Matteo Cali of Savoy Grill, while team leader Sarah Jane Evans MW appreciated its ‘dense, ripe fruit balanced by sawdusty oak, and a complex, fleshy finish’. Woodhead 17’s James Fryer went on to describe additional interesting notes such as ‘rhubarb crumble and cola, with some earthiness, too’.

£17.95 Alivini

Francesco Candido, Cappello di Prete, Salento 2015, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Stylish, with warm black cherry notes, as well as confiture de prunes, and some hints of spices too,’ said Texture’s Alan Bednarski, while Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group appreciated its ‘delicate dried rose and violet, along with lovely, jammy dark fruits emerging – a warm and full-bodied wine’.

£10.51 Enotria&Coe

Orion Wines, Masseria Borgo dei Trulli, Primitivo 2017, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

This had, for team leader Tom Forrest, ‘warm aromas of ripe cherry and berry fruits, leading to more ripe fruit on the palate, with chalky tannins and fresh acidity’. Gymkhana Restaurant’s Savvas Symeonidis appreciated its ‘nice perfume, with red berry fruit and sweet spices, with good concentration’.

£8.00 Bibendum

Orion Wines, Masseria Borgo dei Trulli, Salice Salentino 2016, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘A characterful glass of wine,’ began team leader Hamish Anderson, going on to describe ‘dark, rich bramble fruit, like blackberry jam, leading to black plum, all with some grip underneath, as well as some earthiness’.

£8.00 Bibendum

Feudi Salentini, Gocce, Primitivo del Manduria 2015, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

For Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants, this had ‘juicy black cherries, blackberries, chocolate and tobacco notes’, adding that it had ‘good structure, and a finish that is fresh, long and elegant’. Team leader Tom Forrest, meanwhile, appreciated its ‘dry, mineral palate, with some spicy, peppery notes too’.

£16.06 Matthew Clark

Librandi, Cirò, Rosso 2017, Calabria, Italy

Silver medal winner

Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group spoke of ‘cocoa notes, with some violet too, leading to a palate that’s elegant and warm, with blackberry, liquorice, leather and pepper’, while Suave Wine’s Joseph Lunn liked its ‘easy-drinking style, with good acidity, a touch of herbaceousness, and redcurrant notes’.

£7.75 Enotria&Coe

Leone de Castris, Villa Santera, Primitivo di Manduria 2017, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

Alan Bednarski of Texture found ‘a warm nose of red and black cherries with a charming hint of rose marmalade, followed by some herbal notes, like thyme and mint’, while Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group noted ‘leathery tobacco aromas, along with clove, bay leaves and cedar box on the palate – a great wine, with sweet spice coming from the oak’.

£11.95 Eurowines

San Marzano, Talò, Primitivo di Manduria 2017, Puglia, Italy

Silver medal winner

‘Plums, kirsch and smoky oak’ characterised the nose here for team leader Angela Reddin, who thought the palate was ‘powerful, with weight of fruit, and edgy tension of acidity on the crunchy finish’. Sexy Fish’s Roberto Sanchez, meanwhile, found it ‘rich, but with soft tannins well balanced by the acidity’.

£11.24 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

Fattoria San Francesco, Cirò Rosso Classico 2017, Calabria, Italy

Bronze medal winner

This opened with ‘raspberry, tea and petals on the nose, leading to a light, smoky palate with good grip’, according to team leader Jade Koch, who thought it ‘a good option for barbecued lamb chops’. ‘Well-integrated tannins, with red and black fruit and a dry cherry finish,’ added Giuseppe Longobardi of The Cross Kenilworth, Simpsons & Edgbaston.

£8.95 Laytons

Antonio Caggiano, Taurasi, Vigna Macchia dei Goti 2014, Campania, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Summer berries and fleshy stone fruits, as well as vanilla and spicy oak’ led, according to team leader Angela Reddin, to ‘a really muscular grip, but with plenty of backbone and weight of fruit’.

£28.35 Enotria&Coe

Bisceglia, Gudarrà, Aglianico del Vulture 2014, Basilicata/Campania, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Boysenberries and blackberries are joined by some hummus, spice and tobacco leaf, leading to a well-structured palate with balance, poise and precision,’ said team leader Angela Reddin.

£15.47 Bibendum

Varvaglione, Papale Oro, Primitivo di Manduria 2015, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Sweet fruit and spices, with plum, chocolate and cinnamon, and some juicy tannins,’ described Raphael Thierry of Street XO, which all led Michael Moore of The London Cookhouse to suggest it as a match for ‘pheasant or pigeon’.

£18.63 Enotria&Coe

Orion Wines, Masseria Borgo dei Trulli, Negroamaro 2017, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘A warm and juicy wine, with a good mix of black and red fruits, and a hint of herbs and chocolate on the palate,’ began Texture’s Alan Bednarski, while Chiara Sieni of Bottles Group found ‘an elegant bouquet of flowers and wild berries, with smokiness and tobacco leaves too, and oak and fruit both integrated on the palate’.

£8.00 Bibendum

Feudi Salentini, 125 Primitivo del Salento 2016, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Lots of cassis, some black fruit and a perfumed note too,’ began Julien Sahut of Sexy Fish, who found the palate to be ‘juicy and fresh, with good acidity, plum and black cherry fruit, and a hint of spice on the finish’.

£8.81 Matthew Clark

Feudi di San Gregorio, Serpico, Irpinia Aglianico, 2013, Campania, Italy

Bronze medal winner

‘Balanced, with leather and dried fruit notes,’ began team leader Tom Forrest, going on to describe a palate reminiscent of ‘cherry liqueur, with some freshness and minerality, and good balance’. Sunaina Sethi of JKS Restaurants found ‘umami on the palate, like oyster sauce, with baked fruits too, and well-integrated oak’.

£37.15 Hallgarten & Novum Wines

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

Bronze medal winner

‘Red and dark fruits, with some ripe plum, along with some sweet spice and chocolate flavours’ led Raphael Thierry of Street XO to describe this as a ‘food wine, with juicy, tannic structure and a long, refreshing finish’.

£12.39 Alivini

Masseria Li Veli, Askos, Susumanielo, Salento 2017, Puglia, Italy

Bronze medal winner

This had ‘fresh raspberry notes, together with some gentle mint’, according to team leader Andre Luis Martins, who further described ‘an intense palate, with more ripe, sweet raspberry and chalky tannins’.

£14.24 Bibendum

Tenuta Iuzzolini, Cirò, Rosso Classico 2017, Calabria, Italy

Commended medal winner

£13.07 Mondial Wine

Amastuola, Centosassi, Primitivo 2015, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£27.30 Amathus

Agricole Vallone, Vigneto Giardinelli Salice Salentino 2015, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£7.80 Boutinot

San Marzano, Il Pumo, Salice Salentino 2016, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

Vinicola Tombacco, Azzurra, Rosso 2017, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

Orion Wines, Masseria Borgo dei Trulli, Lucale Primitivo 2016, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£8.57 Bibendum

Leone de Castris, Maiana Rosso, Salice Salentino 2017, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.70 Eurowines

Leone de Castris, Donna Lisa Rosso, Salice Salentino Riserva 2015, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£22.65 Eurowines

Varvaglione, 12 e Mezzo, Negroamaro del Salento 2016, Puglia, Italy

Commended medal winner

£9.29 Enotria&Coe


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