Involt Agnelot paints outside the box when it comes to Valtellina wines. While their wines are based on Nebbiolo, they don’t adhere to DOC or DOCG guidelines, instead labeling their wines Alpi Retiche IGT, which is the Indicazione Geografica Tipica for the Valtellina region.
Involt in the name is meant to evoke the stone cellars as “sacred” places, and Agnelot is based on their “scutùm” or family shield. It is said that this comes from an ancestor having white curly hair, like that of a lamb.
They treat the vineyard as a ‘sacred’ space, they do not use herbicides or chemical fertilizers, only using sulfur vapor when absolutely necessary. The idea is to collaborate with nature, and all work in the vineyard is done by hand.
The grapes are hand-harvested, choosing the best bunches as they go. The bunches go into small baskets that are sent to the valley via zip line. The grapes are sorted again in the winery. They destem and ferment without pressing. The wine rests in Stainless Steel for 2 years, allowing the sediment to settle to the bottom. The wine is then moved to 1000 liter terracotta for 12 months. After bottling, the wine ages again, sometimes for 2 to 3 years.
They do not use any wood for their wines. No barrels or barriques. The idea is to focus on the flavor of the grape.
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 3 wines, all of which are made in the same way. The differences between these wines are the vineyards and soils. They have 6 hectares planted between 500 and 700 meters.
The first wine they poured was the Vigneto “La Purscela” 2015. This wine was the freshest, coming from vines planted in a mix of rocky and clay soil. A blend of 80% Nebbiolo, 15% Burnola, and 5% Pignola, there were subtle floral notes to this wine.
The next wine was the Vigneto “Li Curt” 2015. The soil here is primarily clay, and the blend is 90% Nebbiolo, 5% Brugnola, 3% Pignola, and 2% Altri. This wine had deeper, darker fruit notes than the first.
The final wine was the Le Carline, with grows in rocky, stony soil. 90% Nebbiolo, 5% Brugnola, and 5% Pignol. This wine was more fruit and spice. She describes this wine as having a stronger character. I found that the tannins were stronger, and the wine had bold, bright acidity.
The vineyards are in the Bianzone region, which is east of the Valgella sub-zone. Their cellar sits south of the Adda river, built into the hillside a 3-minute drive from Tresenda.
They have six hectares of vines sitting between 500 and 700 meters above sea level. 90% of their vines are Nebbiolo with the remaining 10% mostly Brugnola and Pignola with a few other varieties.
I am not aware of a US distributor at this point, but their website does list a contact for orders and reservations.
For more information on the region visit Vini di Valtellina the Consorzio site.
More on Northern Italy from Crushed Grape Chronicles
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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