One of the thrills of traveling to Italy is the chance to sample world-class food and wine right where it is produced and to share in local gastronomic traditions. Our Valtellina Wine Tasting Experience offers you just that chance! Ensconced in the Palazzo’s cozy, candlelit Cantina, you’ll sample wines from the Valtellina, an alpine valley about 40 miles northeast of Lezzeno that has been producing wines for more than 2,000 years. Our resident wine expert will lead you through a tasting of three very special vintages that are characteristic for the region, accompanied by locally-produced cured meats, olives and cheeses – as well as some local legends.
La Valtellina: Leonardo da Vinci once described the Valtellina as a “valley surrounded by tall and fearsome mountains”, where the locals produced wines that are “heady and strong”. Not much has changed in the ensuing centuries: this is still one of Italy’s most dramatic wine landscapes, with the vines growing on perilously steep, ideally south-facing, hillsides. That makes for back-breaking, time-consuming harvests and price tags as steep as the slopes! The conditions are tailor-made for viniculture: soil littered with large rocks gathers the day’s heat and releases it throughout the night. Grapes thrive in this cool but sunny climate.
A sample of the wines that may be included in the tasting:
Cà Brione Terrazze Retiche I.G.T.
This blend is made from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes that are left to dry and late-harvested, extra-ripe Chiavennasca (the local term for Nebbiolo). Aging in French barriques gives this complex white wine its deep golden color.
Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G.
Valtellina Superiore is thought by many to be the area’s finest red wine. It is made almost exclusively with Chiavennasca grapes, but results in a more elegant, delicate product than Piedmont’s big-name Nebbiolo wines.
Sfurzat della Valtellina “5 stelle” Nino Negri D.O.C.G.
Sfurzat is the local dialect for sforzato, or forced. Chiavennasca grapes are picked extra ripe and then forced, i.e. withered and dried, before vinification – this intensifies the flavor and raises the alcohol content. Unlike Passito dessert wines, which undergo a similar process, Sfurzat della Valtellina is an intense – but also very dry – red wine.
The Wine Tasting Experience is available upon request. Guests meet in the Cantina at around 6:30 p.m. for an expert-led tasting of three wines. To secure the booking, reserve your Wine Tasting Experience at least 72 hours before and please note that a minimum of four participants is required to host the experience. The cost of € 100,00 per person includes a tasting of three outstanding as well as a range of local cured meats and cheese.