Fine Italian wine is expensive. You may be in love with the premium wines from Tuscany, Piedmont or Central Italy but all of them will cause a small dent in your wallet. Whether we talk about the likes of Chianti, Sangiovese, Brunello or Barbaresco and Barolo, none of them are affordable for ordinary Britons. There are of course the inferior variants from these parts of Italy, but they are not even remotely pleasant. If you have tasted any of these amazing wines, then you will detest the cheaper variants. The only way you can get some affordable Italian wine is if you head southward.
Southern Italian wine was frowned upon by many, certainly by the connoisseurs. This had more to do with the weather than any prejudice. Sicily, Puglia, Calabria, Basilicata and Campania have always been major winegrowing and winemaking regions in Italy, but their productions were known to be inferior. Their wines were truly unimpressive, and one did not have to be a connoisseur to judge. Fortunately, these regions have witnessed a sea change of sorts. The winegrowers, most cooperatives, have started to pick the grapes at the right time. The hot climate in Southern Italy used to spoil the grapes, resulting in inferior wines with jammy and stewed flavours. Now Southern Italian wine is fresh and affordable.
You can expect the reds from these winegrowing regions to be desirable, juicy and tangy. They are as succulent as their more expensive northern brethren. If you want to prioritise a few then go for Negroamaro from Salento, Nero d’Avola from Sicily, Primitivo from Apulio and Aglianico from Basilicata. You may be wondering about the prices. It is possible you would be interested in Italian wine priced under twenty quid or perhaps less than twelve quid a bottle. You would be happy to note that these Southern Italian wines are indeed budget friendly.
You can grab a 2013 bottle of Negroamaro Salento from Puglia for around eight pounds, a 2012 Casa Planeta Nero d’Avola-Syrah from Sicily for ten pounds and 2013 Vigneti del Vulture Pipoli from Basilicata for eleven pounds. The flavours range from ripe and rounded cocktail of plum, black cherry and mulberry to mocha toned soft wine with a strong tinge of juicy blackcurrant. There is a 2013 Grillo from Sicily for just seven pounds too. There are other wines of course from Southern Italy that would cost under twelve pounds. If you like a subtle red with hints of red cherry, fresh blackberry and dark chocolate, then you should go for the Aglianico del Vulture.