The vineyards in Valtellina are planted on the northern side of the Adda river, centred around the city of Sondrio and rising, in some places, almost vertically. Precious parcels are terraced into the steep hillsides where Chiavennasca – the local name for Nebbiolo – is planted to soak up as much of the late sun as possible. This is back breaking work requiring an average of 1200 hours per hectare (compared to 300-400 in the Langhe) and the only machinery used in the vineyards is the funicular to transport the grapes down the slopes.
Giuseppe is also a beekeeper, cultivating both his bees and vines sustainably to encourage biodiversity, and the land teems with life and energy. Chiavennasca of Valtellina makes a lighter framed wine than its Piemonte siblings, built more on finesse than power. But what is really striking about Giuseppe’s Valtellina Superiore ‘Pietrisco’ is its energy and perfume. Incredibly fine, there are notes of rose, orange, red berries and tea, the wine’s shape and feel driven by the purity of fruit and silky tannins. Production here is tiny, just a few thousand bottles, and we are privileged to bring some to Australia.