The Italian Wine Guide
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Vinum Index - The Italian Wine Guide - Vinum Index srl

The Wines

Italian wines have enjoyed great international renown for many years, in terms of quality, quantity and turnover, thanks above all to the extraordinary range of grape varieties and types of wine produced. Over the last decade, Vinum Index has monitored a panel of wines accounting for around 2,000 producers and 10,000 labels.

What the experts say

Vinum Index has selected the main Italian and international guides which grade the quality of wines available on the market, by means of their tasting sections. Although a great deal of controversy has been provoked by these ratings, Vinum Index has found that by taking the average of these judgments, it's possible to obtain a reliable guide to the real quality level of a product.

Quality in wine

Is it possible to speak of the quality of a wine in objective terms? What are the properties of a 'quality' wine? Obviously, everybody is free to think what they like and express their own, personal judgment, but experience has taught us here at Vinum Index that the wines which deserve to be tasted are those which are able to tell their own story in the balance of the fruit, the harmony of the fragrances and flavours, their affinity with the land and the memories they leave behind - down to earth, sincere, complex, elegant, gracious, noble, powerful, austere. If all this is present, then we're dealing with a 'quality' product.

The panel

The Vinum Index panel is based on a huge subgroup of all the Italian wine producers. We have included the producers who satisfy at least one of the following conditions:

a) they've made at least one wine graded at more than 89/100 in at least one of the reference sources;
b) they've made at least one wine graded at more than 83/100 in at least three of the reference sources.

The producers continue to be included in the panel only if these judgments remain constant in the course of time.

The selection process

Starting from the panel described above - a database of around 10,000 labels - Vinum Index selects new producers and wines for its guide from time to time.
To do this, we use a rather complex function which takes the following parameters into account:

The Vinum Index wines

On completion of the selection process, the Vinum Index team double checks all the wines emerging which are potentially suitable for inclusion in the guide. These are the wines which:
  1. Yearly quality factor: this is the mean value of all the ratings in the reference guides.
  2. Quality factor over a time period: this is a function of the yearly quality factor, and is used to allocate a gradually decreasing weighting to the older vintages (the most difficult to find on the market). It expresses the quality trend of a wine in the course of the years.
  3. Price tag: expressed in Euros and based on the mean wine store price on the Italian market.
  4. Availability: the number of bottles made (the emergence of e-commerce has made the products easier to find, as a result of which this factor has become more significant, irrespective of the selection of the reference markets - Italian or foreign - by the producer).
  5. Representativeness (by region, method, grape varieties): this expresses the need to represent all the Italian regions (in proportion to their wine production). Vinum Index tends to place the emphasis on the greatest possible variety of types and grape varieties.
Each of these parameters is calculated for every wine in the panel. This means that the quality representation of the territory based on the panel of 10,000 wines is reflected accurately in the final selection, taking into account every Italian region and all the territories, whether with an official denomination (DOCG, DOC) or not (LGT, VdT), in which wine of quality is made. We also take into consideration the various types of wine (red, white, dessert wines, sparkling wines, etc), and the huge range of grape varieties, blends and methods which distinguish Italian wine production.
  • have a high grading in nearly all the reference sources, and have won Italian and international prizes
  • maintain the same quality level over a period of several years,
  • have an excellent price/quality ratio,
  • can easily be bought in wine shops, over the internet or in restaurants,
  • represent the best of Italian regional production,
  • represent the grape varieties and blends and the production techniques used in Italy,
  • include a significant sample of the huge range of Italian wines (not just Barolo, Brunello and the Super Tuscans)li>
These are the wines that end up in the Vinum Index.

The grades

The parameters used to select the producers and wines are also used to calculate the judgments and ratings for each bottle. The grading is reviewed at regular intervals and takes into consideration the average ratings set out in the main Italian and international guides. Two gradings are used:
  1. long term rating = average grading over the last 10 years
  2. short term rating = average grading over the last 2 years (for wines which are therefore easy to find))
The rating ranges from A to C, as follows:
  "A TOP" - Outstanding with a history of excellence
  "A" - Outstanding
  "B+" - Very good
  "B" - Good
  "C" - Pleasant
In the dual rating allocated to each bottle, the first is long term and the second short term. For example, “B+ B” means “B+” in the long term and “B” in the short term.

Wines in the front line

The wines with the best price/quality ratio and availability, and many bottles "which are impossible to find" are presented alongside an image of the bottle and a description of the properties (tasting notes).

TOP wines

Some of the wines selected are classified as Top Wines. These are products whose outstanding history and extraordinary consistency in quality terms in the course of time gives them the automatic right to inclusion in the Vinum Index guide, irrespective of their price and availability. NB: some of the top wines may also be affordable and easy to find.

Tasting and checking

All the wines selected for inclusion in the guide have been carefully tasted by at least one member of the Vinum Index team, to enable us to describe their qualities and general properties (bouquet, flavour, etc), ageing potential and the distinctive production techniques, and provide historical notes and anecdotes on the wine and producer, and lots more.