Ar.Pe.Pe. | Valtellina | Lombardy | Italy
Ar.Pe.Pe. is one of Italy’s most dynamic wineries. Arturo Pelizzatti Perego used his acronym for the winery in 1984 when he re-established the family’s winemaking presence in Sondrio. His father had sold the multi-generational Pelizzatti winery, which merged with a large commercial firm in the early 1980’s. After repurchasing the family cellar, Ar.Pe.Pe. was born. Above the cellar, vineyards climb steeply up the slopes of the Grumello zone toward Rocca de Piro, where Grumello castle crowns the terraced landscape. The Nebbiolo grape, known locally as Chiavennasca, is the focus of this region and Ar.Pe.Pe. is arguably its greatest master. The next generation - Emanuele, Guido and Isabella now direct the winery. According to Emanuele Pelizzatti, "It’s not about structure or concentration. It’s about minerality and finesse. Ours is a patrimony of elegance." In addition to a youthful Rosso di Valtellina, eight other red wines are made according to the quality of each vintage, released four to eight years after harvest.
Ar.Pe.Pe. is located in the province of Sondrio near the Swiss border - a mountainous, alpine region in northern Lombardy. The winery and a portion of vineyards are in the historic zone of Grumello. The family also owns most of the historical part of Sassella and a small amount of vines in Inferno. Terraced vines grow in mixed alluvial, limestone, slate and clay soils between approximately 1,000 to 2,000 feet elevation. The vineyards’ southern orientation creates ideal ripening conditions for the Chiavennasca grape in this cool yet sunny climate. Due to steep terraces, the vines require a massive amount of hand labor.
Viticulture & Winemaking
Thirty acres of vineyards are spread over the zones of Inferno, Grumello and Sassella. Extraordinarily steep terraces dictate all vineyard work must be done manually. The windy climate of this unique, east-west valley circulates air in the vineyards, keeping grapes healthy. Picked bunches are sorted in the vineyard and transferred to the winery in small crates. Emanuele Pelizzatti invented and patented a special backpack used for this purpose. Since 2006, all wines are fermented in large oak barrels with native yeasts. In exceptional vintages, macerations easily continue for forty to fifty days. Isabella Pelizzatti Perego, owner and winemaker, finds that chestnut wood is ideal for aging as it elegantly matches the silky tannins of alpine Nebbiolo and promotes freshness in the wine. Delicate floral aromas and a fine, fresh mouthfeel set these wines apart from the more powerful Nebbiolo wines of Barolo. After aging in wood the wines spend time in stainless or concrete before being bottled. They are released after four to six years of age, at an optimal point of development.