“I recently dug into the entry-level 2015 Grumello and found it to be one of Valtellina’s most tannic wines, although a solid emblem of the beautiful minerality and sour-bitter fruit typical of the region.” (4 3/4 stars out of 5)
“The 2015 Sfursat di Valtellina is powerful and resonant, but also comes across as a bit forward, certainly moreso than I would expect for a wine of its age. Leather, game, tobacco, licorice and dried cherry fruit struggle to emerge from a wall of searing tannins. I find this style a bit too oxidative, but it’s really the overpowering tannins that are the hardest to deal with.”
Aldo Rainoldi - Vinous
Sassella Valtellina Superiore DOCG Riserva
“The 2015 Sassella Riserva is translucent and nuanced, but also a bit dried out in its flavor profile. Scents of rose petal, mint, dried flowers and sweet red cherry add pretty shades of nuance. Ideally, it would be nice to see a bit more freshness; the 2015 comes across as a wine that is on a fast aging curve.”
“An appealing note of sweet and tarry pipe smoke heralds this bright, elegant red, along with flavors of dried raspberry, spiced orange peel, fig cake and wild sage. Shows fine concentration without excessive weight, while silky tannins provide sleek definition.”
“Just mid ruby with orange tinges. Stalky, spicy cherry fruit which becomes lifted and perfumed with aeration. Cherry and a hint of cassis and fine, coating, long-lasting tannins. Super-elegant style.” (17+ out of 20 points)
“Aromatic, featuring ample graphite, herb-laced balsamic and smoky espresso notes, this medium-to full-bodied red is firm and racy, layering chewy tannins and a spicy undertow with baked cherry and fig cake flavors. Offers a long, smoke-tinged finish.”
In “Valtellina, Another Side of Nebbiolo,” chief wine critic Eric Asimov announces that this month’s “Wine School” theme will be the region of Valtellina.
“Wine School” is a monthly column in which Asimov selects a grape variety or wine region for readers to learn about. Readers are then invited to drink the wines and discuss them online. In the following month’s column, he goes into further detail about the theme selected, and summarizes readers’ impressions of the wines.
For this month’s exploration of Valtellina, Asimov suggests three wines for readers to seek out and comment on, including ALDO RAINOLDI Grumello Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2015.
He writes that “no place is more famous for its nebbiolo wines than the Langhe in the Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, home to Barolo and Barbaresco. But the Langhe is far from the only place in which nebbiolo prospers…east of the Piedmont in Lombardy, northeast of Milan almost at the Swiss border, is Valtellina, where nebbiolo, known there locally as chiavennasca, makes remarkable wines. Valtellina is also Alpine, but the grapes are planted on south-facing slopes that trap the sunlight, which helps them ripen sufficiently to make rich wines.”
The article includes a prominent photo (below) of the three wines from Valtellina selected for the column.
Stay tuned for Asimov’s detailed write-up on the region in early March!