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Hey, Fionn coming to you this Thursday.
Took a calming week off to help pick some grapes here in England. Pretty nice to be out in the vines even if the weather isn’t quite what it would be like over in sunny Europe. Anyway, chuffed to be back and it looks like lots of delicious new things have arrived in my absence.
Luckily for me, I spotted some new alpine beauties nestled on the shelves as recently I have been craving something with a little more oomph. Perfect time for a little Chiavennasca then. A Nebbiolo clone found in the high hills of Northern Lombardy that often gets overlooked by its broodier big brothers in Barolo and Barbaresco. The fruit from Valtellina has this distinct mineral quality and I find them to be a little racier and delicate. Just how I like ‘em!
Decided to crack into the Barbacàn, Rosso di Valtellina last night and in doing so stumbled across probably my favourite Insta page to date. Seriously you gotta check it out! The wine is racy and fruit-driven with plenty of peppery herbal alpine complexity. A perfect intro into the world of Alpine wines and a whole lot of fun to drink alongside endless scrolling.
On the note of Alpine Nebbiolo, we have also just received some high-end gear courtesy of the team over at Ar Pe Pe. What makes these wines so special is their truly unique terroir. The vines are grown on terraces built into ultra-steep, east-facing hills. Proper sun traps, and they need it, because it's properly continental here, with stupidly cold winters and chilly nights. All work is done by hand with mechanisation on slopes like this impossible. Vinification and maturation are old time, favoring gentle extraction and long-term maturation. They call it heroic viticulture for a reason.
Their Rosso di Valtellina is again a top-value intro into the weird and wonderful world of Valtellina! Lots of Alpine charm and just enough tannic grip. For those who are keen to jump straight into the deep end, I can highly recommend any and ALL of their more serious bottlings. These handily come with a few years of aging already done for you, how thoughtful. Sassella is the most highly regarded subzone in Valtellina and supposedly makes some of the finest, elegant expressions. Their Nuova Regina is in fine shape atm but things will only get better down the line. Lots of blood-orange like citrus and free-flowing supple tannins. Whilst, their Rocce Rosse comes from a parcel of iron-rich soils and is all about dried florals and raspberries. Gastronomic, would be killer with something doused in truffles.
Their Grumello Riserva Sant Antonio also comes from the killer ‘16 vintage. The site is at a crazy altitude even for Valtellina standards and is nestled next to an old church. You can tell, this is godly and laden with dark cherries and tea-like spice. Tiny quantities of all. Spooky labels and please don't be put off by the scary price tags. It's nearly Halloween after all and trust me they are more than worth it.
We also confirmed our Big Beaujolais bash on the 16th of November. If you haven’t already bought a ticket then what are you doing? The whole crew will be on hand to pour more crus than you can shake a stick at. Raclette aplenty and good vibes are guaranteed. It’s gonna be heavy handed pours from 20 or so of the finest the region has to offer. We are talking about the real deal, the cream of the crop. None of that cheap nuvo in sight. Be smart (like me) and book off the following Friday.
Take it easy,