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2018 Dirupi Valtellina Superiore DOCG, Lombardy, Italy (750ml)

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Located in the Valtellina region of Lombardy, just south of the Swiss border, Dirupi is the brainchild of Davide Fasolini and Pierpaolo Di Franco, a pair of extremely talented young Italian winemakers. The two played basketball together during primary school and reunited while at University, where they both studied winemaking. Neither had inherited land to work after graduation, and were both—in a word—broke. Ultimately, their passion and drive to showcase the wines of Valtellina prevailed, and they managed to scrape together enough money to rent a few vineyards and embark on their winegrowing dream.

They started Dirupi in 2004, renting 15 small, terraced sites, planted to the Chiavennasca clone of Nebbiolo and working Monday through Friday to get the vineyards healthy. Typical to the region, all sites vary in some degree when it comes to exposure and altitude, but the terraces are predominantly sandy and poor. Organic fertilizers are used, wild ground cover is trimmed back with scythes, and all harvesting is done by hand. Plots are harvested as individual lots and brought down the slope to be vinified together based on the altitude of the vineyards the fruit came from.

Davide and Pierpaolo work to maintain organic practices in the vineyards, but the humid climate of Valtellina makes it difficult. So, it is all the more impressive that three of their wines achieved organic certification with the 2015 vintage. Their determination has inspired other local winemakers to reconsider their methods and practices, offering a fresher face for Valtellina and Nebbiolo from the Alps.

100% Nebbiolo (Chiavennasca) from vines that are up to 100 years old. The grapes were carefully harvested by hand and meticulously sorted at the winery. The grapes saw extended skin maceration of 15–30 days, based on the altitude of the source vineyard. The musts were fermented using locally selected yeasts, in temperature-controlled, stainless-steel tanks. The resulting wines were aged for 12 months in neutral French barrels before being blended and bottled.

Deep ruby. Enticing aromas of fresh and dried red berries, and crushed rose petals. The palate is remarkably soft and supple, with flavors of red and black cherries, currant and rosewater. The tannin is fine and polished, and in graceful balance with its firm acid core. Absolutely beautiful!

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