The Perfect $5,000 Italian Wine Cellar

In a previous posting I formulated a proposed personal wine cellar that consists entirely of Italian wines and costs approximately $1,000 at current retail prices. Now, I’m going to up the ante and look at what one can buy in the way of Italian wines for $5,000.

But it’s not just a matter of going out and buying wine until you’ve reached the $5,000 limit. Assuming you have the funds, that’s easy to do. But if you want to stock your cellar with really interesting wines that you can drink everyday with dinner as well as special occasion wines that you can serve with pride to dinner guests, all without breaking the bank, then you need to give some careful thought to the process of stocking your wine cellar.

The wines were selected on the basis of both quality and value. They are wines that exhibit exceptional value at all price points and qualify as wines with high quality-to-price ratios. For example, the personal wine cellar list includes some little-known and relatively inexpensive gems such as Capezzana’s “Villa di Capezzana”, Coppo’s “L’Avvocata” Barbera d’Asti and Franco Toros’ Collio Pinot Bianco, among others, all of which retail for less than $28 a bottle. With Italian wines, you don’t have to be a big spender in order to drink well.Italian wine cellar

While many of the wines selected are age-worthy in that they will improve still further with bottle aging, this is not a cellar for the persevering collector who wants to lay away wines for the long-term. Rather, these are wines to accompany dinner over the course of the year and special-occasion wines for sharing with friends.

The $5,000 Italian wine cellar list is varied in terms of style and region. Italy has an extremely diverse wine culture with numerous native grape varieties and grapes grown over the length and width of Italy. A well-appointed Italian wine cellar should reflect that diversity.

Reflecting this diversity, the proposed wine cellar includes some crisp, European-style white wines from Italy’s cool-climate northern Alto Adige and Friuli regions as well as some more textured whites from central and southern Italy. It also includes some extraordinary but not well-known reds from Campania, Puglia and Sicily as well as some celebrated reds with bold-face names from the Piedmont, Tuscany and Veneto regions.

In this regard, the regional distribution of wines in the proposed personal wine cellar list reflects the regional distribution of wines in Gambero Rosso’s annual Guide to Italian Wines (see, for example, Gambero Rosso's Tre Bicchieri awards for 2013). Approximately two-thirds of the wines on the wine cellar list come from four regions – the Piedmont, Tuscany, Friuli and the Veneto. The rest are widely scattered throughout Italy’s diverse wine scene, from the alpine Alto Adige region in the northeastern corner of Italy to Puglia and Sicily in the Mediterranean south.

Approximately 68 percent of the wines are red, 21 percent white and the remaining 11 percent fall in the “other” category – i.e., sparkling, sweet, etc.

Overall, there are 152 separate wines in the proposed personal wine cellar. Since you may want a second bottle of a wine that you tried and really enjoyed and/or you may need more than one bottle of a special wine to serve to guests, the wine cellar list includes multiple bottles of some wines.

For example, Italian sparkling wines are perfect for informal, casual gatherings, especially during the summer, so the proposed wine cellar includes several bottles of Prosecco. It also includes several bottles of Bellavista’s elegant Franciacorta Cuvee Brut for the holidays or other occasions where an elegant bubbly would be in order.

The wines selected for the $5,000 Italian wine cellar are presented in the following table where they are sorted alphabetically by region.

This selection of wines with it’s regional diversity, high quality-to-price ratios, wide appeal and overall spirit it denotes comes closest to my notion of the perfect $5,000 Italian wine cellar.

Salute!

