Eduardo Valentini took the lowly Trebbiano grape and turned it into a wine that people scour the world for.
In his hands, Italy's most prolific (and usually insipid) grape became a world-class, refined, and ageworthy wine that is truly a cult favorite.
While Valentini produced a red wine from Montepulciano d'Abruzzo, he considered Trebbiano to be the best expression of Abruzzo, the eastern Italian region where he made his wines. Not only has the grape been there since Roman times, but he believed it best conveyed the essence of soil, climate, and culture in Abruzzo.
This golden wine, best after years in a cool cellar, is one of those rare wines that is creamy and crisp at the same time. It shows a kaleidoscope of flavors ranging from honeyed fruit to freshly toasted hazelnuts to coconut shavings.
But its underlying acidity and fierce minerality lend it an uncanny capacity to age. Taking years to develop its full profile, Valentini's wines often need plenty of aeration to reveal their compact layers of flavor.
After receiving so many requests for Valentini's wines, we were thrilled to unearth several cases of his 1998 Trebbiano. We were bowled over when we figured out we could sell it for the lowest price in the country! This middle-aged wine still has years and years left in its life, but it is drinking beautifully with a generous decant.
A staunch traditionalist, Eduardo Valentini disregarded modern conventions throughout his career.
Little is known about his operations because he was so secretive.
Rumors insist Eduardo was the sole proprietor of a particularly outstanding clone of the local Trebbiano. How else could he create such brilliant wines from an otherwise innocuous grape? But Eduardo fervently guarded his production techniques from outsiders.
Valentini's wines display a startling naturalness, their individual quirks only enhancing their profound charm. We all hope that his recent passing will not result in any changes in the way his family makes these truly special wines.