Exploring the Elegance of Valtellina Heroic Wines
Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Lombardy, in the northwest of Italy, lies a hidden gem that enchants the senses and captivates the soul - the Valtellina wine region. This unsung sanctuary of viticulture has quietly blossomed into a haven for those who seek wines that whisper tales of tradition, terroir, and tenacity.
The combination of high altitudes, mineral-rich soils, and a temperate Alpine climate imparts a unique terroir to Valtellina wines.
Valtellina wine region in lombardy is known for its challenging and labor-intensive grape cultivation, earning it the name "heroic viticulture".
The region is a narrow valley nestled between the towering Alps, with vineyards perched on steep terraces - that seem to defy gravity - which can reach inclinations of up to 70 degrees.
These terraced vineyards are situated at high altitudes (typically ranging between 250 to 800 meters above sea level) and are painstakingly built by hand, often using dry stone walls, to create flat surfaces for the grapevines.
The labor required to create and maintain these terraces is immense and requires a great deal of effort and skill.
The production of Valtellina wines extends for about 820 hectares which include DOC and DOCG production sub-zones.
The primary grape variety that thrives in Valtellina is NEBBIOLO, known locally as CHIAVENNASCA. this grape variety produces wines that are elegant, complex, and capable of ageing gracefully.
In essence, Valtellina's heroic viticulture is a testament to human determination and dedication to winemaking.
The name "heroic" underscores the extraordinary efforts required to produce wines in this breathtaking yet demanding region, resulting in wines of unparalleled character and complexity deserving of admiration and respect.
Meet Passione Vino winemakers from Valtellina
Marco Fay : Crafting Timeless Elegance
Azienda Agricola Fay was founded in 1973 by Sandro Fay, who, starting from the small family winemaking production, decided to develop this business. Since 1998, he has been joined by his children, Marco and Elena. Marco (in the pic) has adegree in Viticulture and Enology and a great passion for the territory.
Marco's great insight over a decade ago was to enhance the individual vineyards based on their unique soil and altitude characteristics to create distinct wines with strong personalities.He runs the azienda today and he manages, following the principles of organic farming, 15 hectares of vineyards with the aim of producing wines that reflect the diverse terroirs of Valtellina.
Marino Lanzini: Crafting Legends, One Bottle at a Time
In the heart of Valtellina's winemaking heritage, the Marino Lanzini estate stands as a keeper of time-honored traditions. With a lineage that stretches back generations, the Lanzini family has mastered the art of transforming grapes into liquid poetry.
The company, which bears his name, was established in 2015. Nebbiolo, for him, represents a family tradition: his own family has deep roots in our land. They have always been involved in activities such as farming, livestock, growing fruits and cereals, but above all, the cultivation of the Nebbiolo grape. A story of passion, love, and dedication; values passed on to Marino, who, having grown up in close contact with nature and the region, decides to further his studies in agriculture and then follow his roots by renovating the family cellar in the historic center of Ponte in Valtellina. It is right here that, remaining faithful to ancient traditions, his wines are born.
Dirupi: Conversations with the Elements
Dirupi is a dynamic company managed by Davide Fasolino (left) Pierpaolo Di Franco (right) known as Faso and Birba. Their small enterprise began from scratch in 2006, starting with with some rented pieces of land (15 different terraced sites in Valtellina devoted to Chiavennasca). followed by a gradual and continuous investment both in the land and in the winery, as well as in agronomic management, now in organic farming. Faso and Birba are two childhood friends that crossed paths once again when they both were completing enology degrees in university.
The Valtellina is all about altitude, altitude, altitude, and the Dirupi vineyards reach 650 m (2100ft) making their fruit some of the highest altitude Nebbiolo in existence. The top soils here are sandy and gravelly giving excellent drainage having been scraped by ice flows and snow melt for millennia. Consequently, many large rocks are left in the vineyards which retain heat during the day and release it at night, helping the grapes achieve their maximum ripeness and balanced acidity. Above the cellar housed in a sixteenth century building in Sondrio, the vineyards are scattered across Sondrio, Montagna, Poggiridenti, Grumello and Inferno.
Marco Ferrari: Weaving Dreams with Grapes
Marco Ferrari, a winemaker with no family ties to winemaking or Valtellina, was drawn to the region convinced that this area possessed the necessary factors to produce great wine: soils, climate, grape variety, and history. He organically cultivates old Nebbiolo 2 hectares of vines nestled in tiny and steep terraces where only manual labor is possible
Despite his lack of familial and regional connections, Marco's wines reflect a deep-seated affinity for Valtellina, as if he were part of a long line of experienced vignerons.
His journey began with a stint working for Frank Balthazar in Cornas, where he learned organic farming and the intricacies of working on challenging, steep slopes—a skill that would prove invaluable.
Marco's wines are characterized by their purity, luminosity, and a distinctive alpine minerality.
Unveiling the Secrets of Valtellina with our VALTELLINA MASTERCLASS Wine Box
Don't miss this opportunity to explore the captivating wines of Valtellina. The Valtellina Masterclass Wine Box is now available for purchase on our website. As always, quantities are limited, so secure yours today and get ready for a wine journey like no other.