    The $5,000 Italian Wine Cellar - by Region
Producer
Wine
Year
Price
# Bottles
Total Cost
Region
Type
Fattoria Valentina Montepulciano d'Abruzzo "Spelt"
2004
$25
2
$50
Abruzzo
Red
Masciarelli Montepulciano d'Abruzzo "Marina Cvetic"
2004
$35
2
$70
Abruzzo
Red
Valle Reale Montepulciano d'Abruzzo "Vigne Nuove"
2007
$12
3
$36
Abruzzo
Red
Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco
2007
$15
3
$45
Alto Adige
White
Caldaro Muller-Thurgau
2008
$15
2
$30
Alto Adige
White
Cantina Terlano Alto Adige Terlano Pinot Bianco Vorberg Riserva
2005
$24
3
$72
Alto Adige
White
Kupelwieser Riesling
2007
$17
2
$34
Alto Adige
White
Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture
2003
$16
3
$48
Basilicata
Red
Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico
2000
$60
2
$120
Campania
Red
Imparato Montevetrano
2000
$110
1
$110
Campania
Red
Mastroberardino Fiano di Avellino
2007
$22
1
$22
Campania
White
Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo "Nova Serra"
2007
$22
3
$66
Campania
White
Mastroberardino Taurasi "Radici"
2004
$60
1
$60
Campania
Red
Franco Toros Collio Pinot Bianco
2006
$16
3
$48
Friuli
White
Jermann Pinot Nero "Red Angel in the Moonlight"
2005
$25
1
$25
Friuli
Red
Livio Felluga Tocai Friulano
2008
$30
3
$90
Friuli
White
Marco Felluga Collio "Molamatta"
2007
$22
2
$44
Friuli
White
Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvee Brut 
NV
$40
4
$160
Lombardy
Sparkling
Ronca del Picchio Sforzato di Valtellina
2002
$54
2
$108
Lombardy
Red
Braida Brachetto d'Acqui
2007
$22
1
$22
Piedmont
Sparkling/Sweet
Clerico Langhe Rosso "Arte"
2005
$40
1
$40
Piedmont
Red
Coppo Barbera d'Asti "L'Avvocata"
2004
$20
2
$40
Piedmont
Red
Einaudi Dolcetto "Vigna Tecc"
2007
$25
2
$50
Piedmont
Red
Einaudi Barolo "Cannubi"
2004
$90
2
$180
Piedmont
Red
La Giustiniana Gavi
2007
$17
1
$17
Piedmont
White
Luciano Sandrone Barbera d'Alba
2006
$36
2
$72
Piedmont
Red
Marcarini Moscato d'Asti
2007
$19
6
$114
Piedmont
Sparkling/Sweet
Marcarini Barolo Brunate
2001
$54
2
$108
Piedmont
Red
Moccagatta Barbaresco "Bric Balin"
1998
$45
2
$90
Piedmont
Red
Paolo Marolo Grappa "Chamomile"
NV
$35
1
$35
Piedmont
Grappa
Pasquero-Elia (Paitin) Barbaresco "Vecchie Vigne Paitin"
2000
$70
2
$140
Piedmont
Red
Pecchenino Dolcetto di Dogliani "Siri d'Jermu"
2005
$26
2
$52
Piedmont
Red
Travaglini Gattinara
2003
$27
2
$54
Piedmont
Red
Duca Carlo Guarini Primitivo Salento "Vigne Vecchie"
2004
$19
4
$76
Puglia
Red
Feudi di San Gregorio (Ognissole) Primitivo di Manduria 
2007
$16
2
$32
Puglia
Red
Taurino Notarpanaro
1999
$20
4
$80
Puglia
Red
Taurino Patriglione
1999
$55
1
$55
Puglia
Red
Argiolas  Vermentino "Costamolino"
2008
$12
3
$36
Sardinia
White
Santadi Carignano del Sulcis Superiore "Terre Brune"
2001
$58
2
$116
Sardinia
Red
Morgante Nero d'Avola
2006
$18
4
$72
Sicily
Red
Tasca d'Almerita (Regaleali) Conte di Sclafani "Rosso del Conte"
2004
$40
2
$80
Sicily
Red
Altesino Brunello di Montalcino "Montosoli"
1999
$96
2
$192
Tuscany
Red
Argiano Solengo
2004
$84
1
$84
Tuscany
Red
Avignonesi Vino Nobile di  Montepulciano
2005
$25
2
$50
Tuscany
Red
Capezzana Barco Reale di Carmignano
2004
$18
3
$54
Tuscany
Red
Castello di Monastero Vin Santo 
2000
$40
2
$80
Tuscany
Sweet
Castello di Romitorio Romito di Romitorio
2004
$48
1
$48
Tuscany
Red
Colle Massari Grattamacco  Rosso Super-Tuscan
1999
$82
2
$164
Tuscany
Red
Fattoria Felsina Fontalloro
2004
$40
2
$80
Tuscany
Red
Felsina Chianti Classico Riserva "Rancia" 
2004
$44
3
$132
Tuscany
Red
Policiano Vino Nobile di Montepulciano "Asinone"
2004
$55
2
$110
Tuscany
Red
Poliziano Rosso di Montalcino
2006
$15
4
$60
Tuscany
Red
Ruffino Chianti Classico Riserva Ducale Oro (Gold Label)
2004
$54
3
$162
Tuscany
Red
Terrabianca Campaccio
2005
$28
2
$56
Tuscany
Red
Arnaldo Caprai Sangrantino di Montefalco
2003
$105
2
$210
Umbria
Red
Allegrini Palazzo della Torre IGT Veronese
2004
$20
4
$80
Veneto
Red
Bisol  Prosecco Valdobiadene "Crede"
NV
$24
3
$72
Veneto
Sparkling
Ca Rugate Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
2004
$65
2
$130
Veneto
Red
Inama Soave Classico
2006
$18
2
$36
Veneto
White
Masi Campofiorin Rosso del Veronese
2004
$18
2
$36
Veneto
Red
Nicolis Testal
2004
$18
2
$36
Veneto
Red
Nicolis Amarone della Valpolicella Classico
2001
$54
2
$108
Veneto
Red
Nino Franco Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut
NV
$14
3
$42
Veneto
Sparkling
Pieropan Soave Classico "Calvarino"
2006
$30
2
$60
Veneto
White
Zenato Lugana Trebbiano di Lugana
2007
$16
4
$64
Veneto
White
Zenato Valpolicella Superiore Ripassa
2005
$28
2
$56
Veneto
Red
TOTAL
$5,001

 

©Richard Marcis
April 12, 2013

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