Currently the Valtellina wines are grouped mainly in the following categories:
1) Sforzato of Valtellina D.O.C.G.
2) Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G. (With its divisions: Maroggia, Sassella, Grumello, Inferno and Valgella)
3) Rosso di Valtellina D.O.C.
4) Alpi Retiche di Sondrio I.G.T. (divided into I.G.T. Bianchi and I.G.T. Rossi)
The D.O.C.G. e D.O.C. corresponds to the Community DOP, while IGT corresponds to IGP
About 800 hectares of vineyards in the DOP area (former DOC and DOCG area) which starts from Ardenno to get until Tirano (46 Km.) at an altitude ranging from 250 mt to 800 mt, all that in the right side of the Adda River, except for the two cleft side in Stazzona (in the municipality of Villa di Tirano) and Albosaggia (near Sondrio).
1) Sforzato of Valtellina D.O.C.G.
Sforzato or Sfursat of Valtellina is the first Italian dry raisin red wine which is "guaranteed", ie the DOCG. It obtained the DOCG mark in 2003 after a laborious process that involved all the producers of this kind of wine.
The technical production of this wine is ancient, with some traces dated back to 1500.
It is made by the 100% of Nebbiolo grapes; grapes are well selected during the harvest and then they undergo into a "forcing" (hence the name); that is a withering of the healthiest and ripest grapes selected during the harvest in the DOCG zone. After the harvest the grapes are manually stretched on racks or in baskets, taking care not damage the skin of the grapes, and located in well-ventilated and dry rooms called "fruttai" in which there are significant temperature changes. In the Fruttai the grapes undergo a quite natural concentration of sugars, halving the yield of the grapes into wine. In this period of bout 3 months occurs the phenomenon of withering ("appassimento"), in which the grapes lose around 40% of its own weight, decreasing the water content and increasing the content of sugars and producing new aromatic substances that then will characterize the wine.
The grapes, as the Production Rule says, may be subject to crushing after December 10 of the year of the harvest, but generally it's commonly used to proceed with the pressing in January or February, then it occurs a slow fermentation due to the strength of the native yeasts. Regarding aging it is necessary at least 25 months in wood and then in bottle. A box of 2 Kg of fresh grapes are transformed into 1.2 Kg of dried grapes, from which you get a bottle of wine.
The wine is dark red garnet with hints of ripe fruit as well as spicy and evolved hints. The flavor is very soft and with strong character, with notes of jam.
The alcohol content is at least 14 degrees. The Sforzato is an excellent meditation wine, warmed by hand in a large glass. It is excellent also accompanied with an hard cheese with intense flavors such as a Bitto of Valtellina or dishes of intense and rich flavors.
2) Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G.
It refers to a large area from Berbenno to Tirano with a maximum production of 8 tons/hectare. The aging of this kind of wine has a minimum of 24 months, of which at least 12 in oak barrels. The minimum alcohol degree is 12%. Percentage of grapes: 90% Nebbiolo, 10% other varieties recommended and authorized, non-aromatic.
The Valtellina Superiore D.O.C.G. is divided into the sub-zones:
Maroggia is a zone within the territory of the municipality of Berbenno in Valtellina and it precedes the area of Sassella. The wine produced with the grapes of the sunny slopes of this area has ruby red colour with garnet reflections. The flavor is balanced, dry and velvety. It is produced in limited quantities (about 25 hectares of vineyards). The Maroggia is associated to the figure of Benigno De' Medici, in the mid-fifteenth century, when he stopped precisely at Maroggia where he found hospitality and refreshments appreciating in particular the local wine: He called it "dulce et firmum", that is full-bodied and sweet.
THe wine ogf this area it is obtained from at least 90% of Nebbiolo and eventually 10% of other grapes such as Rossola and Pignola. It is produced with grapes of the area (about 130 hectares of vineyards) between Castione and the territory located in the west side of the river Mallero near Sondrio; the Sassella area is an impervious area but very sunny, which includes the cliff of the Marian shrine of Sassella.
