2012 Ar.Pe.Pe Valtellina Superiore DOCG, Sassella "Stella Retica" Lombardia, Italy (750ml)
From the producer: Tucked in between the Orobic and Retic Alps just south of the Italian-Swiss border, you’ll find the terraced vineyards of ARPEPE. At the helm of this storied estate, located in the Grumello subzone of Valtellina in Lombardy, is the fifth generation of the Pelizzatti Perego family.
The roots of this blue-chip estate go back to the 1860s, when the current generation’s great-great-grandfather Giovanni founded a successful winery in the area, then known only as “Pelizzatti.” Over 150 years of history have passed since then, including the dark days of the 1970s during which the current generation’s grandfather fell ill, and the family was forced to sell the Pelizzatti brand along with some of their vineyards. The more recent history of the estate is an almost deus-ex-machina turn of events: the family re-founded their company under the ARPEPE label in 1984, got back many of their proprietary vineyards from renters, and were able to reclaim their cellar in Grumello. This 100% Nebbiolo is vibrant, with notes of fresh cut flowers, rose petals and sour cherries, held together by a backbone of lithe tannins. Using traditional winemaking methods - the grapes are harvested manually even though the vines cling to a rocky slope - Ar Pe Pe has achieved a wine of subtle complexity that speaks to its Alpine roots. Unlike the more famous Nebbiolo appellations of Barolo or Barbaresco, this wine is ready for tonight’s table and would appeal to lovers of Burgundian Pinot.