The Hidden Gems of Italy

This week, M ran into an interesting article in CN Traveler: The Italian wine regions you should visit next. The article snubs crowded Toscana, Piedmont and Barolo and talks about lesser known areas for wine that could be the next big thing. Valtellina was there on the list with a very accurate description on its amazing potential. So I consider this piece to be quite credible. You can just imagine what kind of wine-travel fever I got from reading it. Continue reading “The Hidden Gems of Italy”

Wineweek 94: A Walk in Copenhagen

This week has reminded me that there is still some summer left. Perhaps just a few more days, but nevertheless, temperatures have hiked up to 25C. The mornings have been crisp though, so every day I have dressed up like its ten degrees colder. A bit annoying actually. Just look at the pictures below, everybody (else) is wearing shorts. I spent a few days in Copehangen this week, as you can probably tell based on the topic. I was there for business but had time to walk around the center and visit some of my favorite places: the Torvehallene market, Coffee Collective and Ved Stranden 10 wine bar.  Continue reading “Wineweek 94: A Walk in Copenhagen”

Perhaps the Best Wine Bar in Copenhagen

It is a warm and sunny August afternoon an I am strolling down towards the canals in central Copenhagen, the capital city of Denmark. I am not wandering aimlessly. I have a destination. It is Ved Stranden 10, perhaps the best wine bar I know. At least the best wine bar I know in Copenhagen. Ved Stranden is also a wine shop, so if you like what you drink, you can buy a bottle to take home. I wish this kind of concept was possible in Sweden. Continue reading “Perhaps the Best Wine Bar in Copenhagen”

Broc Cellars

I have perhaps chosen the best venue there is for writing about wine – a wine bar. I am in warm and sunny Copenhagen, the sky is blue, thus it is empty inside my favorite wine hangout Ved Stranden 10. This is the kind of place you can stroll in, say you just want something interesting, and you know you will get something truly interesting. You can trust the staff to read your mind. This is the perfect place for killing time, reading and writing about innovative winemaking. Today I am catching up on something I should have done long ago: writing about Broc cellars, an urban winery beyond the Atlantic, in San Francisco. Continue reading “Broc Cellars”

Wineweek 93: Fall Buzz

Stockholm has woken up from its summer hibernation. The city is buzzing with people and restaurants are open again. Luckily the weather still reminds of summer. I am not that sensitive to fall coming though. Fall means Cavatast; fall means my birthday; and fall means that winter vacation is closer. Yes! We have booked a long trip to Asia again. Bangkok and Singapore, here we come. I should publish some pictures from last year to remissness.  This weekend I have encountered some technical problems. Yesterday I tried to publish a post, but just ended up spending hours cursing the internet. It happens, I know. But I still let it get to me. Had to calm the nerves down with some wine. Continue reading “Wineweek 93: Fall Buzz”

Winelovers Getaway in Valtellina

I don’t usually write about hotels in this blog. I may stray to topics like food and coffee, but there is a limit to everything. Hotels are mainly accommodation for the night, while we explore the world during the day. For example on our trip to Epernay, we just bunked at the Ibis. Location, location, location! However, during our trip to Valtellina we discovered a a place that deserves recognition. By accident might I add. The Wine Hotel Retici Balzi was  real winelovers paradise with beautiful interior, great wine bar and views over the whole Valtellina valley. The family owned hotel is located in a small village close to the town of Sondrio and it is surrounded by beautiful nebbiolo vineyards. Continue reading “Winelovers Getaway in Valtellina”

Wineweek 92: Photos from Helsinki and Beyond

This week I woke up to a world that felt different. The air was dry, the mornings were crispy, and I had to bring out the fall coats. Winter is coming. I don’t really like the cold. However, with winter, or rather fall comes many good things: all my friends return from their holidays, port wine tastes suitable again and our wine cellar/club opens after being closed all summer.  The beginning of fall feels like the beginning of a new year. And I very much like new beginnings. Continue reading “Wineweek 92: Photos from Helsinki and Beyond”

Hard Work and Tradition at ARPEPE Winery.

When planning our recent trip to Italy, we were quite late in the game. We had only scheduled to spend a day at Mamete Prevostini, and the rest of the trip was just open. wide open. No visits no restaurant reservation, nothing. Does not sound like us at all. However, as it turned out, being spontaneous was not a bad thing. The trip to Valtellina was one of the highlights of the year. Following a tip from a friend, we were lucky enough to be able to book a last minute visit to famous local nebbiolo producer ARPEPE. Thank you Atte for the recommendation!

