2015 Arpepe Grumello Rocca de Piro
Blend: 100% Nebbiolo
From: Lombardy, Italy
Tucked in between the Orobic and Retic Alps just south of the Italian-Swiss border, you’ll find the terraced vineyards of Arpepe. At the helm of this storied estate located in the Grumello subzone of Valtellina in Lombardy, is the fifth generation of the Pelizzatti Perego family. The roots of this blue-chip estate go back to the 1860s, when the current generation’s great, great grandfather Giovanni founded a successful winery in the area, then known only as “Pelizzatti.” Over 150 years have passed since then, including the dark days of the 1970s when the current generation’s grandfather fell ill and the family was forced to sell the Pelizzatti brand along with some of their vineyards. The more recent history of the estate is a backwards turn of events: the family re-founded their company under the Arpepe label in 1984, reclaimed many of their proprietary vineyards from renters, and were able to take back their cellar in Grumello. Today, Arpepe is widely recognized as the single best producer in the appellation (as well as a benchmark producer of Nebbiolo in general).
Castel Grumello, the property of the De Piro family going back to the fourteenth century, is a twin fortress that consists of two separate complexes once joined by walls which overlook the hill with Nebbiolo from the Alps vineyards. It gives its name to this wine, which is made with grapes from the two company-owned vineyards in the Grumello area. In years when low levels of tannins suggest brief ageing in large barrels, the Valtellina Superiore Grumello Rocca De Piro is surprising for the speed with which it becomes ready to drink. From the moment it makes its debut on the table, it always hits the spot: ready to drink, but also perfect for ageing with the reserves in the cellar.
Taste: Initially shy, the subtle nose eventually reveals new leather, Alpine herb, and wild berry. The savory palate has an understated elegance, offering Marasca cherry, pomegranate, and graphite alongside refined tannins.
Pairing: Roasted red meats, aged cheeses, or pasta with meat sauce. For the vegans out there, this would be delicious with a cream of mushroom soup.