Edoardo Valentini: Among Italy's Most Singular Voices

Posted by Joe Salamone

Edoardo Valentini: "The Lord of the Vines"
2005 Valentini Trebbiano
2006 Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo
2007 Valentini Cerasuolo
Cult Wines of Abruzzo

Edoardo Valentini was a shy man, a quiet, Italian eccentric along the lines of Josko Gravner or Prince Ludovisi of Fiorano. Yet the wines he crafted are lavish, extroverted, brimming with a flavor and texture that is absolutely unique.

For these reasons, the wines of Eduordo Valentini are cult treasures of Abruzzo. Only Valentini's friend and neighbor, Emidio Pepe, has achieved a comparable level of fame and respect.

Offers on wines like these are so hard to write - these are bottles that have created their own categories. There is simply no way to quickly define this estate, or these wines. So, if you're snowed in, grab another cup of coffee and continue reading... it'll be worth it.

Records show that the Valentini family has been making wine in Abruzzo since the mid-1600s. Edoardo, lovingly known as the "Lord of the Vines," left a law career to return to his family’s estate in 1956, where he made his singular wines until his death in 2006 (his son Francesco now continues the traditions). In a region where quantity has so often trumped quality, the Valentini estate sought something very different.

The estate is unabashedly and unapologetically traditional: Vines are trained using the pergola method, yields are severely reduced and the élevage is carried out in large Slavonian oak barrels. When the grapes aren't of a quality deemed appropriate, they are sold to the coop. Case in point: No Valentini Trebbiano was made in 2006 or 2007.

If Trebbiano has any reputation at all, it is for watery, simple, limp wines - the Oxford Companion to Wine calls the grape "undistinguished." Yet Valentini's Trebbiano is floral and honeyed, mysterious and evocative, with a textural complexity that puts it somewhere between Meursault and Condrieu. This is a dense and saturating wine famous for its ageworthiness; with time a salty Adriatic minerality shows itself, a subtle earthiness that speaks of the dry, sun-scorched earth. (While it's very hard to get any real facts, many believe Valentini has long cultivated an antique clone of Trebbiano, which perhaps accounts for some of the unique greatness of this wine.)

Valentini's Trebbiano is a bottle to put side by side with the best 1er Cru white Burgundies or Chablis; the expressions are of course different, yet the quality, the finesse, the breed is comparable.

The Montepulciano is Valentini's rarest wine - for this reason it will be strictly allocated, but please give us your maximum order, and we'll do our best. As you might expect, Valentini's Montepulciano has absolutely nothing in common with the nondescript quaffers found in red-sauce joints all over the U.S. This is a wine that is soaring and vivid, in turns wild and gamey, spicy and dark-fruited, yet with beautiful clarity, balance, structure... and, most uniquely for Abruzzo and Montepulciano, PRECISION.

While fans of Emidio Pepe's Montepulcianos most likely buy any and all Valentini Montepulciano when they have the rare chance, this is a bottle that will also speak to lovers of the traditional wines of the Northern Rhône: Chave's Hermitage, the Cornas of Clape, Allemand and Verset, to name but a few.

It will surprise no one that Valentini's Cerasuolo (in Abruzzo "Cerasuolo" is the word for rosé, this one made from Montepulciano grapes) is a similarly singular wine. This is a rosé that is both cerebral and hedonistic. It has an oily density not unlike the Trebbiano, with a really evocative interplay of flowers, cherry fruit, citrus skin, honey and wax. As with the great rosés of Lopez de Heredia, Tempier or Chateau Simon, this is a meaty, hefty wine that deserves a dinner table weighed down with food. While this can certainly be chilled and served along with the summer sun, if ever there was a rosé worthy of a winter snow storm, this is it.

All orders are subject to confirmation. Please email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463 to order.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

Edoardo Valentini

2005 Valentini Trebbiano d'Abruzzo

2006 Valentini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo

2007 Valentini Cerasuolo