GardiniNotes: Valtellina tastings by Luca Gardini

Valtellina tastings by Luca Gardini, 31 maggio 2019

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Valtellina, also called the Valtelline, is an Italian valley at whose centre runs the River Adda, in the northern end of Lake Como. Valtellina is one of the most important wine-growing areas in the Lombardy region, and its name is derived from Teglio, an ancient town which has been most likely inhabited since Prehistory. It is a unique territory, rich in biodiversity and variability as to environment, geology and morphology. The success of this largest terraced area of Italy (850 hectares that turned into 2,500 terraced kilometres), is incredibly ancient, thanks to a well-built viticulture tradition in the Rhaetian Alps, representing a natural amphitheatre. This tradition became a source of self-consumption and income, also due to the proximity to the Swiss border. The wines produced in such area were successfully exported since the Middle Ages. Nebbiolo is the milestone of Valtellina, and in the Chiavennasca grape varietal it is named Sforzato, Inferno, Grumello and Sassella, all representing the “four aces” thanks to their solidity. Protected by the effects of the Alpine currents, properly exposed to the light, orographically rich, also caressed by the breeze coming from the Lake Como, the Valtellina region has always shown its great potentialities. Late grape harvests, rigorously carried out though manual processes, take place during the second half of October, with the particular “gerle”, that are a sort of pack baskets used by the “portini” (men moving along steep plots of land). The territorial wine par excellence may rely on its companions Pignola, Rossola, Prugnola, besides Merlot and Pinot Noir, which are used here as coupage grapes. We can even distinguish seven DOCG wines, one DOC wine and one IGT wine, all being of undeniable quality level.


96 - Valtellina Superiore Docg Grumello Riserva Buon Consiglio 2009 AR.PE.PE.
Arturo Pelizzatti Perego, from which the acronym Ar.Pe.Pe was created, can be undoubtedly considered as one of the founding fathers of nebbiolo valtellinese. This reserve version embodies all the chiavennasca potentialities. Held 48 months in oak and chestnut– a subalpine transmission of energy. On the nose, aromas of alpine pasture herbs, alcohol infused marasca cherries and euphorbia. The mouth is intense, ample, with a great tannic effect and it is simultaneously iodized. Its finish is dominated by caper notes.

94 - Valtellina Superiore Docg Sassella Riserva Vigna Regina 2009 AR.PE.PE.
A valuable land and a quality that do not seem to diminish even with the second generation of the “dynasty”. “Vigna Regina”, facing south, is also exposed to an excellent aeration: these two assumptions ensure an extraordinary wine. When tasted, this wine reveals all its consistency: mentholated, fresh and spicy nose, with a clear hint of alcohol infused fruits. Its mouthfeel is extraordinary deep, impressive, almost edible with a finish of great persistence.

93 - Valtellina Superiore Docg “Il Pettirosso” 2015 AR.PE.PE.
A Chiavennasca Sassella/Grumello grape varietal, enhanced by a long maceration on the skins for more than three months. Then, it is held 12 months in large barrels. On the nose, it shows its nice complexity: dark fruit, alcohol infused fruit and dried spices. It is exceptionally stylish in the mouth, easy-drinking, full-bodied but never excessive. A long-lasting finish.

92 - Valtellina Superiore Docg Grumello Riserva Sant’Antonio 2009 AR.PE.PE.
A very long ageing. This Ar.Pe.Pe Reserve is held 60 months in chestnut wood, in order to enhance the potentialities of this wonderful vineyard, with a majestic fruit intensity, instead of weighing it down uselessly. On the nose, it reveals violet petals, wild berries aromas along with a rich balsamic fragrance. The tasting is led by a vigorous tannic texture but it still remains stylish, crunchy, and with a very long persistence.

92 - Rosso di Valtellina Doc 2016 AR.PE.PE.
Its aroma reminds mostly of dried flowers, but it also quite iodized. Easy to drink, this wine shows a clear Mediterranean maquis background along with notes of wild berries on the palate, where raspberry dominates. Its mouthfeel is taut, full-bodied and salty, with pure fruit flavours. Surprisingly easy to drink and with a perfect finish.

91 - Valtellina Superiore Docg Inferno Riserva Sesto Canto 2009 AR.PE.PE.
A sin for the greedy ones, or in this particular case, for Bacchus adorers. It was thought as a literary calembour and turned itself into a sculpturelike and majestic wine, but without being excessively austere. A four-year ageing in wood means refined grape and tannins. On the nose, alcohol infused fruits, with a clear spicy note. It is surprisingly slender in the mouth, but also intense, with a long-lasting persistence.