Sassella Riserva Ultimi Raggi 2004
From a parcel in the very highest part of Sassella, around six hundred metres above sea level, this is what the great sforzato wines once were and perhaps what they ought to be. The Peregos believe that a true expression of grape, place and vintage is lost when one dries grapes away from the vineyard. Instead they harvest their fruit late, allowing the grapes to dry on the plant. The wine spends thirty days on skins in tini and four years in huge old chestnut casks and is impossibly deep – full of warm, sweet fruit, it screams for a good hunk of cheese from the surrounding hills.
ABOUT THE PRODUCER
The Perego family has been tending vines on these sheer granite terraces in the mountainous Valtellina since 1860. The vines are so far north into the alps they are practically in Switzerland.
They work only with Nebbiolo, or Chiavennasca as it is called in these parts, growing the grapes up to 700 metres above sea level on sheer, south-facing, sunlit vines that dig straight into rock. The resulting fruit is intensely mineral.
Production is very much of the old-school and labour is intense, the hills making it very difficult to reach the fruit at all. Everything in the vineyard is done by hand and in the cantina the family exercises a soft touch with great patience, leaving the wines to rest until they are deemed ready for release.
The transparency of the grape, the singular landscape and the Peregos’ gentle hand in the cantina lend these wines a remarkable sense of place.