Last April I had the opportunity to visit one of Italy’s most dramatic wine regions, Valtellina. Upon my return I felt so inspired by the landscape and the wines I wrote an article for our Wine Journal. As a rule I try not to write about wines that have not yet arrived in our stores, but I was sure they would arrive soon.
After months of waiting I’m thrilled to report the wines are finally on our store shelves. I’m sure for most of you this is long forgotten information, so I’ll give you a quick refresher course into these unique wines.
Valtellina is an alpine valley in the far north of Lombardy on the Swiss border. Wine has been produced here for over 2000 years. Today the wines are produced from the Nebbiolo grape variety known here as Chiavennasca. If you have ever had a Barolo or Barbaresco from the neighboring Piedmont region then you are familiar with Nebbiolo. The wines of Valtellina have a similar flavor profile with an aromatic bouquet of dried cherry, tar and rose petals, but because of the high altitude the body is somewhat lighter.
The best wines of Valtellina come from the following sub-zones: Maroggia, Sassella, Grumello, Inferno and Valgella. Aldo Rainoldi is one of the top producers in the region and all his vineyards are in Sassella, Grumello and Inferno. Wine critic Antonio Galloni said,”This producer based in Lombardy’s Valtellina makes a number of delicious, value priced reds.”
ABC Fine Wine & Spirits now proudly offers three wines from Aldo Rainoldi:
- Prugnolo, a blend of Nebbiolo grapes from the three sub-zones. The most approachable of the wines.
- Inferno: This sub-zone has some of the hottest and steepest vineyards in Valtellina. Appropriately named, Inferno means “hell” in Italian.
- Sassella. Wines from this sub-zone are named after sasso, the Italian word for stone because of its stony iron and mineral rich soil.
Wedged between and protected by the Alps to the north and south, Valtellina has been producing outstanding wines for centuries. It’s now time to discovery these unique wines for yourself.
Paul Quaglini, ABC Fine Wine & Spirits wine supervisor
Follow me on Twitter @abcwinepaulq