The Best Italian Value Wines Under 25 Bucks

So many Italian wines to enjoy, so little time...

One of the best things about Italy is the huge number of quality wines you can find at remarkably low prices.

While a good quality California wine from Napa or Sonoma will run you $30-$50 or more, you can find some superb Italian value wines for under 25 bucks.

Berebene by Gambero Rosso, one of the best references for Italian value wines

Thousands of them.

Each year, the Italian foodies at Gambero Rosso award their Tre Bicchieri (3 glasses) prizes to over 400 of Italy’s best wines. Most of the 22,000 wines they judge each year from 2,400 wineries don’t quite earn the stratospheric 3 Glass award, but thousands of the judged wines win 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) and 1 Glass (Uno Bicchiere) distinctions.

While many of the 3 Glass wines can be quite pricey, the thousands of 2 Glass and 1 Glass winners are often much less expensive.

These high-value, lower-priced winning wines are published in a Gambero Rosso baby brother publication called Berebene — that’s Italian for “Drink Well.”

Drinking well for less money.

Lots of detail in the Berebene wine guide on the top-rated Italian value wines

There are over 2,000 delicious value wines published in this year’s Berebene, all retailing for less than $25 here in the US (they cost even less in Italy, under €13 there — read this to find out why wine costs less in Italy).

Of those 2,000 value wines, 718 earn a special distinction of being the best quality for the price (they call it an Oscar).

And of those 718, just 9 of them — 3 reds, 3 whites, and 3 rosati (rosé) — are highlighted as the absolute best quality for the price of all 22,000 wines that Gambero Rosso judged.

Here are the top 9 value wines across all of Italy, according to Gambero Rosso’s Berebene:

Best Italian Value Wines — Top National Awards

Gambero Rosso Berebene 2017

Red Italian Wines

Price

Dal Maso Colli Berici Tai Rosso 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 1 Glass (Uno Bicchiere) winner $13
Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Cetamura 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $9
Librandi Cirò Rosso Classico 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $12

White Italian Wines

Primosic Collio Sauvignon 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $24
Bigi Orvieto Classico Vigna Torricella 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $15
Cantina del Taburno Falanghina del Sannio 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $12

Rosato (Rosé) Italian Wines

Cantina di Castelnuovo Bardolino Chiaretto Ca’ Vegar 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $12
Nestore Bosco Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Donna Bosco 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $16
Leone de Castris Five Roses 72nd Anniversary 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $21
In the Berebene guide, it's easy to find the top regional wines

Regional stand-outs.

While these are the top Italian value wines for all of Italy, each region in Italy produces some outstanding values as well — many for less than $15.

It’s tough to pick the winners, but the judges at Gambero Rosso do their best with a listing of 1 top pick from each of the 21 Italian regions.

Here are the regional winners:

Best Italian Value Wines — Top Regional Awards

Gambero Rosso Berebene 2017

Region

Italian Wine

Price

Abruzzo Tenuta I Fauri Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo Baldovino 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $14
Alto Adige Kaltern Kellerei Lago di Caldaro Classico Superiore
Greifenberg 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner
$20
Basilicata Cantina di Venosa Aglianico del Vulture Balì 2013This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $13
Calabria Serracavallo Terre di Cosenza Sette Chiese 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $16
Campania Sclavia Calù 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $19
Emilia Romagna Gruppo Cevico
Romagna Sangiovese Vigna Galassi 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner
$13
Friuli Venezia Giulia Simon di Brazzan Blanc di Simon 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $23
Lazio Marco Carpineti Capolemole Bianco 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $18
Le Marche Andrea Felici Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi
Andrea Felici 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner
$18
Liguria Maccario Dringenberg Rossese di Dolceacqua 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $25
Lombardia Marchese Adorno Oltrepo Pinot Nero Brugherio 2014This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $18
Molise Tenimenti Grieco Molise Tintilia 200 Metri 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $16
Piemonte Cantina Pertinace Dolcetto d’Alba 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $14
Puglia Rasciatano Tenute Nero di Troia 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $13
Sardegna Santa Maria La Palma Vermentino di Sardegna
I Papiri 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner
$14
Sicilia Feudo Principi di Butera Nero d’Avola 2014This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $15
Trentino Cesarini Sforza Cuvée Brut RiservaThis is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $19
Tuscany Vignaioli del M. di S.
Morellino di Scansano Roggiano 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner
$17
Umbria Lungarotti Torgiano Rosso Rubesco 2013This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $16
Valle d’Aosta La Crotta di Vegneron Chambave Muscat 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $20
Veneto Dal Cero Soave Classico 2015This is a Gambero Rosso 2 Glass (Due Bicchieri) winner $16
Lots of info you can use to find the top Italian value wines in Gambero Rosso's Berebene

“Uhh… you make how many bottles of wine?”

