2018 Tenuta Scerscé, Chiavenasca (Nebbiolo) “Nettare” Rosso di Valtellina DOC, Lombardy, Italy.
The Scerscé wines are brand new to me and I was excited to try their latest release, this beautiful Nettare Rosso di Valtellina DOC, which shows a quite expressive array of flavors and complexity of form will dense mouth feel and classic Nebbiolo red fruited character without any wood influence, allowing the mountain terroir to shine through, along with an exotic array of spices, snappy herbs and crushed floral notes. Scersce was founded by Cristina Scarpellini, a lawyer, who turned her dream of owning and running a Valtellina winery into reality when she agreed to rent an acre of vineyards from a viticolore client in this remote alpine area back in 2008. At the time, according to her importer Dalla Terra, Cristina was an international business lawyer and the one acre of vines was only a hobby endeavor, but It didn’t take long for Cristina to understand the potential of this project and she transitioned out of her law practice and moved to make this adventure her full-time job. Tenuta Scerscé today with winemaker Attilio Pagli has gained a stellar reputation and at present produces three traditional wines of the region, this Rosso di Valtellina DOC, which is fermented and raised in stainless steel and cement tanks, plus a Valtellina Superiore DOCG and Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG, which are all from 100% Chiavennasca, the local named for Nebbiolo. Rosso di Valtellina DOC is a good introduction to the wines of the Valtellina, the northernmost sub-zone in the Lombardy region. This 2018 delivers racy layers of briery raspberry, strawberry, cherry reduction that are accented by lavender, rosemary, anise and just the right amount of earthy and leathery elements to keep these interesting, with a lengthy finish, this is a wonderful example of Rosso di Valtellina and is drinking nicely right now.

Valtellina, in Italy’s Lombardy region, is set on glacial formed sandy granitic soils with clay, loam and gravel, and located near the Swiss border where the Alps rise to staggering heights with tiny mountain villages, is Italy’s only valley to run east to west and was carved by the glaciers that moved down the granite mountain slopes during the last ice age to the valley floor where the Adda river now runs east into Lago di Como and eventually into the Po river. Valtellina is an exceptional terroir, which is unarguably one of the most dramatic landscapes in Italy and home to some of the most extreme vineyards in the country if not the whole world. In 2018 UNESCO, the winery adds, declared Valtellina, with its of tiny vineyards perched upon impossibly steep slopes and built into ancient terraces called muretti, a World Heritage Site. Some of these terraces date back to the middle ages, it seriously looks more like the steep Mosel than you can imagine, this is a seriously old wine region, though very isolated and off the beaten path. Valtellina has really only become famous here in recent times with wines such as this, as well as Arpepe (Ar.Pe.Pe.), one of the region’s best and most well recognized producers. Scarpellini’s winery, which is located in the eastern side of the Valtellina zone in Tirano, was named and pays homage to the historic farming culture here, with nod to the importance of the land, with sciarscél, being a traditional two-pronged pitchfork, used on the ground around the shoots and roots of the grape vines. I could a lot more enjoy this stuff, it is very tasty and it has the poise and freshness of natural acidity to go with a variety of food choices and is a great wine to enjoy with a simple meal, quietly providing pleasure on its medium bodied palate, it also it a nice alternative to Langhe Nebbiolo. I am now very excited to explore Scerscé’s small lot DOCG cru Sforzato and Valtellina Superiore bottlings.
($32 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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