Cool, Alpine Nebbiolo - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Cool, Alpine Nebbiolo

Scerscé’s steep vineyards in Valgella (Photo courtesy of the winery)

Cristina Scarpellini, a trained lawyer, first visited Valtellina in 2006 while working on a business project. She fell in love with Valtellina’s dramatic landscape and its nebbiolo-based wines, and began dipping her toe into viticulture, buying a few small plots while still commuting to her home in Bergamo. By 2010 she decided to commit herself fully to making wine, despite the difficulties of working in a region with slopes so steep that all vineyard operations require intense manual labor. “I thought this was the place to make wine in the right way,” she says. “It is not easy, but it is unique.”

Scarpellini now owns 7.4 acres of vines and rents ten, making around 46,000 bottles a year in her recently-completed cellar. Most of her vines are in Valgella, the largest and easternmost of Valtellina’s five subzones. She works traditionally, aging her wines in large Slavonian casks, but she may be the only producer in the valley to ferment in tulip-shaped concrete vats, a vessel she first saw in Burgundy, and one that she believes preserves fruit purity better than wood. This is the first vintage of her Valgella Riserva, a lithe and elegant wine that shows the cool freshness and savory complexity so characteristic of nebbiolo from the Alps.


Scerscé 2019 Valtellina Superiore Valgella Riserva

Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.

is the Italian wine editor at Wine & Spirits magazine.

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