2005 Mamete Prevostini Sforzato di Valtellina Albareda

I was very excited about trying out a Mamete Prevostini wine with a handful of years of bottle maturation under its belt. This evening with my wife and a couple of friends, fillet of pork, risotto, a red wine sauce (using Montiano from Falesco as a base…viva Italia) and a salad of leaf spinach and tomato turned out to be a great combo with the wine. And as regards the wine itself? Of course I was not disappointed!

After all, Mr. Prevostini is a top-notch producer who is still to fail my expectations. The winery is located in the valley of Valtellina not far from Lago di Como in Lombardy bordering on Switzerland. Most of Prevostini’s wines are tasted in a previous post on this blog. I have had the opportunity to try out the wines the last couple of years at the Vinitaly wine fair in Verona held annually in March/April. Apart from the 2005 Albareda, I will touch upon another couple of their wines who really impressed me this year at Vinitaly, both of which in my opinion are better than the Albareda. Nevertheless, the Albareda is without any doubt the producer’s most famous and respected wine. It practically subscribes to Tre Bicchieri in the Gambero Rosso Vini d’Italia guide.

Doubtlessly, it is a unique wine. As described in the previous blog post, the red wines are exclusively made from Nebbiolo, which inevitably will result in comparisons with Barolo and Barbaresco. Further, Sforzato is a wine made with the appassimento technique; the grapes have been picked and put in small wooden boxes for drying, until the end of January in the case of the Albareda. It is subsequently macerated for 20 days before being put on oak maturation for 18 months and in bottle for another 10 months. Needless to say, a comparison with Amarone della Valpolicella is unavoidable. In my opinion, the Sforzato comes out at the end of the tunnel as the winner. Even more so in the case of the 2005. The 2005 Sforzato di Valtellina Albareda is certainly superior to the 2009 I had this spring. The 2009 had typical Amarone notes of dried fruit, raisins and chocolate, whereas in the case of the 2005, these notes have faded. Now, its shows spices such as pomerans and orange. It smells of cranberry, roses and almond with a very pleasant tone of cream toffee. The wines is coherent, round and full-bodied without being over the top. 15 % ABV. It reeks of red berries and has pleasantly integrated oak. 91p.

I opened the bottle and waited two hours before pouring it. It did not dare air it in a decanter because – given the lack of tasting notes and statistics published for this wine – I was not  sure about its longevity and did not want to stress the wine. However, this could most likely endure another 10 years of bottle maturation. I am not sure whether they have older vintages that actually can be tasted, but I will certainly ask Federico Scaramellini, who moderates the Mamete Prevostini tastings at Vinitaly, whether he has the possibility to pour some mature wines in 2013. Let’s hope for the best. I’d be very excited to see what their wines are like with some bottle maturation.

At Vinitaly 2012, one of the two Mamete Prevostini wines that impressed me the most was the 2009 Sommarovina Valtellina Superiore, which was beautiful; raspberries, tobacco, minerals, fresh herbs and asphalt/tar. Round, balanced and with already well-integrated tannins. In my Mamete Prevostini tasting of 2011, this was my favorite wine. 91p.

And it still would have been in 2012 if it wasn’t for the majestic 2009 San Lorenzo Valtellina Superiore. Going through my personal tasting notes, I don’t think they have ever been close to producing a wine like this (of the wines I have tasted). This is a wine of Burgundian magnitude, and in a blind tasting, I would certainly have guessed this was a Pinot Noir…so fragile, so elegant, so sophisticated, yet with such a grip, structure and stature. It just comes to show how similar Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir are in many senses, these two notoriously difficult-to-cultivate grapes. This smells of cured meat, with gamey and earthy notes…very Pinot-like. However, this is balanced by a very fresh tone of strawberry. Incredible nose. On the palate, it shows tobacco and red berries. Medium-bodied, complex and intense. Well-balanced with perfectly mature and integrated tannins. I wonder what this will be like in, say, five years. I sure look forward to tasting this again. 94p.

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