Not all value wines are created equal. Nine of these top Italian value wines are made by massive wineries.

For example, Gruppo Cevico (who makes the Romagna Sangiovese Vigna Galassi 2015) produces 10,000,000 bottles of wine each year.

Think about that for a moment.

10 million bottles is nearly 2 million gallons of wine. That’s a whole lotta vino, baby.

So, exactly how do you make 10 million bottles of wine? Well, you quite literally manufacture it. Think massive tanks and pipes and electronic controls. The winery looks more like an industrial factory than a quaint family winery.

Don’t get me wrong, Gruppo Cevico’s Sangiovese is well made and a tasty wine, and definitely a great value at just $13. And since they pump out a gazillion bottles, the mega-importers love ‘em. That’s good news because it means you can probably find this value Sangiovese in American wine shops and liquor stores nationwide. Good wine at a good price — that’s Berebene.

Go affordable and family run.

While the mega-wineries have their place, I’m a big fan of the small- to mid-sized wineries where the winemaking is more artistic and less corporate.

Even small producers (this one just 23,000 bottles) are included in the Berebene guide

Winemakers like Maccario Dringenberg (23,000 bottles),  Andrea Felici (53,000 bottles) and Simon di Brazzan (70,000 bottles) take a personal hands-on approach to winemaking.

However, since they make so few bottles, the mega-importers completely ignore them (unless they’re a cult winemaker). Sadly, it’s literally not worth a mega-importer’s time to worry about the little guys.

Me? I love the small, artistic and family-run wineries. They have passionate stories to tell and fantastic wines to share — all at a fair price. I go out of my way to find and import them so that you can taste & enjoy some of the best Italian value wines available.

Bottom line: for many of the value wines on the Berebene list made by small winemakers, you might have to search a bit more to find them here in the US. I am importing some of these great values into the US, and they’ll be available through my online wine shop.

If you’d like me to email you as new Italian value wines arrive in my shop, just sign-up here and I’ll keep you posted.

Get your own copy of Gambero Rosso's Berebene

Reading fun for Italian wine fans.

If you’d like your very own copy of Berebene to peruse and whet your vino appetite, I may have a few copies available in my shop.

Think of this fascinating book as your personal cheat-sheet of the best Italian value wines released this year, all under $25 in US stores (like mine).

Yes, Berebene is only available in Italian, but you don’t need to know a stitch of Italian to use it profitably. The book has an intuitive layout, making it easy for anyone to get the info they need to locate the best Italian value wines. It’s really great fun for Italian wine fans looking for superb value wines.

And if you’re traveling to Italy this year, Berebene is a great travel companion. Just check out the regional listings and ask local wine shops where you can find and taste these wines. All of the contact information is there in case you want to visit the wineries in Italy yourself.

Here’s to a year of Berebene!

Cheers.
Michael

4 Responses to “The Best Italian Value Wines Under 25 Bucks”

  1. Tony Staffaroni 20 Mar 17 at 5:31 PM #

    The list of best wines is great, do you know where in the US they can be purchased or is the best way to just research where to buy them on the internet?

    • Profile photo of Michael Horne
      Michael Horne 21 Mar 17 at 4:46 AM #

      Hi Tony — you have a couple of options for finding these wines.

      1. Call your local wine shop or liquor store (if they sell wine) to see if they can get it in. Usually they’ll have a list of importers they can check with. You can often find the name of the importer on the winery’s website. To find the winery, just google the name of the winery + Italy and it should come up in the list.

      2. The faster, easier way is to check online on Wine Searcher and have the wine shipped directly to you from an online wine shop. It’s pretty simple, just search for the wine and select one of the retailers. If they come up in the list, the retailer is required to have it available for purchase.

      I’ll be stocking a number of these Top 30 this year, and I’m coordinating a shipment now. If you’d like me to keep you in the loop on new Value Wines coming in, you can sign-up here.

      Cheers
      Michael

    • Ken Katz 16 Jun 17 at 8:10 PM #

      You could look them up on “wine searcher-app”

      • Profile photo of Michael Horne
        Michael Horne 17 Jun 17 at 7:08 AM #

        Hi Ken — yep, the Wine-Searcher app for iPhone and Android is a handy one to have.

        Cheers.
        Michael

Leave a Reply