Hot Off The Press and NEW Wines Added. Alpine Nebbiolo “Riserva” for Just the Sixth Time in Twenty Years from the Artisan of Valtellina Superiore! Wines Like These That Inspired the Opening of IWM In 1999.
You have heard us scream about this twice now, and we are not done. Easily one of the most exciting wines of 2020/2021 to arrive, and sell out at IWM, were the new Alpine Nebbiolo releases from Ar.Pe.Pe. Well, we are not alone, the critics are chiming in on it as well, and we are fine with that, as this obscure region deserves its praise and attention. We are now pleased to present a small allocation of miniscule quantities one last time – with NEW wines added.
“I served an Ar. Pe. Pe. Sassella next to the best of Burgundy and Piedmont at a charity dinner, and it showed beautifully. The best wines of Valtellina can hold their own alongside long-established benchmarks. In my view, Valtellina is a region with tremendous potential, especially as the world furthers its love affair with Nebbiolo.” – Antonio Galloni
We could not agree more with this critic's quote above. And now Monica Larner has added, "this is the quintessential mountain Nebbiolo" in reference to her tasting of the Stella Retica bottling featured here today. Dare we say, move over Barolo and Barbaresco, let alone Gattinara and Carema, the new “King of the North” or the rising star for the noble Nebbiolo might just be from Valtellina and its artisanal master, Ar.Pe.Pe.? At IWM we can emphatically say the Perego family may have produced their pinnacle expressions with the new Riserva releases from the classic 2013 vintage. Mind you this is a family that has been painstakingly tending to the alpine Nebbiolo vines on the sheer granite terraces just south of the Swiss border since 1860. Sure, it is another artisanal wine story we love to share, but more importantly these are the ethereal, mind-bending wines that get us so excited about what we do and are simply why Italian Wine Merchants came to be.
“Wine is a labor of love.” We so often hear this phrase from winemakers, but there is perhaps no producer or wine that epitomizes this statement better than Ar.Pe.Pe. in Valtellina. It is here in the mountainous alpine region of Lombardia, that Nebbiolo, known locally as Chiavennasca, clingingly grows up to a dizzying 700 of meters altitude for a truly unique terroir-driven expression of Italy’s noble varietal. At first glance, you feel you might need a mountain climbing apparatus or some serious Velcro just to walk the vineyards. This is truly extreme viticulture; these are heights with angles of steepness that challenge and surpass those of Hermitage, Priorat, or even that of Cinque Terre. The threat of landslides and vertigo are very real, and the harsh reality is that this unforgiving terroir makes little economic sense for winemaking. It is mindboggling to hear that these steep, alpine vineyards at Ar.Pe.Pe. require up to 1,500 hours of labor per hectare each vintage. In comparison to some important wineries in Tuscany and Piedmont, that is three to four times the amount of labor. Needless to say, it was a privilege to taste this new line-up of releases.
The Ar.Pe.Pe. Valtellina Superiore Riservas have only been produced six times over the past twenty years and they are in miniscule quantities of just 500 cases for the world. Now add to that a cult-like following for the wines, and you begin to realize why very little arrives to the US. To further put this in perspective, we were supplied five-ounce tasting samples for a handful of the wines as there is simply not enough of the precious juice to go around. Fortunately, the IWM team has tasted and narrowed it down to three favorite selections that our enthusiasts and collectors should explore and it begins with; (1) the most Barolo-like of the wines, the Riserva Sassella Nuova Regina, where the nose alone is worth the price of admission, (2) the discreet Riserva Inferno Sesto Canto, which was all about quiet class, precision, depth, with a slow and persistent build, and (3) the exceedingly rare Riserva Sassella Ultimi Raggi, which showcases a more concentrated side of the noble Nebbiolo from these parts, and is, in a word - delicious.
These are classically produced wines, where the transparency of the Nebbiolo shines through. They are as Antonio Galloni, and many others have stated, “Readers with classically leaning palates will flip out over the wines.”
FEATURED WINE(s): The Prized Nebbiolo Riservas of AR.PE.PE. and Valtellina
For those new to this winery and the wines, Ar.Pe.Pe, is an acronym for their founder Arturo Pelizzatti Perego. The wines featured here are each a magical expression for the Nebbiolo purist, as well as those that appreciate old school Burgundy and Rioja, or delicate wines of absolute finesse, acidity, chiseled structure, and quiet power. They truly are a unique expression of the land, and alongside Sandro Fay, and a few others, they are what make Valtellina so exciting to watch and taste. This is further heightened as we enter years that show the impact of global warming for these northmost winemaking regions. The wines are not inexpensive, but they are grueling to produce and arrive with seven years of age and the beginning of tertiary development. If you love discovering the magic of Nebbiolo, this is a chapter to read and experience.
