94 insider points
Tre-Bicchieri 3-Glass Award Winner, 2016 Gambero Rosso
This Sommarovina Vineyard Nebbiolo is gorgeous! It's an herbal, smooth Nebbiolo with beautiful red fruits like raspberry and sour cherry, lively acidity and medium-weighted mouthfeel. The tannins wrap around the tongue like a silk blanket while there is a brambly finish mingled with thyme & sage that sits nicely on the back of the palate for a minute or two. After this wine opens up for an hour it all comes together nicely and the acid balanced with the tannins combine to a savory elegant epicenter. Like that moment when you finally get the kids to settle down and you can kick back and relax. Do not compare this Nebbiolo to anything from Piedmont, it's not the same. This Valtellina has a more relaxed, savory, sophisticated style that all Nothern Italian red lovers will adore, I know I do. The Sommarovina Vineyard is loaded with sand and granite rock mingled with a touch of silt. I'm glad to have the opportunity to feature this one, please enjoy it and get a few to have for ALL sunday family dinners, it's that kind of wine!
~James Byus III, Premier Wine Concierge/Italian Wine Lover, invino
"Mamete Prevostini has always been a key figure of the Lombardy winegrowing world. He is chairman of the Consorzio Vini di Valtellina and also of Ascovilo, the regional body for the promotion of Lombard wines abroad. However, he does not neglect his winery, which is constantly one of the best in the Valtellina, due to its very sound range."
~Gambero Rosso Review of the winery.
Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G.
15 months in French Barriques
Virtually No US Market Presence, Lowest Retail $ available
Get your “iron fist in a velvet glove” for less with this off-the-radar, 100% Nebbiolo-based red from Lombardy. And while you’re enjoying a taste of Alpine winemaking at its purist, you also get to experience Gambero Rosso’s highest honor. This mouthful of a name and serious mouthful of a red is a Tre Bicchiere winner—Italy’s most prized award for wine.
“Demand and appreciation for Nebbiolo has skyrocketed as prices have risen for the best Barolos and Barbarescos, the most famous Nebbiolo wines,” writes the New York Times in 2016. “Valtellina in Lombardy offers less-expensive alternatives to Barolo and Barbaresco.”
The family-owned Mamete Prevostini estate is among Valtellina’s best wineries. They produce this Nebbiolo from a single vineyard called Sommarovina, which—because it sits in the DOCG of Sassella rather than the similarly positioned DOCG of, say Barolo or Barbaresco, makes the wine is one helluva killer buy. The Wine Enthusiast writes: “Underbrush, toast, oak-driven spice and balsamic aromas lead the nose. The lean bracing palate offers dried cranberry, roasted coffee bean, bitter almond and oak.” And our intrepid Tasting Team was floored by the complex palate impression, noting roses, black licorice, black raspberry and lingering spice. Drink this firmly tannic, but infinitely expressive Nebbiolo with meats and cheeses.
Four reasons we love it:
Members of the Prevostini family have produced wine from their terraced vineyards on the slopes of Valtellina since the mid 1940s. Initially, their wines were made only to serve at the family’s main business—a restaurant in nearby Sondrio. Word caught on quickly, and demand grew from there.
This Nebbiolo was fermented in stainless steel, aged for 15 months in French barriques and a further 10 months in bottle before release.
Vines at the estate’s Sommarovina vineyard are planted between 350 and 450 meters above sea level on Sassella’s nutrient poor sand and silt soil.
From the New York Times: “Within the Valtellina zone, where Nebbiolo is known instead as chiavennasca, the wines are defined by two basic quality levels. The base is simply Valtellina, which tends to be light-bodied and tannic. A distinct step up, with richer textures and more complex flavors, is Valtellina Superiore.”
A deep garnet-red color. Heterogeneous scent of extraordinary subtlety with undercurrents of raspberry, roses and lingering spices. Dry and warm, persistent and polished flavor, which final tastes of refreshing licorice, almond and emphasize of silk. Its taste confirms the strong and compact character of the wine.
The Prevostini family have been producing wine on the terraced slopes of Valtellina since the mid-1940s. The family had long owned an historic restaurant in Sondrio at the gateway to the Valtellina in far northern Italy, in the foothills of the Dolomites in Lombardy, for which they made some house wines from the local Nebbiolo (here called Chiavennasca) and reserve wines made from the famous villages of the secluded Valtellina: Sassella, Grumello and Inferno. The grandfather, Mamete, made wine from local grapes for his restaurant customers, taking advantage of crotti, the natural caves found throughout the region and which provide ideal cellar conditions. This eventually grew into a separate business, today run by winemaker and grandson Mamete Prevostini, who has become renowned for the silky, elegant Nebbioli he has been producing on his own since 1995.
They capture the perfumed, silky-textured character of Nebbiolo with great transparency, and are among the most sophisticated wines we have tasted from the region. Mamete himself is a dedicated ambassador for the region, as President of the Consorzio. He recently completed construction of a brand new cellar located in the heart of the Valtellina. The location adjacent to the vineyards is not only picturesque, but also allows the grapes to make just a quick trip from vineyard to tank during harvest. Additionally, the cellar was built to be 100% carbon neutral.
A favorite of Eric Asimov of the New York Times, the wines are mentioned every year in his articles on “alternative” Nebbioli, and their Valtellina Superiore Sassella was named the number one wine in a panel convened in March of 2014, reconfirmed in a February 2016 article in which two wines were in the top ten, ahead of some very popular neighboring producers.
Game, roast meats, stews, spezzatini, cold cuts, braised beef, stracotti, young and mature cheeses.
Unlike most of Italy, polenta and rice are both eaten far more often than pasta. Polenta, or cornmeal cooked into a soft cereal, is a mainstay of Lombardia cuisine. It is generally served with plenty of butter, cheese and sometimes meat or vegetables. It can be served soft as gras pistà, covered with ground salt pork and a fresh garlic and parsley topping similar to pesto. Polenta e osei is piled generously onto a platter and garnished with tiny birds that have been roasted with sage leaves.