Mattia Franzina’s tiny cantina is tucked away in the village of Buglio-in-Monte which, approaching from il lago di Como (the west), is one of the first settlements on the left as you come into the Valtellina. The family have been farming there for over fifty years, originally livestock & selling grapes, before selling the ‘bué’ & focusing on the fruit. Indeed their 0.8ha includes more than 100 year old plants, mostly Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo), but also Rossola, a paler, more productive, higher acid, & Pignola native varietal; plus some Merlina dotted around the terraces, which is an ancient varietal. Mattia’s a talented agronomist, graduating in 2009, & when not tending his own vines, consults for many for the small producers of the Valtellina.
The soil on these first slopes of the Valtellina is composed of schistous rock terraces & ‘giss’, a compact morainic soil. The terraces are at 350m asl, facing SSW, & the influence of the lake, 25km away, is felt by the gentle breeze that constantly fans the vines.
In 2014 his family took the step of building a new cantina in the village, & celebrated the vintage with 1500 bts of Rosso di Valtellina! Their first Valtellina Superiore, from the terraces above the village, came in 2015, again producing 1500 bts.
Vinification is traditional: the Rosso comes from declassified Valtellina Superiore fruit from three Buglio vineyards, fermented in stainless-steel, with 20% of the wine ageing briefly in tonneaux. The Valtellina Superiore invece is aged for 12 months in a single 10HL Veneta Botte bought in 2014. Total sulphur at bottling is circa 40mg/litro.
Lying adjacent to his vines, but way up above is perched Valtellina’s smallest vineyard: Maroggia, all 25ha of it. His dream is to rent the top plot on this knoll, & to produce the region’s first Valtellina Superiore Maroggia!
Rosso di Valtellina
2018 Rosso di Valtellina ‘Nove’, Buglio-in-Monte, Lombardia – tasted by DBG 19 Febbraio 2020
13.4% abv, TA 5.40, pH3.61, 40mg total sulphur. Only 2000 bottles were made of this vintage 2018 Rosso, produced from declassified Valtellina Superiore Chaivennasca fruit – more precisely from three vineyards above Mattia’s village, Buglio-in-Monte. Vinified in stainless-steel, with 20% of the wine aged briefly in barrique. Eye-catching with its benchmark 2018 blueberry red colour, the nose is just as appealing & lush. It’s charmingly soft, with inviting aromas of kirsch & dried roses; surely as a result of Buglio’s SW facing morainic terraces. On the palate, it’s beautifully juicy, with ‘cerise’ & dash of French oak. Very easy-on-the-eye, & delizioso! Sealed with a twin-disc technical cork.
2017 Valtellina Superiore ‘Sixtus’, Buglio-in-Monte, Lombardia – tasted by DBG 19 Febbraio 2020
14.2% abv, TA5.50, pH3.71, 40mg total sulphur. Only 1333 bottles, i.e. one single 10HL Veneta (Austrian oak) Botte grande, made of this scarce 2017 vintage Valtellina Superiore, from Mattia’s old vine Chiavennasca, Rossola, & ancient Merlina vines perched above the village of Buglio-in-Monte, at the opening, western end of the Val-tellina. Though the vintage was less generous than in 2018, the vine was not unduly stressed as there was c.600 mm of rainfall during the key April – September period. That said, it’s less fleshy than the 2018 Valtellina Superiore also tasted. More refined, slightly less sucoso, Mattia still fermented the must spontaneously with wild yeast, & macerated the wine on its skins for 21days (of pumping over), compared with 23 in 2018. In keeping with the 2017 vintage then, Mattia’s wine is more light red in tone, with rose petal, cassis, sandalwood & (Indian) tea notes. It remains juicy & inviting, fleshy but also very fine. Sealed with a single piece of cork, made by Portocorc (PK)