I know it has been a while, but I finally made it to continue my story about my visit to my preferred wine region and 2 wineries . Like I mentioned in my first blogpost about this trip with my dad , Valtellina is a a wine region that is very underestimated and sadly even unknown to many people. As this is a region that lays very close to my heart I want to promote it as much as I can 🙂
The first vineyard I visited during my stay was Rivetti & Lauro a rather new winery as they only exist since 2010. If I have to be completely honest it was a Belgian friend of mine who brought this vineyard to my attention 🙂 🙂 He told me I absolutely had to try their wines as they were spectacular. Who am I not to do as I’m told. Now that I’ve tried them I do agree with my friend and I can also speak for my dad as he bought 3 boxes of wine 🙂 . What intrigued me most about this winery was its location in Tirano. It intrigued me as I always thought all of the wineries (Nino Negri, Nero, Sandro Fay, Bettini, etc…)in Valtellina were or had to be located near/right around Sondrio (or Chiuro to be more specific). So it was something I wanted explore and know more about.
Just for the record, I am not a professional sommelier yet 🙂 I’m learning every day and I prefer learning everything by visiting and trying and I have some incredible people guiding me towards the estates that are worth visiting.
Rivetti & Lauro is a story about friends that shared a passion for many years and decided to take their passion to the next level. It was 2010 Alberto Rivetti and Dino Lauro opened the doors of their winery “Rivetti & Lauro”. Dino Lauro with over 20years experience in wine business at Nino Negri and 2 years at Salis. Alberto Rivetti on the other hand comes from the world of Coffee but also has a very good business background. They did also get a little help from former friends/ colleagues to realize their dream Catia, Emanuele and Pietro (that also have a long experience in winemaking).
As base location Rivetti & Lauro found a very beautiful unique location and are settled in the historical cellars of Torelli’s Palace. Palazzo Torelli is a 16th century castle from Count Luigi Torelli who was an important personality of the valley and in Italian history. They also still have a beautiful old wine press in their cellar!! FYI they did remodel and renovate the cellar first 🙂
Did you know that Valtellina is the largest terraced wine-growing area in the Italian mountains? It is! This basically means lots and lots of manual labor during the harvest as every grape has to be picked by hand. On top of that it is also a place where Nebbiolo is grown (or in this region better known as Chiavennasca), a grape kind that is the synonym for noble and extraordinary quality. As we all know a great wine is made on the vineyards…the human only helps it a bit, but without the good ingredients the human goes nowhere 🙂 The showpiece wine or top of the top would be the Sforzato which is the Valtellina variant of Amarone (with different grapes that is) as they also use the grape drying technique like they do in the Valpolicella wine region. So now you also know why I’m such a big fan of those 2 regions…
What distinguishes Rivetti & Lauro from other vineyards in the area is that they are experimenting by growing new grape kinds and assembling them with the traditional Nebbiolo. I know that for lots it is like swearing in church, but I must say that it resulted in some very nice assemblies. The Rivetti & Lauro winery is also one of the smaller ones in Valtellina with a production of around 25000 bottles of wine that after vinification in small stainless steel tanks they get refined in French oak barrels. I always find it very courageous to open a new winery and trying to do their own thing and experiment and basically let a new wind blow through this wine region.
Rivetti & Lauro have 8 different types of wine( 7 red and 1 white). Wines going from the full-bodied pride of Valtellina the Sforzato and Sassella (both 100%Nebbiolo) to the “experimental” wines like the Cormelo’ a Nebbiolo and Merlot blend (basically the Valtellina variant of the Super Tuscans 😉 ) or the Satama’ a Nebbiolo – Shiraz blend. One of my personal favorites from Rivetti & Lauro is the UI’ a Nebbiolo in purezza (100% Nebbiolo) that aged for 24months in steel and wooden barrels. The UI’ balances both complexity and refinement perfectly and is a real pleasure to drink!! I noticed intense aroma of raisins mixes with the spices, hazelnut with tannins and acidity typical of wines from long vitality.
Although my biggest love of this wine region and my all time favorite will always be and stay the Sforzato/ Sfurzat!!! One of the most beautiful wines around if you ask me. If you would ever have the chance every year the wine region holds a Sforzato tasting from and with all the wine makers from the region… I call it paradise!!
It was a pleasure to have met this wonderful winery and its wonderful people!! Up to the next 🙂