12 Italian Super-Bargains

New reviews of reds, whites and rosés for $20 or less from Tuscany, Puglia, Calabria and more



Tasting Highlights’ wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors’ most recent scores and notes to WineSpectator.com members.

As the temperature rises during the summer months, so does rosé consumption. Although this style of wine, coming in a range of pink shades, can be enjoyed any time of year, it is most-often found in backyard, rooftop or poolside locales. Here we have a diverse selection of the summertime staple, varied in grape type, origin and style, all for $21 or less.
In this bunch, the most prevalent country represented is France, with most of the wines hailing from the southern appellations of Côtes de Provence and Bandol in Provence, and Tavel in the Rhône Valley. These wines are typically made with saignée or maceration method, both of which essentially put red grapes’ skins in contact with its juice, which then becomes pink-tinted. Here, regional grapes like Grenache, Syrah and Cinsault are used. Another French wine in today’s selection is made with Pinot Noir from the Loire Valley, farther north.

Representing Italy, we have three picks spanning the country, from Friuli in the north, to Tuscanyin central Italy, and right down to the southern island of Sicily. The Attems is particularly
interesting as it is made in the ramato style, where white grapes—here, Pinot Grigio—are kept on their skins for a period of time before fermentation. This continued contact with the skins imparts a subtle pink-orange hue to the wine.

From the Iberian Peninsula, we have the Agrimota from Portugal, which hails from Vinho Verde—a region best-known for its light whites, but that also makes a small amount of rosé. Two Spanish
rosados from Rioja prove that this region is not just about Tempranillo-based red wines. There are also two New World rosés here that both happen to be made from Pinot Noir, even though they are very far from each other: the Willamette Valley Vineyards rosé from Oregon and Wither Hills made in New Zealand’s Marlborough. Whichever style you choose, you are sure to get a fun, refreshing wine, perfect for sipping in the sun.

CHÂTEAU DES BERTRANDS Côtes de Provence Rosé Élégance Réserve 2017 Score: 90 | $20
Very fresh, with light herb and wet stone notes carrying tasty peach, mango and white cherry fruit 􀂢avors. Shows more range than most, staying elegant and detailed through the 􀂡nish. Cinsault,
Grenache, Syrah and Rolle. Drink now. 3,500 cases imported.—James Molesworth

BIELER PÈRE & FILS Bandol Rosé Réserve 2017 Score: 90 | $21
A bright and fresh style, with rose petal, white cherry, blood orange and sandalwood 􀂢avors streaming through. Shows good cut on the 􀂡nish, which offers a lingering wet stone note. Drink
now through 2019. 1,000 cases imported.—J.M.

LAVAU Tavel 2017 Score: 89 | $13
A juicy, ripe rosé, showing lots of strawberry and cherry fruit 􀂢avors bubbling up, while light rose petal and watermelon accents 􀂡ll in behind, with a 􀂢ash of tobacco. Grenache, Cinsault and
Syrah. Drink now. 3,000 cases imported.—J.M.

ATTEMS Pinot Grigio Friuli Ramato 2017 Score: 88 | $20
A fresh and balanced rosé, with a minerally underpinning to the white cherry, apple peel, blood orange zest and light herb notes. Tangy 􀂡nish. Drink now. 7,500 cases imported.—Alison Napjus

FRANCK & SYLVAIN GODON Pinot Noir Vin de France Rosé Le Petit Godon 2017 Score: 88 | $14
An elegant and stylish rosé, with white cherry, blood orange and peach 􀂢avors gliding through, showing a light echo of sandalwood through the 􀂡nish. Drink now. 1,000 cases imported.—J.M.

BODEGAS MUGA Rioja Rosado 2017 Score: 88 | $17
This dry rosé is full and 􀂡rm, with herbal and spicy notes framing cherry and berry 􀂢avors. Crisp acidity keeps this focused. More of a food wine than an aperitif. Drink now. 6,000 cases
imported.—Thomas Matthews

CHÂTEAU DU ROUËT Côtes de Provence Rosé Cuvée Réservée Tradition 2017 Score: 88 | $15
An elegant, focused style, with a mineral hint through the middle and a creamy feel along the edges of a mix of white cherry, peach, herb and sandalwood 􀂢avors. Nicely done. Drink now. 4,000 cases imported.—J.M.

SANTA CRISTINA Toscana Rosato Cipresseto 2017 Score: 88 | $14
Round and fruity, with cherry, strawberry and 􀂢oral notes riding a wave of juicy acidity. Firms up on the 􀂡nish, which offers a tactile feel. Drink now. 2,000 cases imported.—Bruce Sanderson

DOMAINE STE.-MARIE Côtes de Provence Rosé VieVité 2017 Score: 88 | $20
Offers a brisk feel here, with a tangy mineral edge and a lively savory streak leading the way. Watermelon rind and jasmine notes 􀂡ll in behind. There’s lots of zing here. Drink now. 40,000
cases imported.—J.M.

WILLAMETTE VALLEY VINEYARDS Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Rosé Whole Cluster 2017 Score: 88 | $18
Delicately zesty and pretty, with ripe strawberry and spice 􀂢avors. Drink now. 4,000 cases made.—Tim Fish

POGGIO ANIMA Terre Siciliane Rosato Raphael 2017 Score: 87 | $14
A lip-smacking rosé, with lots of pink grapefruit zest, tangerine and peach 􀂢avors set in a lightbodied, crisp frame. A great summer sipper. Drink now. 1,500 cases imported.—A.N.

BARON DE LEY Rioja Rosado 2017 Score: 87 | $10
This pale rosé offers fruity peach and watermelon 􀂢avors, with tangerine acidity and a silky texture that’s appealing. The 􀂢oral 􀂡nish is clean and fresh. Drink now. 1,000 cases imported.—T.M.

AGRIMOTA Vinho Verde Rosé Portal da Calçada Reserva 2017 Score: 86 | $13
A pale pink rosé, with a perfumed pro􀂡le offering rose petal, white raspberry and cherry 􀂢avors, showing a hint of licorice drop on the creamy 􀂡nish. Drink now. 2,200 cases imported.—Gillian Sciaretta

WITHER HILLS Pinot Noir Marlborough Rosé 2017 Score: 86 | $14
Candied watermelon, apple and peach 􀂢avors are supple and easy-drinking in this red, with a hint of spice. Drink now. 2,000 cases imported.—MaryAnn Worobiec