Tenuta Scersce Nettare Rosso di Valtellina 2018
Rosso di Valtellina DOC is a good introduction to the wines of the Valtellina, the northernmost sub-zone in the Lombardy region. The vineyards are set against the backdrop of the Rhaetian Alps, at altitudes of up to 700 m.a.s.l. Tenuta Scerscé "Nettare" Rosso di Valtellina is 100% Nebbiolo, locally known as Chiavennasca. A little lighter and less tannic than its counterpart in Piemonte, "Nettare" is fermented and aged in stainless steel and cement tanks. As the first wine produced after the vintage, it is a "nectar" dedicated to everyone and all occasions.
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The bouquet is elegant and streamlined, but this wine really comes alive in the mouth with fresh acidity and a zesty sense of energy derived from delicate berry aromas. A great value wine, the Tenuta Scersce 2018 Rosso di Valtellina Nebbiolo Nettare opens to a lean and compact appearance with wild berry, violet, crushed stone, licorice and some iron ore, while the finish is tart and crisp. It would be great with sliced pears and cheese. But as they say here in Lombardy: "Al contadino non far sapere quant'è buono la Gorgonzola con le pere." (Translation: Never let the farmer know how good it is to taste Gorgonzola with pears.) This was a wonderful release of 16,200 bottles.
Valtellina is Italy’s only valley to run east to west and was carved by the glaciers that moved down the granite mountain slopes during the last ice age to the valley floor where the Adda river now runs east into Lago di Como and eventually into the Po river. It is unarguably one of the most dramatic landscapes in Italy and home to some of the most extreme vineyards in the world. You may feel like you’ve passed into Switzerland without knowing it when, in fact, you’ve ended up in Valtellina, the northernmost part of Lombardy that forms part of the border between Italy and Switzerland.
It’s easy to fall in love with this land and the landscape and there have, no doubt, been many people who’ve visited and then spent their days and nights dreaming up ways to take over a small plot of land to make wine from the local Nebbiolo grape, called Chiavennasca, which produces alpine red wines with personality, elegance and finesse. One such person is Cristina Scarpellini who turned the dream into reality when she agreed to rent an acre of vineyards from a viticolore client in Valtellina in 2008. At the time, Cristina was an international business lawyer and the one acre of vines was only a hobby endeavor. It didn’t take long for Cristina to understand the potential of this hobby and she transitioned out of law and moved to make it her full-time reality.
Today, Tenuta Scerscé has 7 ha (17. acres) of vineyards - 3 ha are owned in Teglio (Valgella) and 4 ha are leased (2 ha in Tirano, 1 ha Sassella, 1 ha Inferno) all planted to Nebbiolo, locally known as Chiavennasca. The vineyards range from 1500 – 2100 feet above sea level and are often less than a half-acre in size. They are planted on terraces held together by dry, stone retaining walls called muretti, some of which are over 1,000 years old. This historic architecture was awarded a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 2018.
It's taken some years, but Cristina has dedicated her time and her vision to building a new winery, which is located in the eastern side of the Valtellina zone in Tirano. The Tenuta Scerscé logo and name comes from the name of a farming tool - a traditional, two-pronged metal pitchfork/hoe, called sciarscél. This tool is used for small jobs in the vineyard, tending to vine shoots and the roots, and demonstrated the wineries commitment to sustainable farming practices.
Christina works with famed Tuscan winemaker, Attillo Pagli, who joined the winery in 2016. Together they producer three traditional wines of the region: Rosso di Valtellina DOC, Valtellina Superiore DOCG and Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG.
Containing an exciting mix of wine producing subregions, Lombardy is Italy’s largest in size and population. Good quality Pinot noir, Bonarda and Barbera have elevated the reputation of the plains of Oltrepò Pavese. To its northeast in the Alps, Valtellina is the source of Italy’s best Nebbiolo wines outside of Piedmont. Often missed in the shadow of Prosecco, Franciacorta produces collectively Italy’s best Champagne style wines, and for the fun and less serious bubbly, find Lambrusco Mantovano around the city of Mantua. Lugana, a dry white with a devoted following, is produced to the southwest of Lake Garda.
Responsible for some of the most elegant and age-worthy wines in the world, Nebbiolo, named for the ubiquitous autumnal fog (called nebbia in Italian), is the star variety of northern Italy’s Piedmont region. Grown throughout the area, as well as in the neighboring Valle d’Aosta and Valtellina, it reaches its highest potential in the Piedmontese villages of Barolo, Barbaresco and Roero. Outside of Italy, growers are still very much in the experimentation stage but some success has been achieved in parts of California. Somm Secret—If you’re new to Nebbiolo, start with a charming, wallet-friendly, early-drinking Langhe Nebbiolo or Nebbiolo d'Alba.