Wines to Seek Out
ARPEPE only works with Nebbiolo (known as Chiavennasca in Valtellina) and they have a tailored mix of wines to acutely reflect each vintage. That means that, from year to year, the product mix can be quite different, but the approach ensures a ridiculous level of quality in their wines.
Every year they make a Rosso di Valtellina, as well as a blend of parcels across three Valtellina subzones for the “Il Pettirosso” Valtellina Superiore. In good vintages, ARPEPE makes three riserva wines (one each from the Sassella, Grumello and Inferno zones of Valtellina) with extended maceration and roughly two-and-a-half years of cask aging. But it is the extraordinary vintages — such as 2009 and 2013 — that you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled. That’s when ARPEPE produces its five “cru riserva” wines. They are among the best wines in all of Italy, if not the world.
ARPEPE Rosso di Valtellina DOC
Among the very best “entry-level” Nebbiolo wines in Italy, the Rosso can complement an enormous array of cuisines. A consistent performer, year-in year-out. Fresh, aromatic and vital, with the strong and suggestive hint of minerality that shines on the very best Valtellina wines.
ARPEPE “Buon Consiglio” Valtellina Superiore Grumello Riserva
No other wine straddles the line between Nebbiolo and Burgundian Pinot Noir more than “Buon Consiglio.” From the precipitous vineyard above ARPEPE's Sondrio-based winery — which is crowned by the Grumello Castle — this wine shows a softer side to both the Nebbiolo grape and the mineral terroir of Valtellina. This wine is a collector's dream.
ARPEPE “Sesto Canto” Valtellina Superiore Inferno Riserva
Equally impressive is ARPEPE’s Riserva from a tiny plot in the Inferno subzone of Valtellina. “Sesto Canto” has many layers, with a signature resin-like note on the nose and the finish. A wine of great depth and poise, it too belongs in the cellar if you are a Nebbiolo collector, but it is a far-too-joyous wine to be hoarded for long. Go ahead and share it.
ARPEPE “Rocce Rosse” Valtellina Superiore Sassella Riserva
“Rocce Rosse” is the most iconic wine of Valtellina, coming from a craggy section of Sassella where the rocks are pinkish from iron. I was fortunate to have sampled the 1996 vintage of the “Rocce Rosse” — at 21 years of age — and it was amazingly fresh, with the energy of a wine that could run a marathon.