Pizzo Coca Rosso di Valtellina
Ponte, Lombardia, Italy 2018
Damp forest floor mushrooms, fresh brambly blackberries, bitter cocoa and a touch of sweet pipe tobacco. I feel like if you were hiking in these mountains and were invited into a fire warmed alpine cabin by some Valtellina locals… this is what it would smell like. Long and layered like what can be expected from Nebbiolo but that alpine style provides more earth than grip, more savory than silk. A touch young, this wine benefits from a bit of air for sure, as any respectable Nebbiolo does after all. But quickly it will bloom in your glass like spring wildflowers in the alpine valley. The tannins are soft and smooth, giving it plenty of versatility to pair with a wide range of foods. Try it with the local favorite pasta Pizzoccheri. Nebbiolo, sure, but locally known as Chiavennasca, which is much more fun to say. What is there to say about Nebbiolo? One of the oldest and most legendary grapes in Italy. Here in the tiny little alpine appellation of Valtellina, it adds yet another notch in its belt for greatness. Incredibly, about 80% of the wines produced here travel no further than 100 miles outside the valley.
It doesn’t get much more ‘micro production’ than this. In a stunning region that by appearances has been completely trapped in time, as if nothing there could possibly BE new, Lorenzo Mazzucconi is newly making a name for himself. Yet this region has been somehow quietly making insanely good wines for generations and someone like Lorenzo has been drawn to it, from the city Bergamo, as if on a holy pilgrimage (the stunning Valtellina valley is my kind of church). Lorenzo has a bright future here with his wines and has the chops to help make Valtellina wines a must-have experience for anyone clever enough to expand their Nebbiolo knowledge beyond Barolo and Barbaresco.