ARPEPE winery was started in 1984 by Arturo Pelizzatti Perego, who took on tending to his familys beautiful, but challenging terraced vineyards in the valley of Valtellina. As I have written before, the hills in Valtellina are steep and rocky. All of the work is done by hand: picking as well as carrying the grapes in small baskets downhill to the winery. Arturos idea from the start was to focus on growing high quality grapes and long aging of the wines. For realising his vision, he needed patience. Arturo waited for six harvests before releasing his first wine. Today the ARPEPE is managed by Arturos children: Isabella, Emanuele and Guido.

It was a sunny morning when we pulled into the driveway of ARPEPE in the village of Sondrio. The facilities appeared to be in the middle of the town, but when arriving we were face to face with the steep vineyard, rising up the north hill. We were greeted by Arturos daughter Isabella, who was our guide for the morning. As we were late in booking, we did not really have a lot of time for touring in the production, but we were able to peek in quickly. The winery is actually located under the vineard, carved into the rock on the base of the hill. The most noticeable feature in the winery was the fermentation vats or rather barrels. They are large wood vessels holding 50 HL of wine. The mix of oak, chestnut and acacia is the same as is used for the aging (barrels) of the wines. Isabella also told us that they are extremely picky when it comes to what wine is made from each plot and harvest. Some years ARPEPE has only made their entry-level easy to drink table wine Rosso di Valtellina, as the output has not reached the quality or yield for making a suitable vintage.

ARPEPE has vineyards in three of five parts of Valtellina: Inferno, Sassella and Grumello. All areas have a differing terroir, thus resulting in a different type of wine. Another interesting detail is that ARPEPE has at least ten different clones of nebbiolo growing in their vineyards. They like trying out new clones to see how the vines develop in the challenging high-altitude environment. Christina and her brothers replace one vine at a time, so the diversity in the fields is rich and the siblings believe it contributes to the richness of the wine. More about the terroir in my post on Wineweek 90. ARPEPE makes a separate vintage from each area. The type of vintages they make depends completely on the assesment on the harvest harvest. The younger vintages are released five years after the harvest and the old ones after nine. ARPEPE chooses which (youg or old) the yield is used for, it is one or the other (or none). Not both.

After the tour we moved into the beautiful building next to the vineyards, which is the ARPEPE office and tasting room. It is designed by Isabellas architecht husband. The interior is seemingly bathing in light. I really loved it (and the light was perfect for taking good pictures). We tasted alltogether four wines: the Rosso, the young Grumello Rocca de Piro 2011, the Grumello Buon Consiglia 2007 and the il Pettirosso 1999. What really took me was the freshness of all of their wines. Amazing that even the -99 had no signs of stuffiness what so ever. From young to old, the nebbiolos had a nice light and spicy character, that I now recognize as the signature style of Valtellina. Prices we felt were very reasonable, ranging from around 15€ for the entry-level Rosso to ~40€ something for the Ultimi Racci which is the sforzato-type (but not a sforzato!) intense top of the line bottle. We walked out with a nice mixed box to take home.

I am very keen on writing more about the ARPEPE wines, but I will take rather as proper reviews as opposed a quick walk through in this post. Each of the ARPEPE wine deserve to be in the spotlight. If you are interested in a visit, ARPEPE is happy to receive guests as long as you give them a few weeks notice. You can find the contact details for the winery at their homepage.

Thank you ARPEPE and Isabella for the wonderful visit.

xx Soile

Arriving at the ARPEPE winery
Pouring the Rosso
Beautiful bright color
Close to the nature at the office of ARPEPE
Vineyard view from the ARPEPE tasting room


Cavatast is Coming Again

As summer is closing to it’s end, at least here in Sweden, I like turning my attention to what will be happening in the fall. The highlight is of course Cavatast, the festival to celebrate all that is to do with the spanish premium bubbly. Cavatast is a festival for everyone: locals, professionals as well as tourists. In recent years it has taken a  bit of a gastronomical direction as well with an increasing number of food vendors participating in the festivities. As every year, there is no information regarding this festival in English, so I have used my nonexisting skills in spanish to make educated guesses on what is in store for us. The only thing I can be quite sure about is the dates: 7th to the 9th of October.  Continue reading “Cavatast is Coming Again”

Wineweek 91: The Winecurious on Flickr

I remember there was a time when I was convinced I would not even try to up to quality of the photos on this site. Getting into food photography is quite annoying. First of all you are always dragging your camera to the restaurant. The light is often a bit poor, and people stare at you when you bring out the arsenal (My big camera I mean). Sometimes I also get these looks from M where he is signaling to put the Nikon away because the food is getting cold. Second, it takes quite a lot of time to select and edit the photos you like. Regardless of these two small obstacles, I have become a an amateur food photographer, and you can view my work in all its glory from now on in Flickr. I have only downloaded my pics from the past few weeks, so there is more to come very soon.

Continue reading “Wineweek 91: The Winecurious on Flickr”