1881 – that’s the year that Casa Vinicola Fratelli Bettini got started. They are one of the oldest of Valtellina’s wine companies. Today the 5th generation is running the winery while the 6th generation learns the ropes.
The winery is located in San Giacomo in Teglio, and they have 15 hectares of vineyards. Additionally, they source grapes from small vineyard owners with whom they have long relationships.
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.
They produce traditional Valtellini wines, including a Rosso di Valtellina DOC, 4 Valtellina Superiore DOCG, one each from the sub-zones of Sassella, Inferno, Grumello, and Valgella. They also make 2 special Selection Superiore wines, 3 Riservas and a Sforzato and a Sfursat. (details should be coming about these wines)
In addition to classic Valtellina wines, they also produce a Spumante Brut-Bianco and a Brut-Rosé.
Bettini was one of the first to bottle Sforzato in the late 1950s.
We tasted several of their wines at the cellar tasting in Sondrio with sisters Ornella & Cinzia. Their brother Pietro is now the winemaker.
Bettini Valgella – Vigna la Cornella Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2018
They poured for us their Valgella – Vigna la Cornella Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2018. This wine comes from the small Cornella vineyard that sits at about 600 meters. The nose on this has wild berries.
Bettini Inferno Prodigio Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2017
Next, we tasted their Prodigion from the Inferno sub-zone. This Valtellina Superiore was a 2017 vintage. This is produced only in the best years. this wine had intense aromas of red and black fruit, with savory notes.
Bettini Sforzato di Valtellina d.o.c.g. -Vigneti di Spina 2018
They also poured the Sforzato di Valtellina d.o.c.g. -Vigneti di Spina 2018
The grapes for this wine come from the Spina vineyard, which Pietro’s father, Guido, took care of personally until his passing in 2016. This vineyard sits at the heart of the Valgella sub-zone in Valtellina. Grapes for this wine are selected from between 450 and 600 meters above sea level. The Sforzato ages for 18 months in 2,500-liter oak barrels.
Bettini Sfursat di Valtellina 2018
Later that evening at dinner we were able to taste the 2018 Bettini Sfursat.
I found it interesting that they produce both a Sforzato and a Sfursat. I had seen these terms used interchangeably with the other producers we had tasted with, but these were bottles labeled as such. Ornella tells me that the difference comes from aging. The Sfursat ages for 15 months in 225-liter French Oak barriques, while the Sforzato ages for 18 months in 2,500-liter oak barrels. So the Sfusat has more contact with oak (greater surface-to-wine ratio.) Both of these wines are only produced in the best vintages.
We asked the sisters about pairings for this wine. Their first suggestion was to enjoy in the winter, after dinner, with a warm fire, perhaps with some blue cheese. If you are going to have it with a meal, game meats, aged casera cheese (a cows milk, semi-hard or hard cheese from the region), or Bresaola, an air-dried salted beef meat, that is typically thinly sliced and served either with olive oil, lemon, and parmesan shavings or on rye bread with juniper butter.
The sisters were charming, and it was lovely to taste with the family of such a historic winery in the region.
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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