The best wines of Canton Ticino
Here we are with Ticino back in our guide for the fourth year. It’s a regional presence that, in the past, had enriched our publication but had then gone missing for several years. Cultural and linguistic affinities, and territorial contiguity, convinced us to resume the custom. And we’re happy for having done so, because once again we tasted a number of excellent wines, thanks in part to the passionate and skilled team of Ticino tasters who made it all easy (as well as possible).
Varieties and Tre Bicchieri
Cantone comprises a range of excellent terroirs when it comes to viticulture, which has been practiced here since time immemorial. It’s enough to visit the region, admire its steep pre-Alpine slopes, terraced and covered with vineyards, to understand how important wine-growing is for the land, Ticino’s history and culture (and not only in the material sense of culture). Of course, most of the wines we reviewed are based on Merlot, the variety with which the area is most identified today.
After phylloxera, in 1907, the Bordeaux grape replaced the local grapes and hybrids that were popular at the time, and became the hegemonic cultivar. In recent years, although its supremacy remains clear, we’ve seen a flourishing rediscovery of local varieties, primarily Bondola, and experimentation with many Italian and international varieties, both in Sopraceneri and Sottoceneri. As for Merlot, it’s interpreted in different styles: as a light and fruity summer wine, but also in full-bodied selections matured in barriques, where it’s concentrated and suitable for laying down. Even when vinified off-the-skins, as a white, it can be convincing. This year, in the end, we awarded 2 producers: Lugano’s Paolo Basso Wine, with their Rosso di Chiara ’17, an excellent Bordeaux blend, and Losone’s Angelo Delea, whose elegant Ticino Merlot Carato Riserva ’17 once again demonstrates why Delea is a top producer. 2 awards but many wines, some 22, made it to our final tastings. Ticino is growing, and we can attest to the fact.
Tre Bicchieri 2021
- Ticino Merlot Carato Ris. ’17 – Vini Angelo Delea
- Ticino Rosso di Chiara ’17 – Paolo Basso Wine