Our 3rd day in Lombardy brought us to the biggest name in Valtellina: Nino Negri. In fact the managing director had just returned from New York to receive the winery’s Wine Spectator award as one of the top 100 wineries in the world.
Located just outside Sondrio in a former castle, Nino Negri is part of the Gruppo Italiano Vini. It is the feather in their cap having won a case full of 3 Bicchieri awards. We had a winery tour, followed by a vineyard tour which in Valtellina is always exciting. The terraces are absolutely amazing and date back 3,000 years! They are a testimony to man’s determination to control Nature.
We returned to the winery for a conducted tasting: a superb white not available in the States, IGT Bianco Ca’ Brione 2013, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Incrocio Manzoni, Chiavennasca; Sassella Le Tense 2010, a lovely expression of Valtellina nebbiolo with 70% aged in big barrels and 30% in barriques; Inferno Carlo Negri 2010; Fracia single vineyard 2010 and their flagship wine: 5 Stelle, a wine to rival a good Barolo or Barbaresca.
We then went to their restaurant in the Fracia vineyard:
Our menu: Sciatt and salumi vari; Pizzoccheri (buckwheat pasta), Guanciale di manzo al forno con patate, torta di mele e amaretti, washed down with the Fracia DOCG
Our last stop of the day was Ar.Pe.Pe with a history that dates back to 1860. In 1984, there was a rift in the family and the winery was sold off and with his inheritance, Arturo Pellizzati Perego bought part of the original vineyards and built a state-of-the-art winery partly under the steep Grumello terraces.
We had a personal tour conducted by his daughter, Isabella, followed by a tasting: Rosso di Valtellina 2012 which was pretty complex for their basic wine; Valtellina Superiore Riserva 2010, a soft round expression of nebbiolo; Sassella Rocce Rosse 2002, a cru vineyard with subdued acidity because of its age (they release their cru wines after 7 years of barrel aging); Ultimi Raggi 2006 which means the last rays of the sun. The grapes are late-harvested, which is Arpepe’s interpretation of the sfursat process.
I filled my case with 5 wines from today’s visits so I am ready for a nebbiolo tasting when I return home featuring nebbiolo from the Langhe and Valtellina.
Tomorrow we say goodbye to our magnificent hotel in Sondrio, the Grand Hotel della Posta and proceed south to Lago di Aseo and the white wine portion of our Lombardy tour.