Ar.Pe.Pe: The Bartolo Mascarello of Valtellina, Top 10 Nebbiolo Producer, Among the Most Singular Expressions of Nebbiolo in Italy, Nebbiolo Geek Heaven
– If You Know, You Know
– The Precision Reminds me of Brisset
– If You Don’t, Buy This And You’ll Know
– The Darling of the Most Knowledgable Nebbiolo Geeks
– Totally Different than Langhe Nebbiolo
– More of a Chambolle/Volnay Sensibility
2015 Arpepe Valtellina Superiore Grumello “Rocca De Piro”
– Nose: Some Spice, Some Chestnut
– Gamey, Feral, Sweet
– Gorgeous Florals
– Palate: Absolutely Bonkers
– Fiercely Energetic and Textured
– Elegant 5 Year Old Tannins
– Perfectly Ripened Mid Season Cherries
– Unreal Mineral Tingle
– Amazing Length
Against the Mountains
Valtellina has to be one of the hardest regions to make wine in the world. First, it’s at the foot of the Alps and the slopes are roughly as brutal as the Mosel. Second, it’s cold up there (average high of 75 in July!) and getting grapes to ripen has historically been difficult. With the warmer temperatures of
the past 30 years, this has been less of a problem but winemakers still seem to struggle with picking grapes that have fruit and balance yet also display phenolic ripeness.
As with most things, some Valtellina winemakers are average, some are below average and some shred the right hand side of the bell curve. Today’s winemaker is the last winery on the right of the bell curve. There is no one at their level in Valtellina. There is a very very good 2nd tier in Valtellina of maybe 5-10 producers (we sell 2 of them) and then there is a steep decline in quality. But there is a star on top of that Christmas Tree and today’s winery is that star. This is the opposite of what Fass Selections does, in that they are already incredibly famous, and now we are working with them (and getting the wines from the estate). Usually we find someone under a rock and then they get reviews and recognition later on. 2-4-7 years sometimes. Now we are representing what has to be served in Zeus’ den.
The winery is Arpepe and they are the DRC/Bartolo Mascarello of Valtellina. These wines are truly incredible and because Valtellina is almost unknown (it’s even a pain to get there) they are insane values for what is one of the top 10 producers of Nebbiolo in the world. This is like if Bartolo Mascarello made wine in Valtellina. It has that same elite sense of purity, harmony and length. Plus really all star aromatics. They sent me three bottles and I had planned on opening them all 3 and tasting them side by side but I opened the first one and it was so complex and ever changing that I knew I had to study the wines throughout the evening. Each one would have to get a night of its own because each one of these wines were not only rock stars but the style is something I don’t think I’ve ever tasted in Nebbiolo before. I’ve tasted them in the past but never sat with bottles like I do now. After the first wine I opened two more over a few weeks and it was very difficult to decide which wine would be first Fass Selections Arpepe offer. But it had to be the final wine as it was just so brilliant I couldn’t stop talking or thinking about it.
The 2015 Arpepe Valtellina Superiore Grumello “Rocca De Piro” for $44.99 on a 4-pack is a remarkable, magnificent wine. I want to say that this is not only a great Valtellina, as I said before these are easily a top 10 producer of Nebbiolo in Italy but they are so different than Langhe it’s really an apples to oranges comparison. It’s like comparing CA Cab to Bordeaux. They are just different. Everyone knows it. But the Valtellina of Arpepe are not only different than all the other Valtellina they are to my palate almost the platonic ideal of what Nebbiolo can be. There is a Chambolle/Volnay-ishness to these wines that is to die for. It seems like almost a next step evolution of Nebbiolo. They are lighter than Langhe Nebbiolo but there is an intensity with balance thing and the purest Nebbiolo fruit you will ever taste. My god the fruit on these wines, once they have properly breathed, is just something to behold. The most jaded wine lover in the world, with a cellar full of Leroy and DRC, would give pause after a sip and sniff of today’s wine after a couple hours in a decanter. It has that elite quality in fruit, intensity and harmony that makes it a top 10 Nebbiolo. But it also has a youth drinkability factor in the wines that makes them even better. It’s because the tannins are ripe and the balance is off the charts. I drank every sip of all of my samples. That rarely if ever happens. This wine should be $75 but it’s $44.99 and it’s crazy good.
This is most of my original note below. Really captures the enthusiasm.
Oh wow. This is amazing.
Nose starts out reticent. Some spice, some chestnut. It will come. And it does! After 30 Minutes this wine’s aromas goes from 0-100 and it’s just incredible. Gamey, feral, sweet aromas with saline develop. Wow.
But man oh man the palate is just bonkers. Sweet, decadent but fiercely energetic and textured. Amazingly elegant tannins and such purity. OMG. This is sick. The level of refinement combined with the purity of fruit is insane. Perfectly ripened mid season cherries. Unreal mineral tingle throughout that is so distinctive. Wow. Incredible concentration and just perfect ripeness. The fruit is plentiful and prodigious. Amazing length. After an hour the nose is just killer. Amazing. Stunning smokey cherries. Like a potpourri. What a wine. What was left on day 2 was epic.
Wow, what a nose. Super cherry, so precise, only the best cherries, amazing depth and clarity. Spice, florals and refinement. Stunning purity and finesse. So delicate. So stunning. Wow. Balance is next level. Just sick. This will age for decades. But man can you enjoy this wine young.
The soil in Grumello is sandy which enables this to be enjoyed young. Aged in 100% Chestnut which gives it such uniqueness and distinctiveness.Fonte: Rockss and Fruit