Ascesa Rosso di Valtellina
The Ascesa Rosso di Valtellina hails from the extreme mountainous north of Italy. It is grown on south-facing sunny terraces at elevations up to 1800 feet. All work is completely done by hand due to the rocky terrain and 40 degree slopes. No oak is used, giving full expression to the Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) grape.
Rosso di Valtellina DOC
Still, dry red wine
Granite and schist topsoil over rock. Very poor mountainous soils.
From two south facing vineyards at different altitudes. The lower vineyard provides red fruit and body, while the upper vineyard imparts acidity and minerality.
Fermented in steel with ambient yeast, 12 days of maceration.
Aged 6 months in stainless steel. Minimal sulfur only added at bottling.
Up to 10 years
The Ascesa Rosso di Valtellina is pale garnet and translucent. It has the signature Nebbiolo orange rim.
Sage and mint, celery seed, tiny strawberries, fresh rose petals, chocolate bark, orange, cinnamon, tomato plant, clay pot, raspberry, cherry syrup.
This wine is a refreshing summer red, but can still stand up to grilled meats. Pure expression of Nebbiolo, no oak.
Prosciutto and Salumi, hamburgers, grilled sausages, pizza.
Why We Love This Wine
Wine Production in Valtellina is always small due to the tremendous labor involved. The extreme slope of narrow terraces have to be worked by hand and replanting is very expensive and difficult, so many of the older vineyards remain. Soil washes down and has to be brought back up on mule or small trucks. Vines need to be picked in three or four passes as they become ripe. Grapes are then loaded onto backpack baskets and heroically carried down the hill. This wine is a blend of a high altitude vineyard and one about halfway up. Some vines are as old as 70 years.
The resulting wine is a ghostly northern echo of Nebbiolo full of terroir. The color is palest garnet with a fair degree of transparency. It still has the classic Nebbiolo orange rim. The nose is a beautiful combination of herbal (sage and marjoram) and ripely red fruit. The mouthfeel is heavier than one would expect from a wine with 12.5% alcohol. On one hand it is is clean, bright and cheery, but it also has a tense, wound up side of it. Almost feels like a Pinot noir in weight and flavor, but the finish reminds you that it is Nebbiolo with higher acid and tannin. Even with no oak, the Nebbiolo grape brings enough tannin to stand up magnificently to grilled meats.
$24 / Bottle
About the Winery
The Ascesa wines are produced by Fabrizio Testa in the Valtellina region of northern Lombardy. Winemaking has taken Fabri from Tuscany to Sonoma and now Valtellina, where he has a chance to make wine in one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. The wine is made at the now renovated Rainoldi winery in the town of Trevisio. Two more wines; a Superiore and a Sforzato will be added next year.
Images Courtesy of Ascesa