The best pure Merlots from Canton Ticino to Lazio awarded by Gambero Rosso

Feb 23 2024, 16:04
Merlot is one of the widely cultivated international grape varieties in our country, especially in some regions of Northern and Central Italy. Here are the labels that have been awarded the Tre Bicchieri 2024 by Gambero Rosso

Merlot, originally from Bordeaux, was the first French grape variety to be widely planted in Italy after the phylloxera epidemic. It spread particularly in Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Trentino, and later also in Lombardy, Lazio, Campania, Tuscany, and Umbria. Merlot produces a wine with an intense ruby red color, intense and vinous aromas of red fruit, tobacco leaves, and violet, which with maturation fade into more delicate and subtle tones (cut hay, vegetables, butter); the alcoholic component stands out on the palate. Despite its robust structure, it is a somewhat soft wine even when young, warm, rich, and velvety, not very tannic.

The grape is highly adaptable to different types of soil and is very productive. These two factors are the basis of its diffusion in our country. In recent years, many producers have worked to exploit its great potential, planting it with qualitatively targeted criteria and vinifying it in purity or together with its ever-present partner, Cabernet.

Tre Bicchieri 2024. The best Merlots

Canton Ticino

In Ligornetto 2020, ripe and crunchy fruit and refreshing balsamic notes precede a palate with fine, balanced, and elegant tannins, of good persistence. Vinattieri was founded in 1985 by Luigi Zanini. The winery manages a vineyard area of about 100 hectares located in the southern part of Canton Ticino. For three years, it has been led by Michele Conceprio, an oenologist with extensive experience in the production of local wines. Combining professionalism, experience, and passion is an important premise for constant evolution in wine production: Vinattieri, in fact, brings together a team of professionals with a forward-looking and open-minded approach to the future, innovative and lively but always respectful of the roots of this prestigious brand.

Merlot Moncucchetto Riserva 2019 is complex and juicy, has fine and well-integrated tannins, is persistent, and displays perfect balance, vigor, and harmony; the finish is dedicated to a pleasant aromatic expression. The history of the Lucchini family dates back a long time: in 1919, a hilly estate was purchased in the heart of Lugano, where in 2009, the new cellar designed by architect Mario Botta was built. In the area called Moncucchetto, from which the company takes its name, the cellar is surrounded by vineyards that produce wines of great personality. Lisetta and Nicolò Lucchini have entrusted the complete management of vineyards and cellar to winemaker Cristina Monico.

South Tyrol

In Merlot Nussleiten 2019, red fruit takes center stage, with spices, medicinal herbs, and mineral nuances in the background providing depth and complexity. The palate is solid, supported by fine and smooth tannins that accompany the sip on a long journey. The beautiful town of Caldaro climbs the slopes of the Mendola, alternating historic residences with more recent constructions and often leaving the city's vineyards, which have been cultivated for centuries and now seem hidden among the houses, intact. Here, the historic cellar of Count von Kuenburg is an absolute reference point for lovers of wines from Oltradige. The property extends from the shores of the lake to the highest vineyard areas of the municipality and provides the grapes for a production of great finesse.

A. A. Merlot Nussleiten Ris. 2019 - Castel Sallegg


Campo Sella 2019 by Sutto, from the homonymous vineyard, expresses aromas of ripe red fruit crossed by important balsamic and floral notes. In the mouth, it reveals a full body, perfectly supported by acidity and a dense and smooth network of tannins that give completeness to the sip. If there is one aspect that stands out in the activity of the Sutto brothers, it is certainly the speed with which they have managed to take their father Ferruccio's small company and transform it into one of the most important realities in the region. The historic cellar on via Arzeri has been joined by the new and modern structure of Col San Martino, dedicated to the production of Prosecco Superiore. Stefano and Luigi Sutto presented an impeccable lineup this year, with a masterful version.


Maremma Merlot Baffonero 2020 by Rocca di Frassinello is now firmly among the best Merlots produced on the Tuscan coast and beyond. Its aromatic profile is characterized by lush fruity notes that merge with the spiciness of the aging woods. Thickness, volume, and depth are the most evident characteristics when tasting, where the wine reveals itself juicy and with an intense and long finish.

Valdarno di Sopra Merlot Vigna Galatrona 2020 by Fattoria Petrolo presents varied scents, with fresh balsamic notes, cinnamon, pepper, and black fruits. In the mouth, the sip is articulated, with pleasant juiciness, calibrated tannins, and an enjoyable finish. After World War II, the grandfather of the current owner, Luca Sanjust, bought the estate. The turning point in winemaking came in the mid-1980s, with the renewal of the vineyards and the modernization of the cellar. Grapes such as Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Trebbiano give rise to grapes that undergo a careful selection process. Low plant productivity and meticulous work in the cellar contribute to defining the character of the wines, for some of which vinification and aging take place in terracotta amphorae.


Montiano 2020 by Famiglia Cotarella Falesco is rich in fruit and confirms itself at the top of production: a juicy, elegant, and silky pure Merlot, with notes of blueberry, leather, sweet spices, good volume, and depth. An example of Italian viticulture worldwide, the Famiglia Cotarella/Falesco winery is located in the Montecchio valley, on those hilly volcanic soils where Umbria and Lazio meet. The debut took place in the 1970s with brothers Antonio and Domenico Cotarella, followed by the transition from a small family business to a successful reality with Renzo and Riccardo, up to today's all-female leadership, with cousins Dominga, Marta, and Enrica. The proposed wines are modern in style and of remarkable aromatic precision.

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