Aldo Rainoldi is a small winery in Northern Italy’s Valtellina wine Region.
Aldo is a name that is important in the Rainoldi family. In the 1920s, Aldo Rainoldi was a wine merchant in Valtellina. Fast forward a generation or two, and his grandson, also Aldo, completes a degree in Oenology and Viticulture and returns in the late 1990s.
He and his wife, Michela, now run this family winery based near Chiuro.
With 11 hectares planted across Grumello, Sassella, and Inferno, they produce 185,000 bottles annually.
Michela was behind the table, greeting and pouring. She shared with us 3 of their wines, all versions of their Nebbiolo, the specialty of this region.
We visited Valtellina as part of a Media trip with the 2022 Wine Media Conference, spending 2 days immersed in the region and its wines.
This tasting was sponsored by the Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini di Valtellina.
Rosso di Valtellina DOC 2021 San Gregorio
Their Rosso di Valtellina DOC 2021 San Gregorio is their entry-level wine which is named for the church that is close to the vineyard.
The grapes come from vines grown at 600 meters (almost 2000 feet), and they age in large Slovenian oak to reduce and balance the acidity. This wine is light in structure and is great for enjoying as an apertivo.
I noted cherry syrup, bright and approachable with sticky tannins.
Rainoldi Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2019 Sassella
Their Rainoldi Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2019 Sassella is 100% Nebbiolo from the Sassella sub-zone. This is the rockiest area for their vineyards, and the soil is rich with iron and other minerals. The vineyards sit between 290 and 630 meters (that’s between 900 and 2000 feet). They age this wine for 20 months in 25 and 56-hectoliter barrels. The wine is then assembled and spends 2 months in stainless steel integrating, then is bottled and aged in bottle for another 6-9 months before release.
Michela notes that they find Sassella wines characterized by elegance in tannins and balance with salty iron notes that are almost bloody rather than red fruit notes. Indeed I found the wine elegant and savory with saline notes and that bloody iron note.
Aldo Rainoldi Sfursat di Valtellina DOCG 2019
The last wine Michela poured for us was their Sfursat di Valtellina DOCG 2019. (They use the alternate spelling for Sforzato.)
Grapes for this wine come from vineyards in both the Rosso di Valtellina DOC and the Valtellina Superiore DOCG, which are south-facing at between 400 and 650 meters (1312-2132 feet). For Sfursat, the grapes are harvested in small 5-kilo baskets while the acids are still high, then dried in small baskets at 350 meters for about 2 months. They are then pressed and aged for 20 months in 25 and 56-hectoliter oak for 20 months. The wine is assembled and spends 2-4 months in Stainless Steel tanks before bottling. It then spends an additional year aging in bottle before release.
Michela says that 2019 was one of the best vintages they have had. This is a concentrated wine with aromas of spice and jam. This is weighty enough to pair well with game meats and aged cheeses.
We asked Michela about how the harvest for this year was going. This was October 2, 2022. They harvested grapes a week (week of September 25th, 2022) for the Sfursat. Grapes must be perfectly healthy and ripe for Sfursat, but not with the sugar levels too high because by drying the grapes, they run the risk of achieving 17 or 18%, which is too high.
They had not yet begun harvest for their other wines because the sugar levels were a bit low still. They were waiting and hoping to achieve 26 degrees Celsius and sunny in the next week to finish ripening. They would probably start harvesting again at the end of the week (October 7 or 8th, 2022), beginning with the Sassella sub-zone.
Their wines are imported by Banville Wine Merchants in New York.
For more information on the Valtellina region, visit the Consorzio website Vini di Valtellina
More from Crushed Grape Chronicles on Northern Italy
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
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