Pizza Night with Arpepe Valtellina Nebbiolo
Nebbiolo from Valtellina and ArPePe
The most well known home of Nebbiolo is the Langhe region in Piedmont, but Nebbiolo is grown in a variety of places in northern Italy. All produce wines which are clearly Nebbiolo, but each unique regional climate, vineyard position, soil, and winegrowing method places a stamp on the wine. The Valtellina is a small region in Lombardia well up into the foothills of the Italian Alps. They call the grape Chiavennasca (aka Nebbiolo), and ArPePe is generally regarded as a leader in this tiny region. Valtellina Superiore wines show a distinct mountain character and must contain at least 90% of the Chiavennasca grape.
As you can see from the video, growing grapes in Valtellina is arduous and definitely a labor of love.
ArPePe Valtellina Superiore Reserva Sassella Stella Retica DOCG 2006 ($54 at Sunfish Cellars)
Eye: Clear, pale garnet with an orange edge extending well beyond just the edge.
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Took a couple hours being open to really start showing well. Underripe cherries, roses, cinnamon and sage but subdued – need to breathe it in. After a couple hours, suddenly roses emerge, powerfully!
Mouth: Bone dry, medium acidity, high tannins. Fruit is subdued in the mouth, but still shows cherries and a nice long finish.
Pizza Night with ArPePe
You might not think of pizza night as a nice enough occasion for opening a 2006 Riserva wine from Italy, and if you were ordering takeout, that might be true. However, pizza night at our house is an occasion. I’m a new student of Ken Forkish’s approach for bread (and pizza). I joke with Julie that Ken’s method is bread for the anal retentive, he is so dedicated to perfecting the process that making dough becomes a meditative act of both precision and patience. Add to that my recent discovery of heritage wheat from Sunrise Flour Mill and you have a pizza that earns a spot at the table with a noble wine.
I can’t relay a recipe in this post, you need to buy Ken’s book if you want to enter the meditation that is bread making by Ken’s method. Here are some pointers if you want to take on the food and wine from this post:
- Ken Forkish’s Flour, Water, Salt, Yeast
- Sunrise Flour Mill – I buy mine at the Mill City Farmers Market
- ArPePe wines – I bought mine at Sunfish Cellars, the wines are available at a number of shops in Minnesota.