Best Wines of the Year – Italian Whites

December 24, 2010 at 11:50 am 6 comments

Marisa Cuomo and her husband/winemaker Andrea Ferraioli (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Without further ado, here is a partial list of my choices as the best Italian whites wines of the year. A full list (along with the best reds of the year and a list of the best producers) can be found in the next issue of my Guide to Italian Wines. For subscription information, click here.

2008 CANTINA TRAMIN STOAN

This cooperative is one of Alto Adige’s finest producers, with excellent quality from the most simple whites to the most full-bodied bottlings. Stoan, named for the local stony soil, is a marvelous blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Sauvignon (Blanc) and Gewurztraminer that displays gorgeous aromatics, rich concentration and vibrant acidity along with great structure and backbone. This was my favorite white wine of the year (from anywhere, not just Italy) and it is a perfect partner for a variety of foods, especially cracked crab.

2008 LIVIO FELLUGA TERRE ALTE

It begins to sound like a broken record, but each year this blend of  Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon from this esteemed Friulian producer is among the finest Italian whites. The 2008 is not as full-bodied as in some vintages (2007, e.g.), but it more than makes up for that with its gorgeous perfumes of chamomile, pear, almond and rose petals. This should offer drinking enjoyment for 7-10 years and perhaps longer.

2009 EDI KEBER COLLIO BIANCO

This blend of Friulano, Malvasia and Ribolla Gialla has in just a few short years, become one of the benchmark whites of Friuli. This is not as powerful as the Felluga wine above, but it offers as much complexity and varietal character. The vibrant acidity gives this wine backbone and structure – enjoy over the next 5-7 years, especially with shellfish.

2009 ZUANI COLLIO BIANCO “VIGNE”

Here is another gorgeous Collio blend, this comprising 25% each of Friulano, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon. The aromas jump out of the glass and the wine is all about pleasure and finesse. Try this over the next 3-5 years with a wide ranges of dishes, from risotto to shellfish.

2008 BASTIANICH VESPA BIANCO

This blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon and Picolit has been a favorite for years, not only for its complexity, but also its longevity, as ten-year old bottlings shine. The 2008 is not as rich as some vintages, but it is still quite lush and features gorgeous aromatics and vibrant acidity, which should preserve the wonderful freshness of this wine for many years.

2009 COLLI DI LAPIO FIANO DI AVELLINO

There’s really no mystery as to why this wine is among the finest in Campania every year; it’s a simple matter of excellent terroir combined with careful farming and winemaking. Medium-full, this has a big finish with lively acidity and a big streak of minerality. Look for this 2009 to drink well for at least 3-5 years, perhaps longer.

2009 MARISA CUOMO FIORDUVA

This Amalfi Coast white has become legendary over the past decade. A blend of the local varieties Ripoli, Fenile and Ginestra, this is a more powerful white than the typical offering from Campania. Fermented and aged in small oak barrels, the wine has pronounced aromatics of fruit (grapefruit, mango) and herb (fennel, chamomile) and a generous mid-palate with a beautifully structured finish. This should drink welll for 5-7 years and is big enough for veal or poultry, though I love it with lobster or swordfish.

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Best Values of the Year – Italian Reds Best Italian Reds of the Year

6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. karen  |  December 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Hey Tom. I totally agree with your choice of Marisa Cuomo. Their Fiorduva is definitely a white that ages well. I had the opportunity to participate in a vertical tasting of Fiorduva in Sorrento at the beginning of December with Andrea Ferraioli. The 2000-2005 vintages. Amazing.

    Reply
    • 2. tom hyland  |  December 29, 2010 at 6:53 pm

      Hi Karen:

      It is an amazing wine, isn’t it? And from such wonderful people!

      I’m jealous that you were able to experience a vertical tasting with Andrea.

      Buone feste!

      Reply
  • 3. Kyle  |  January 3, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Hi Tom,

    I like it but I’m not seeing Sicily. Can’t have a list of great Italian whites without something from the sun-baked flatlands around Marsala.

    Auguri!

    Kyle

    Reply
    • 4. tom hyland  |  January 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      I promise I’ll taste more examples when I’m there in March! I do think the 2009 Planeta Cometa is one of the year’s best, by the way.

      Reply
  • 5. charlesscicolone  |  January 5, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Ciao Tom- The 2009 Planeta Cometa is a great wine- it is now also a great food wine.

    Reply
    • 6. tom hyland  |  January 5, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      Charles:

      Thanks for the comment. I recall your blog from last year when you mentioned this wine. We are in total agreement on this, especially it now being a great food wine, since they no longer age it in small oak. It’s much more vibrant and alive.

      Reply

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