The name La Spia comes from a ridge behind the family vineyard in Sassella. This ridge was called “The Spy” as it was a strategic military observation point during military clashes.
Owned by the Rigamonti family since the 1960s, Michele Rigamonti took the helm of the company in 2006 and started a new era.
With winemaker Emil Galimberti and beautiful labels designed by the Milanese artist Luca Pignatelli, the winery has a style.
*Luca Pignatelli is known for his large scale works often painted on mixed media.
The labels are eye-catching, and their Valtellina Superiore DOCG wines have names in honor of Michele’s parents. The Sassella PG40 for his mother and the Valtellina Superiore PR28 for his father. These names are their initials and the year of their birth.
In addition to their Traditional Nebbiolo wines, they do several Alpi Retche IGT wines, including a Nebbiolo Bianco, their Castelàsc bianco, which is a blend of Gewürtztraminer, Moscato giallo Trentino, Sauvignon blanc and a Nebbiolo vinified as a white wine, and a classical method sparkling Nebbiolo.
Today they work 4.5 hectares throughout the Valtellina area producing around 25,000 bottles each year.
They look to combine tradition and innovation.
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.
La Spia Bianco IGT 2021
We tasted their unique Nebbiolo Bianco. This wine is 100% Nebbiolo, vinified as a white wine, and aged in French oak and Acacia Barriques for up to 12 months. The grapes come from the Costiera dei Cech del municipality from vines at 300-500 meters. This area is in the far west of the region, beyond Ardenno, near the town of Morbegno. As these vineyards are outside of the Valtellina Superiore zone, and as it is made in a Bianco style, it is not a DOC or DOCG wine. Instead, this unique and delicious wine is labeled at Alpi Retiche IGT.
This is a structured white wine with notes of golden apple and mineral notes. 13.5 abv.
La Spia Sassella PG40 Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2018
We also tasted the Sassella PG40 Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2018 (pictured above with artwork by Luca Pignatelli). This wine is 100% Nebbiolo grown on southwest-facing slopes at between 300 and 420 meters. The grapes dry for a few days before a long maceration on the skins in steel tanks. This is followed by up to 30 months of aging in 10-hectoliter oak barrels.
This wine had notes of candied cherries, tobacco, earth, cedar, and a hint of cocoa—14.5% abv.
You can find them online at https://www.laspia.wine/la-spia
For more information on the Valtellina region and its wines, visit Vini di Valtellina the site for the Consorzio di Tutela dei Vini di Valtellina.
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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