A Wine LIst from Tasting Valtellina Wines in Sondrio
Without a doubt, visiting the vineyards of Valtellina was one of the highlights of 2022! This small, under the radar, quality wine region, located in the alps of northern Lombardy, produces stunning Nebbiolo wines from steep terraced vineyards left by the Romans more than 1500 years ago. The breathtaking views, the pristine mountain air and the fantastic wine and food will inspire you to put a pin in your travel map on the village of Sondrio. If you want to know more, keep reading. If you missed part one, here is the link.
After a fantastic lunch hosted by Vini di Valtellina, we headed to an underground cavern in Sondrio where we continued our wine education by tasting and talking with winemakers and owners. While Valtellina is a fine wine capital, it's not well known. If you would like to experience wine styles of Valtellina, here are a few standouts from my recent trip. Please see the labels below and then message your favorite wine shop and ask if any of these styles are available in your market. A charcuterie board filled with lean thinly sliced, dried beef, brined and aged goat, cheese - both wash rind and hard, plus sliced buckwheat baguette and you'll be on your way to enjoying Valtellina in style.
Bottle labels are fairly straightforward, even if Italian is not your language. Most quality wines spend time in barrel. If the label indicates Superiore, it refers to the grape selection being the finest from the vineyard, and Riserva refers to the extended aging in barrel and bottle. Barrels range from new oak to large neutral wood foudre (which by design add texture but rarely add flavour).
Nino Negri is a jewel in the Gruppo Italiano Vini, and one of the oldest wineries in Valtellina. Efforts to distinguish each wines personality based on single vineyard terroir, requires orientation and a fine palate. The labels are differentiated by color, Cru and vineyard. Exceptional detail producing age worthy wines.
Azienda Agricola Alberto Marsetti is a boutique family winery that produces about 60 thousand bottles a year, established in 1986 by Alberto to carry on the work started by his grandfather, uncle and father. Winemaker Andreas Pilatti explains that Chestnut is the only wood used here. He tours us up to the vineyards at 500 meters and down to the winery in the underground cellars of Sondrio.
Arpepe is a family owned and operated 150 old estate winery run by the 5th generation of passionate winemakers. Their mantra of right time, perfection in the details shines through in wines that focus on respect for tradition.
Mamete Prevostini arrived in Valtellina in 2013. He made his reputation in the cellar starting in 1996. He recently purchased the Covent San Lorenzo that contains 80 rooms and overlooks Sondrio. It is home to the Sassella cru vineyard from which Clos San Lorenzo is made.
Tenuta Scersce is located in Sondrio and is the passion project of Cristina Scarpellini, a lawyer by training. Cristina is part of Donne del Vinno, and has been winemaker of her boutique brand since 2008.
The Terre Vino Wine Bar
The Terre Vino Wine Bar
If you go you must visit Terre Vino, a wine bar near the center of Sondrio run by the most energetic, knowledgeable Calabrian food and wine guy in town - Mario. He’ll pour you a sip of Rosso di Valtellina and slice up fresh buckwheat bread, dried aged meats and local alpine cheeses. If you are lucky he’ll introduce you to grolini di capra - dried, aged goat leg, smoked for 3 - 4 months, or classic Bitto (deep fried dumplings filled with cheese).
There is no place as visually spectacular with as deep a cultural heritage and passion for wine like Valtellina. It has left an indelible mark not only on my taste buds or smartphone (thousands of images) but also in my heart. There is something soulful about this beautiful mountainous area with its passionate winemakers reaching for the stars, in very difficult conditions, that left me feeling forever connected to this historic community. If you are traveling to Italy in 2023, put Valtellina on your list. At the minimum, visit your favorite local wine shop and ask about wines from Valtellina. One sip and you'll be waxing poetic and booking a flight.
Cheers and thank you for reading. Happy holidays to you and your wine-loving heart!
I'm Good Wine Gal.
I blog about "good wine" and how to find it!
Join me on my adventures of finding beautiful wine loving places, people and those special bottles we all get excited about.