Lifestyle

Ten Italian Whites for Under $20


Some gorgeous, crisp, light- to medium-bodied dry whites and Proseccos from northeast Italy—all at a reasonable price

Readers looking for unoaked, zesty, crisp expressions of dry white wines should look no further than these, which come from Venetto, home to Venice. This is also the source of some of the best values in sparkling wines in the world, the well-known Proseccos of the region. Here are some terrific selections.

85 points

2007 Corte Giara Soave Pagus

Corte Giara is the négociant label of the Allegrini family, one of Veneto's best-known estates. The 2007 Soave Pagus is 80% garganega and 20% chardonnay, which makes it a relatively modern version of this classic Veneto white. It is a silky, finessed Soave to enjoy over the next year or two. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $12

85 points

2007 Masi Masianco

The 2007 Masianco from Masi is a blend of 75% pinot grigio and 25% verduzzo. It is a simple but refreshing white to enjoy over the next year or so. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $16

86 points

2007 Allegrini Soave

Allegrini is one of Veneto's historic estates. The entire range is consistent, and the entry-level wines are a great starting point for readers who want to discover the house's style. 2007 is the fourth vintage for the Soave (80% garganega, 20% chardonnay), a relatively new addition to the lineup. The wine's aromatics are quite expressive, but this is a lean, focused style of Soave, something that is surprising given the presence of chardonnay. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $18

86 points

2007 Zenato Lugana

Zenato is a producer I have long admired for its traditionally styled Amarone and Valpolicella. Some of its entry-level wines are made in a more commercial style, and while quality can be variable, the best of these wines merit attention. Their 2007 Lugana reveals a delicate expression of ripe peaches, mint, and sage, with lovely balance and poise. The indigenous Trebbiano di Lugana is especially aromatic here, where it is grown on the shores of Lake Garda. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $15

87 points

2007 Latium Morini Soave Le Calle

The 2007 Soave Le Calle from Latium Morini is a delicious, joyous Soave. Perfumed, honeyed aromatics waft from the glass, followed by rich, ripe, yellow peaches. Though noticeably sweet on the palate, notes of minerality on the finish bring this expansive wine into focus. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $14

88 points

2006 Anselmi Capitel Foscarino

Anselmi is located in Veneto's Soave district. The ripe, mineral-laced 2006 Capitel Foscarino is a pretty, layered white possessing a notable inner perfume of flowers, melon, smoke, and apricots. The aromatics continue to fill out in the glass, and the wine offers excellent harmony in an engaging, appealing style. The Capitel Foscarino is 90% garganega and 10% chardonnay. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $20

88 points

Nonvintage Bisol Prosecco Jeio

Bisol's nonvintage Prosecco Jeio reveals notable freshness, vibrancy, and crispness in its green apples, flowers, and sweet spices. There is terrific energy and harmony here, but like most Proseccos, the wine is best enjoyed in its exuberant youth. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $18

88 points

2007 Gini Soave Classico

Gini is a great source for well-priced wines from Soave. The 2007 Soave Classico is made from 100% garganega vines planted in 1975. The wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel, where it remains in contact with its lees for several months. Perfumed aromatics lead to apricots and minerals as this gorgeous wine opens up in the glass. Generous, long, and pure, it offers excellent balance and tons of style. Anticipated maturity: now-2010. $20

88 points

2007 Pieropan Soave Classico

Pieropan is among the qualitative leaders of Soave. His wines are brilliant when young, but also have proven to develop beautifully in bottle. The 2007 Soave Classico is the estate's entry-level wine. A blend of 85% garganega and 15% trebbiano, it spends just a few months in large, neutral oak. This is a classy, elegant Soave redolent of ripe peaches, smoke, and earthiness. Made in a taut, focused style, it possesses excellent depth and lovely overall balance. Anticipated maturity: now-2011. $20

89 points

Nonvintage Col Vetoraz Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut

Readers looking for a Prosecco of true distinction should head straight for the nonvintage Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Brut from Col Vetoraz. This pure, joyous wine is loaded with perfumed peaches, crisp green apples, and sweet spices. It offers excellent richness and an engaging, utterly irresistible personality. This is a great choice for by-the-case purchases or to serve as a house wine. This is Lot: 2007 L1308. Anticipated maturity: now-2009. $17

Robert Parker is the world's most influential wine critic. Visit www.eRobertParker.com to see tens of thousands of tasting notes, buy his books, or subscribe to his newsletter, The Wine Advocate.

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