Nino Negri: a Mountain Nebbiolo from the Heart of Valtellina

Nino Negri: a Mountain Nebbiolo from the Heart of Valtellina

Established in 1897, Nino Negri is the premier estate producing wine in the Valtellina DOCG in Italy’s Lombardy region. The estate specializes in Sfursat (meaning “strained”) — a wine made from grapes harvested by trained pickers, and dried in the cool alpine air. This style of winemaking combines the opulence of Amarone with the elegant complexity of Barolo.

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AN EXTREME LANDSCAPE

Nino Negri is a mountain Nebbiolo from the heart of Valtellina where difficult landscapes and steep terrain required the vision of a truly dedicated winemaker. Valtellina is located at the foothills of the Italian Alps near the Swiss border, with high-elevation, terraced vineyards making for structured, elegant Nebbiolo wines. Sheltered from the cold northern winds by the Retiche Alps, the valley — which runs 20 miles from east to west — is bathed in sun all day. It is divided into four subzones that give their names to the different typologies of wine produced here — Grumello, Sassella, Inferno, and Valgella.

Nino Negri owns 76 acres in the most prestigious zones of this very important wine-growing and producing area. Using innovative techniques such as helicopter harvesting, the idea of excellence in extreme viticulture guides this decorated estate, inspiring an adventurous spirit in all who encounter it. 

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TERRACING: A FACET OF THE TERROIR

The territory is characterized by terracing — a system based on dry stone walls that support the terraced hillside vineyards built thousands of years ago to allow cultivation of the land. The sandy, silty base tends to be dry, as it retains very little water and is highly permeable. The shallow soil has an arable surface, where it's common to see vines take root in the cracks between the rocks. This steep and difficult terroir requires 100% manual work (around 400 hours per acre), but offers much in return for hard work, sacrifice, expertise and passion.

Meanwhile, the winery is located in the city of Chiuro, in the 15th century Quadrio Castle. The castle sits above an array of underground cellars, which house thousands of barrels. All Nino Negri wines age for at least two years before they are released to ensure optimum maturity at time of bottling.

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THE GREATNESS OF A GRAPE

The area's optimum exposure to the sun, and wide temperature ranges between night and day encourage the expressive uniqueness of the "king of grapes" — Nebbiolo, locally referred to as Chiavennasca. Nebbiolo prefers sunny areas protected from cold winds, and yields low, but extremely high-quality grapes. The red wines produced from it are robust, long-lived and earthy.

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For example, Nino Negri's famous flagship wine — 5 Stelle, Sfursat Di Valtellina DOCG —  is made from a selection of the best grapes only in the best years. These 100% Nebbiolo grapes are picked by hand in the most acclaimed parts of Valtellina Superiore. After drying naturally for 3 months, they are vinified using the red wine method with a long maceration. Further ageing for 20 months — only in new French oak barriques — is followed by continued development for another 6 months in the bottle.

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Nebbiolo is well-known for picking up characteristics of the soil, expressing wildly different terroir depending on where it was grown. High in tannins and acids, the palate offers notes of tar, roses, leather, and cherries. However, each expression offers subtle differences – we can only recommend tasting them all! Nino's Negri's Valtellina wines pair well with roast meat dishes, but can even stand up to spicy pasta like gnocchi al pomodoro piccante.

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Ready for an adventure? Pick up a bottle of Nino Negri in your local Eataly wine shop, or shop online!