The wine has ruby red color tending to garnet. It has an intense aroma growing with aging. Harmonic and dry taste, slightly tannic, it is aged for at least 24 months with minimum alcohol content of 12%. It achieves excellent maturity after aging for four, five years, and if it lays in good cellar it can be kept in the bottle for more and more time.
It is produced in the slopes located in the north-east side of Sondrio (with an extension of 78 hectares of vines) and it takes its name from the castle that dominates the valley (the fortress of the thirteenth century). Ruby red color with garnet reflections, olfactory characteristics: subtle and intense fragrance (native grapes, such as Rossola, give it a shade reminiscent almonds); the taste: dry and velvety. Grumello is full of fragrances and more tasty if it is made from grapes that come from an area called the "Dossi Salati".
This sub-area, with a name as unique as fascinating ("Inferno" - "Hell"), refers to the small terraced vineyards located between Poggiridenti and Tresivio, in rocky ravines not so easy to get to them. In Summer the temperatures are particularly high, so it's very hard working in the vineyards (that's way the name "Inferno" - "Hell"). The Inferno zone is the smallest area of the Valtellina sub-zones. It lies to the east side of the Grumello zone and it has an area of about 55 hectares. The grapes of the Inferno area give a wine of strong character, suitable for long aging. Inferno wine has a ruby red color tending to garnet. With the aging the wine acquires special fragrances and become softer. Its flavor is dry, harmonious, slightly tannic.
Inferno wine is considered the most austere wine among the Valtellina Superiore wines.
It is the largest of the sub-areas of the "Valtellina Superiore". It has an area of about 150 hectares of vines in the Teglio zone. In the past this kind of wine was largely exported to nearby Switzerland. Its name comes from the Latin vallicula, ie vallicella. Initially it quite differs from the other sub-zones wines; The valgella wine has elegance and softness notes with a well determined character that assures to the wine a very long aging. Delicate scent, it has a dry, harmonious and round taste. Fresh floral sensations make it appreciable also when it is more young.
3) Rosso di Valtellina D.O.C.
Rosso di Valtellina DOC is the name that identifies the production of wine comes from the DOC area (about 200 hectares of a total production area of about 800 hectares).
The wine is made at least 90% from Nebbiolo grapes and 10% from local grape varieties, such as Rossola and Pignola.
Rosso di Valtellina Doc wine is perfect with everyday meals. It has brilliant ruby red color, and aging it takes garnet color. The aroma is intense and persistent, with fruity notes of cherry, spicy and violets tones. The taste is dry, fairly soft and fresh, slightly tannic.
When it is consumed in his early years it has a medium body; when it ages for two or a maximum of six years, it will acquire more structure and character.
To taste the best of these wines, it is advisable to serve in glasses for red wine of medium body, at a temperature of 16 ° -18 ° C.
4) Alpi Retiche di Sondrio I.G.T.
The Alpi retiche di Sondrio IGT wines (IGT means: Territorial Geographical Indication) are white, red or rosé wines. They must be made from grapes come from vineyards in which there are one or more of the following varieties:
Nebbiolo (locally called Chiavennasca), Pignola, Rossola, Merlot, Fortana, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Barbera, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.
The indication IGT with the specification of one of the following varieties: Nebbiolo (or Chiavennasca), Pignola, Rossola, Pinot Noir is reserved for wines made from grapes from vineyards with at least 85% of the corresponding vines.
The production area covers the entire territory of the municipalities of Sondrio, Albosaggia, Faedo, Ardenno, Berbenno, Buglio in Monte, Castione Andevenno, Cercino, Cino, duty, Dubino, Mantello, Mello, Morbegno, Postalesio, Traona, Montagna in Valtellina, Piateda, Poggiridenti, Ponte in Valtellina, Tresivio, Bianzone, Chiuro, Sernio, Sondalo, Teglio, Tirano, Tirano, all of course in the province of Sondrio.