Readers who enjoy traditionally made Nebbioli will delight... - 06 Ar Pe Pe Stella Retica Sassella

Posted by Ian McFadden

Nebbiolo on the Mountain Top
2006 Ar. Pe. Pe. Sassella Stella Retica
High Wire Nebbiolo

"Readers who enjoy traditionally made Nebbioli will delight in these wines…

The Ar.Pe.Pe. wines capture the essence of what makes Valtellina a unique winemaking region." -Antonio Galloni

Today we take Nebbiolo out of Piedmont and into the mountains of Lombardia.

Nebbiolo (like all noble grapes) is incredibly sensitive to where it’s planted and can display an enormous range of flavors. And Ar Pe Pe's Nebbiolo wines from Valtellina are a singular expression of the grape.

Ar Pe Pe's Valtellina wines are Nebbiolo at its most agile, its most haunting, perfumed and most mysterious.

Our offers on mountain Nebbiolo are easily some of our most popular. The category of wine is just so fascinating and the value undeniable. To be able to find complex wines from a noble grape with age on it for the prices that these wines go for is pretty crazy. Mountain Nebbiolos offer some of the best values we know.

Valtellina's vineyards are 1,200-1,800 feet above sea level. Here Nebbiolo is lighter, more nervous, revealing its more delicate and finessed side. It's simply a captivating, heartbreaking expression of the grape.

Ar Pe Pe crafts their Valtellina in the most decidedly old-school fashion respecting the traditions of five generations of their family who have tended the backbreaking slopes of the region. They practice long macerations, use traditional large barrels, and keep their wines in them for long periods of time and then bottle age it even further until it’s begun to enter its drinking window.

The 2006 is really starting to sing. The palate is silky and finessed with intense verve and real linearity (again, that mountain-fruit element shows itself).

Do not let this wine’s color fool you, because it belies a flavor spectrum to run the entire range of Nebbiolo’s capabilities: Spice, game, dried rose petals, cherry and perfumed raspberry fruits, tar, leather, tobacco and cinnamon along with a fascinating thread of sun-scorched rock minerality unique to the stony terraced hills of Valtellina.

In short, this is one of the most intriguing (and gulpable) wines I've had in some time.

Valtellina is one of the regions where the combination of (seriously) heroic viticulture, ingenuity, and some help from Mother Nature allow grapes to ripen. The results are some of the most unique, high wire wines you'll ever taste. In order to soak up every precious ray of sunlight, the vineyards are steeply terraced and south facing with heat-retaining rocky soils. It's a bizarre micro-climate to be honest, a number of factors come together to even allow prickly pears to ripen in this region.

And, with fall approaching, this is the perfect time for this wine. The flavor profile and brisk acidity are perfectly aligned with the season.

The old-fashion production methods, the intense acid spine and the overall balance promises this will age for the next 3-5 years and likely much longer. This and the wine's sheer drinkability caused us to create special 6-pack pricing. For the value, for the wine's compelling singularity, we suggest you stock up.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Ian McFadden
Director, Fine & Rare Wine
Crush Wine & Spirits