This is a stellar red from the very, very north of Italy. Made from similar materials to the Nebbiolos of Piemonte, this is delineated by its extreme position on the slopes of the Alps, and its sheltered south-facing vines.
Bright and juicy with delicious notes of black pepper and subtle spices over red berry, cherry and redcurrant fruits. There is a sublime, if delicate, perfume that really pulls you into the glass in a way that isn't altogether normal for Italian reds. But the palate shows more typicity with an approachable, fine tannic structure and mouth-watering, supporting acidity. Poised, precise and clearly delineated.
It's absolutely beautiful.
Open for about half an hour or decant it - you'll be grateful - some of the flavours can get held up in the wine because of the very pure approach to the winemaking. It's unfiltered, unfined and sees no suplhur during the winemaking process. A touch before bottling? Very possibly. But otherwise, this is wine that is as natural as it comes.
The Sega family (Italian agronomists, not games-console makers) are one of the few remaining producers in Valtellina who use traditional methods, right up against the Italian-Swiss border. Regardless of the efforts required to ensure successful harvests each year, their team traverse the slopes of their vineyards, which are extremely awkward and often seriously dangerous to harvest. Yet it is hand harvesting all the way, minimum intervention in the winery and only traditional grapes. In this case, it is almost entirely Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) and, though there are other varieties making this technically a field blend, it is very definitely a superb example of the Valtellina style, tempering and the north Italian Nebbiolos of Barolo and Barbaresco, while simultaneously offering freshness, elegance, concentration of flavour and better value for money.
The Alpi Retiche are a subsection of the Oriental Alps, that come down from Switzerland into the northern reaches of Lombardy. The web-like network of peaks that gives the Rheatian Alps their name is a spectacular and dramatic backdrop to the vineyards to its south, yet are more useful even than they are beautiful. This is because their height, breadth and variety, protect the vineyards below from seriously aggressive weather fronts. In addition, the vineyards are situated close to the foothills which ascend rapidly to the snow. In fact, the Valtellina DOC, which is the heart of the Alpi Retiche IGT zone, has a maximum altitude limit of 600 metres above sea level, which is considerably lower than the 4000 metres peaks about ten miles behind them. The other climatic reason for the possibility of vineyards is the south, south-west facing vines. These capture the sun's heat as much as is possible for the northerly areas to manage and on account of their granite-rich roils, there is a perfect, if boutique in scale, setup for the growing of seriously high-quality grapes.
Look at the picture. It's not a common sight from a vineyard.
Style: Vibrant, Sustainable, Pure, Perfumed, Organic, Mineral, Medium Bodied, Juicy, Fruity, Fresh, Engaging, Elegant, Complex, Bright, Biodynamic, Balanced
Best food matches: Wild Boar, Warm Salads, Venison, Trout, Steak, St Stephen's Day, Soft Cheeses, Salads, Roasts, Red Meats, Poultry, Pasta, Mature Cheeses, Lamb, Hard Cheeses, Grilled Vegetables, Game, Fine Dining, Duck, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Casseroles, Beef