ADDITIONAL NOTES AND REVIEWS:
2015 AR.PE.PE. Valtellina Superiore Sassella Stella Retica
Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: "From Sassella, one of the most celebrated villages in the greater Valtellina appellation on the northern bank of the Adda River, this is the quintessential mountain Nebbiolo. Named for the "star of the Rhaetian Alps," the Ar. Pe. Pe. 2015 Valtellina Superiore Nebbiolo Sassella Stella Retica opens slowly to reveal wild berry, cassis, smoke, tar and crushed granite. The wine is gentle and polished, wrapping smoothly over the senses. It has has ample time to soften in the bottle and is drinking beautifully right now with some Alpine cheese wedges."
2013 AR.PE.PE. Valtellina Superiore Riserva Sassella Nuova Regina
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “It is a Riserva that is produced only in truly extraordinary vintages and that has only happened ten times for the Sassella Nouva Regina in past forty years, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2013. It is one of the veteran Sassella Riservas from the Ar. Pe. Pe. portfolio and is sourced from 50-year-old vines at 500 meters altitude within a subplot of Sassella. In this vineyard more rock than earth emerges, and it shows in the wine. For myself, and the IWM team, it is the single wine that sealed the deal, a personal favorite with its Barolo-like qualities. While this is typically the more linear wine of the estate, this expression is more approachable and pronounced than the more refined Inferno Sesto Canto at the moment. The nose alone is worth the price of admission and simply intoxicates anyone in the room. On the palate the saga continues as the wine shows more concentration, staining the palate and lingering for a long finish. You can expect to find red fruit galore, highlighted by strawberry compote, red cherries, kirsch, and accompanied by nuances of wild herbs, underbrush, spice and minerality. WE LOVED THIS WINE. Just 500 cases produced.”
Monica Larner, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: "A release of about 6,000 bottles, the Ar. Pe. Pe. 2013 Valtellina Superiore Riserva Sassella Nuova Regina draws its fruit from terraced vineyards delineated by rocky drywalls. The vines are at least 50 years old and planted in friable metamorphic rock or gneiss shaped by glaciers. This wine is made in a highly traditional manner with extended skin maceration in oak casks, and all the harvest work is done by hand. This is a true beauty with enormous finesse and a deep well of aromatic nuances that center around wild berries, blue flowers and iron ore. The wine is carefully aged with fine and silky tannins. It tastes great, so if you have a bottle you can drink it now or wait longer if that is your pleasure."
2013 AR.PE.PE. Valtellina Superiore Riserva Sassella Ultimi Raggi
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “It is another Riserva that is seldom produced and that has only happened nine times for the Sassella Nouva Regina in past forty years 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2013. Here the grapes are sourced from the highest point within a subplot of Sassella 600+ meters in altitude. It is also the latest selection of grapes to be picked, which typically happens in mid-November. The grapes essentially dry on the vine and are more concentrated. The crushed juice then spends a month on the skins and another three to four years in large old chestnut casks. This is the warmer expression of the group with sweeter fruit. This is not a sforzato, and while there is concentration, it is never cloying and remains incredibly light on its feet. It is absolutely delicious, and simply more outgoing than the other expressions listed here. You can expect nuances of macerated cherries, wild berries, red licorice, crushed flowers, dancing on a base of minerality and salinity. For myself, it is the perfect winter wine that I want at the dinner table to share with friends and family.”
Michaela Morris, Decanter Magazine: "A throwback to when Sforzato could be made with grapes dried directly on the vine. Bunches grown at 600 metres are harvested just before the first snowfall - on 13 November in 2013. This is charismatic and delightfully confounding in its timeless, weightless quality. Gorgeous pressed flowers, juniper and potting soil punctuate dried fruit notes. Depth and concentration are rivalled by vigour and juiciness, while layers of tactile, clayey tannins meld with a gravelly mouthfeel. Blood orange rings out on the finish. The first vintage produced since 2009."
2013 AR.PE.PE. Valtellina Superiore Riserva Inferno Sesto Canto
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “The Riserva is produced only in truly extraordinary growing seasons and that has only happened two times for the Inferno Sesto Canto, and that is 2009 and 2013. This is essentially a new wine for Ar. Pe. Pe. sourced from 50-year-old vines at 450 meters altitude within a subplot of Inferno. The wine undergoes an extraordinarily long maceration of 70 days (yes, seventy). And from the all-star line-up we tasted, this was the discreet wine with quiet class, precision, depth, and a slow and persistent build. There are nuances of cherry, raspberries, dried fruit, lilac, herbs, baked earth, and salinity. It is subtle but powerful, you have to watch for the flavors to build, but it keeps you coming back for more. The wine needs aeration to be enjoyed today. With its coiled core you can expect amazing things to come. Just 500 cases produced.”
This is an email ONLY offer! If you would like to take advantage of this offer (that is only available until 11:59, Friday 3/5, or while supplies last), we are asking that you email orders back to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, connect with your portfolio manager, or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store.
All orders subject to confirmation and IWM is not responsible for typographical errors on pricing.
All my best,