I had a fantastic evening while in Sondrio, Italy which is the centre of the Valtellina region. I was only in the village for one night and I wanted to try as much of their wines as possible. The region is very difficult to get to. No express trains or airports close by, just narrow Italian apline roads. See my map from school below. I have put a circle around the small narrow Vally.
In the early afternoon I walked into Il Tabernario, enoteca della Alpi.
The man working there spoke good english and recommended the best vineyard zones for me to walk trough and to come back when they reopen after 6:00pm for a tasting.
They sell only local wines made from the Nebbiolo grape, or as they call it Chiavennasca.
I was set up with a flight of wines from a variety of producers and from each of the DOCG zones. There are no more than 40 producers in this small region of only 1,250 ha. So you can imagine if you are involved in wine everyone knows everyone. The DOCG classified zones (which is held in the highest regard) are as follows from West to East:
Valtellina Superoire DOCG
Also, there there is a style of wine called Sfurzat where the grapes are left to dry for three months before vinification. Sfurzat is made only in the best years and holds the DOCG when the grapes are from one of the above mentioned zones.
I was treated with great hospitality by the Sommelier Marco. He said he is a wine geek and enjoys talking about the region. He presented me with a map of the region with explanation and plate of the local cheese and Bresola meat. The cheese pairs perfectly with the Sfurzat and the mouth filling texture and fat from the Bresola was a perfect match with the acidity of the wines. For those of you that are not familiar with Nebbiolo wines, they are typically high acid, high tannin with medium body. I always like to experiment with this wine and surf n' turf. Tannins for the beef and light enough body for the seafood.
Towards the end of my tastings some of the locals came in and brought some unique wines that they invited me to share: sparkling wine from Sicily, a Champagne (FRA) and a local producer came in with a magnum of Chiavennasca he bottled that day.
See some photos below of the terraced vineyards, the wines and Marco:)