A few weeks ago it was time for my yearly trip to my beloved Valtellina (to see my Nonna), with this year a little detour via Trieste (to visit my dear zia Livia) and a pitstop in Franciacorta (near Brescia). As I got accompanied by my dad and stepbrother, this year’s trip was a more gastronomical version 🙂 . Nevertheless with whom I’m travelling, a yearly returning event is me visiting a new vineyard in Valtellina. With new I don’t necessarily mean one that doesn’t exist very long… but rather just one I haven’t been at before. This year I finally managed to visit the winery of Mamete Prevostini. I say finally, because unlike all the other wineries in Valtellina that are located between Tirano and Sondrio (roughly spoken), their winery is quit outside of the Sondrio area near the very charming little village of Chiavenna and not too far from the Como lake. The area still falls under Sondrio jurisdiction and it technically speaking just at the other side of the mountain (in a matter of speaking), but is just quit the drive to get there.
The fact it was so ‘far’ from the others intrigued me for a long time… Maybe it was also the trigger for wanting to visit them… that, and the fact they make extrodinary wines. During previous trips it wasn’t easy to fit a visit in my trip, so this year I build my trip around the visit and make everything fit around it 🙂 .
An interesting finding (but then again that is the reason why one visits a winery :-)) was to find out that it all actually started with their restaurant and next to that they were making a small wine production for own use to eventually become major winemaker in Valtellina. This story immediately made me think about the one I heard a few months ago at Gaja (funny enough also producers of Nebbiolo wines) where they also started with an ‘osteria’ that eventually grew into a major winery (and even around the same period in time). The only difference being that Gaja’s guests were mostly people wanting to cross the river, at Mamete is was to cross a mountain 🙂 .
If you are ever in the neighborhood I do recommend you stopping at Mamete Prevostini!! For their wines obviously, but also for their restaurant Crotasc (located next to the winery). The meal we had there was without doubt and exaggerating AMAZING. Dishes made with top quality ingredients (prepared how they should be), very friendly and competent staff and a very nice wine selection (Next to their own wines they also have a very nice selection of both top wines from their colleague winemakers in Valtellina, but also from the rest of Italy). Combine all of the above mentioned with a cozy authentic location (old and new interior design styles combined) and you have a winner (or at least for me)!! Maybe I should plan my next trip to Valtellina around a stop at this restaurant 😉 . The dishes on the pictures below might seem regular, but I can say for a fact I could have licked my plates clean. All accompanied by a very nice 2015 Sommarovina (Valtellina Superiore) with on the nose herb/balsamic aromas combined with a firm palate of dried black cherry and I might even say mocha.
Techically speaking the history of Mamete Prevostini started around the 1960’s, but it wasn’t until the moment Mamete took over the torch in the late 1980’s from his father that the way of winemaking started to change. It must be said that this was the case in many wineries in Valtellina, as before they opted quantity over quality… luckily thanks to people like Mamete (and some of his colleagues) they started understanding ‘Quality’ was the way to go 🙂 .
Mamete’s arrival brought many innovations both in the cultivation of vineyards and in winemaking. With a very recent highlight or better latest innovation, in 2013, their CasaClima Wine Cellar. CasaClima basically stands for sustainability and eco-friendly . At Mamete Prevositi they see it as their responsibility towards the future and it’s new generations to treat nature with respect and try to pollute as little as possible.
The CasaClima is not open for public, so you can only visit their historical cellar… but is also very charming to visit, especially if you have the lovely Daniela showing you around 🙂
Mamete’s vineyards are spread over 2 area’s (or that’s how you could see it). The first and smaller area is close to their historic winery in Mese or better in Piuro. At this vineyard they cultivate the Gewurztraminer and Riesling grapes for their Passito. All the other grapes are cultivated in vineyards spread between Sondrio/ Montagna In Valtellina and Tirano. This is also why they decided to build their new wine cellar closer to where all the grapes are, to avoid stressing the grapes but also to pollute less by avoiding use of all trucks driving for the vineyard to the historical winery. Which all fits in their vision of trying to be very ecological. 95% of grapes they grow are obviously Nebbiolo (or Chiavennasca as they call it in Valtellina), the remaining 5 procent are Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Rieseling, Traminer, Pinot Bianco and Incrocio Manzoni for the few white wines they make.
Something I cannot say enough (and I repeat myself) is that next time you drink, buy or want to drink or buy a wine from Valtellina and are wondering why they have a ‘higher’ price… you must actually ‘Google’ the words ‘Valtellina vineyards’ and take a look at the pictures that are presented. Unlike in many other wine producing areas, for winegrowers in Valtellina it’s not possible to use machines to do the grape picking for them… ALL IS DONE MANUALLY ( for the whole 6000ha of land in Valtellina where grapes are grown). And all of this is even before all of the work in the cellar has to get done. Respect!! In case Googling is not your thing, feast your eyes on below pictures.
The wines Mamete Prevostini produces all have a very distinct and unique character . I would say a mix of elegance, finesse, power, for a great interpretation of Nebbiolo in Valtellina. Lucky us for beeing able to try them all 🙂 🙂 under the expert guidance of Daniela. FYI Daniela has only recently joined the Mamete team, after finishing her studies (not in wine). Although she has only been working here a short period of time (and even in wine in general), I must say she sounds like a real pro who has been in wine for many years (but I guess that’s what happens when you do something with passion).
Starting with the young wines, to the classics, through the cru’s and reserves to finish with an apotheosis aka their Sfurzat wines!! What a tasting 🙂 Even when you taste their young wines you feel the potential they have… so you can imagine how it was to taste the big guns. If I would have to pick a favort I would go for the ‘Valtellina Superiore Riserva’ that in my opinion had everything I like in a red wine: well balanced palate alongside fine-grained tannins and bright acidity!! Real beauty.
I would be a big liar if I would say the Sforzat wines (Corte di Cama and Albareda) didn’t do me anything as they are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I was astonished by the freshness they still have in them. I mean it are wines that have been ‘aging’ for almost 3 years. Very delicate aromas and concentrated palate. But if you really want to know if I’m right or not… only 1 thing to do… or maybe 2: to either traval to Valtellina or find out where they sell these beautiful wines close to where you are living and by it 🙂 🙂
I could keep talking, but one has to stop somewhere…