Arpepe Il Pettirosso DOCG Valtellina Superiore (750ml)
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Arpepe is located in Northern Lombardia, not far from the Swiss border. Their vineyards, spread across 13 hectares in the appellations of Sassella, Grumello and Inferno which are in the heart of the Valtellina Superiore DOCG area. Valtellina is Lombardia’s most northerly winegrowing area located at the foothills of the Alps. This is Nebbiolo country, though the grape is called Chiavennasca here and takes on a different expression than the Nebbiolo grown further south in Piemonte’s Barolo or Barbaresco appellations.
Arpepe are a family of winegrowers and who have been cultivating Nebbiolo in Valtellina for over 150 years. All of the work is meticulously done by hand. They take things slow and have a sincere respect for the land and want their wines to express the uniqueness of the terroir. They are convinced that the outstanding qualities of Nebbiolo from the Alps and proud to share it with international markets.
This wine is a beautiful expression of place. The nose is delicately aromatic; notes of fresh dark fruit, sweet cherries, violet, rose and alpine scrub. The palate is medium bodied with fine tannins and fresh acidity. Flavours of red fruit meld with mineral and savory notes, baking spices like clove and woodsy notes reminiscent of sandalwood Enjoy this with a charcoal grilled steak and roasted veggies, burgers or strong aged cheeses.
Pettirosso is the Italian word for robin redbreast, a bird that is prolific in the woods of Valtellina. The owners of the estate had a fortuitous encounter with a robin one day in the cellar. One rare occasion, a robin entered their wine cellar and landed on an old wooden barrel, as if warning them of something. A few days later, while winemaker Isabella was tasting wine, she noticed there was a slight leak from one of the acacia staves. The wine appeared to be ready for bottling, but the barrel unfortunately needed replacing. There wasn’t enough to warrant a new label so she and Emanuele chose a few barrels of that ’97 – the most mature – and it became Il Pettirosso.
The grapes grow at an altitude of 400/550 m and are hand harvested late October. The grapes macerate for about 100 days in 50 hl wooden barrels before aging for 12 months in a combination of these big 50hl barrels, stainless steel tanks and bottle.
One of the most exciting new additions to our already strong Nebbiolo lineup, the wines of Arpepe in the Lombardia region are an excellent exercise in terroir. Lifted aromatics, beautiful dried floral notes and just a kiss of wildness set these firmly apart from their neighbours in Barolo and Barbaresco. These are designed with less need for long cellaring and are drinking well now (though they’ll continue to develop over the coming years). If you’re a Barolo fan and haven’t ventured east to Lombardia, you are seriously missing out. Pro tip: the Nebbiolo grape is called Chiavennasca in this area.