You can always find a fairly palatable bottle of wine for $10 or less, said Eric Asimov in The New York Times. “But for just a few dollars more, a world opens wide.” The price range between $10 and $20 is “the sweet spot for great wine values,” and nowhere more so than in Italian reds and whites. From the Alpine hillsides to the Mediterranean, the country offers an abundance of wines that will challenge and satisfy “the adventurous palate.” Here are some of the best Italian treasures for under $20.
G.D. Vajra Moscato d’Asti 2007 ($19) A delightfully fragrant white sparkling dessert wine. “Exceptionally delicious.”
Cleto Chiarli Lambrusco “Enrico Cialdini” ($18) Genuine Lambruscos are the everyday wine of the Emilia-Romagna region. Admittedly, some can be sweet. But “more typical is a dry, fresh, and frothy red.” This bone-dry wine goes exceptionally well with ham.
Valle dell’Acate 2005 Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico ($16) A lively Sicilian wine. Some versions of Cerasuolo di Vittoria cost as much as $40, but I’m a “huge fan” of this “absolutely delicious” less-expensive red wine.
Grasparossa di Castelvetro Secco NV Coffele Soave Classico 2006 ($16) Soaves have long been virtually synonymous with banal Italian whites. “That’s so 1970s!” This dry, tangy Soave Classico is “almost reminiscent of Chablis.”
Vaona Valpolicella Classico 2007 ($15) Today’s Valpolicellas “are a far cry from the wishy-washy wines of yore.” This exceptional red offers “an intensity that can surprise.”
Oddero Barbera d’Alba 2006 ($14) From the Piedmont region, a “pleasingly bitter” red with aromas of cherries and a touch of chocolate.