Do you like Nebbiolo? It is one of most prestigious and noble red grape varieties in Italy, which is used for producing two of Italy’s greatest wines – Barolo and Barbaresco. However, Nebbiolo is not limited only to Langhe, Piemonte (the area where both Barolo and Barbaresco come from), its wines are also produced in neighbouring Lombardia lies in the central party of northern Italy. Valtellina is Lombardia’s most northerly winegrowing zone and has long-time reputation for producing wines made from Nebbiolo with the local synonym “Chiavennasca”. Due to its Alpine location, the mesco-climate is cooler as compared to Langhe, which results in a more delicate and elegant style of Nebbiolo wine that I always like to refer it as the “Nebbiolo for the spring”.
Boffalora was started by Guiseppe Guglielmo in 2009. A believer in balance, he is also a beekeeper and allows spontaneous crops to grow between the rows to ensure a good environment for both the vines and the bees. The 3 ha of Chiavennasca vines are planted on steep terraced vineyards at 350-700 m with the oldest vines at the age of over 70! The viticulture here can be regarded as heroic and the resulting wines are mountain fresh, pure and focused.
Today I had a great comparative tasting of two signature wines from Boffalora. The first one is Umo Rosso di Valtellina 2019, the most delicate expression of Nebbiolo in its portfolio. It shows pale ruby colour with garnet hue. The nose is attractive with fresh rose, strawberry, raspberries, pomegranate and a hint of citrus peel, Alpine herbs and black pepper. On palate, it is delicate and balanced with medium - body, lively acidity and moderate but firm tannins. The finish is medium + with fresh red fruits and mineral saltiness. The purity and approachability of the wine is quite impressive.
今日所品試的是兩款酒莊的招牌葡萄酒，第一款為：Umo Rosso di Valtellina 2019, 是酒莊出品中最纖細的一款內比奧羅葡萄酒。此酒呈淺紅寶石色並帶橙色鑲邊。其香氣很吸引人，含新鮮玫瑰、草莓、覆盆子和少許橙皮、山區草本及黑胡椒的香料味。入口口感輕柔平衡，中低的酒體，酸度活躍，中度但硬朗單寧。其餘韻中上，帶有新鮮紅果和礦物的鹹味。此酒的純淨易飲的風格令人印象頗深。
As a delicate red, it is perfectly to pair with cooked fish dishes such as grilled salmon and sea bass, pizza, pasta and risotto. For Chinese cuisine, Chui Chow Marinated Goose/Duck would be a great choice. You may also try it with Bresaola (the local air-dried, salted beef from Valtellina) or other cured or air dried meats. Another local speciality would be Pizzoccheri, a type of flat ribbon pasta, made with buckwheat flour and wheat flour.
作為一款輕柔的紅葡萄酒，她很適合搭配烹煮的魚類菜式如：焗三文魚及海鱸魚，也可以配披薩、意粉和意式燴飯等。中菜方面，潮州鹵水鴨鵝也是上佳之選。也可嘗試配Bresaola (Valtellina當地特產的風乾鹹牛肉)或其它醃制風乾肉類。另外一個當地搭配特選是Pizzoccheri, 一種以蕎麥和小麥製成的寬面意粉。
The second wine is the more serious Boffalora Pietrisco Valtellina Superiore 2018. It shows slight more intensity in the colour of ruby garnet. The nose is perfumed with dried rose petal, citrus peel, rosemary, sage, red cherry and strawberry accompanied by a whiff of stony minerality. On palate, it has more concentration with medium body and medium + level of juicy acidity. The tannins have a smooth and velvety texture. The aftertaste is long and complex with red fruits, bitter citrus and some savoury dried herbs and chalky mineral sensation. I expect this wine could be further aged for up to 10 years.
第二款則是較高階的Boffalora Pietrisco Valtellina Superiore 2018。她的酒色呈稍深的紅寶石和橘色。其香氣撲鼻，幹玫瑰花瓣、橙皮、迷迭香和鼠尾草、紅櫻桃及草莓，並伴隨一些岩石礦物味。此酒入口有較高的集中度，中等酒體，中上的酸度，令人垂涎。其單寧有著絲絨般的質地，且餘韻複雜而悠長，帶有紅果、苦橙和少許富有滋味的幹香料及明顯的礦物感。筆者估計此酒仍有大約十年左右的陳年能力。
As the Pietrisco is a more concentrated wine, it is suitable to pair with red meats and game dishes. Wagyu beef steak or BBQ would be fantastic, so do Cantonese roasted pork belly, roasted goose and Peking duck. The great thing for Valtellina wines is that they normally taste delicate right after uncorking without having to prepare or air the wine before serving, which is a must for Barolo and Barbaresco. I would highly recommend you to try and explore Valtellina wines as it offers great value and drinking experience as an alternative to Barolo/Barbaresco. Enjoy!