The Grisone Riserva is a wine “reserved” for only the best vintages. The exacting standards required by Alfio Mozzi and the time in large 20-hectolitre botti grandi require exceptional raw material. In 2011, all of the boxes necessary for Alfio to turn out a riserva were met. Like the wines of our other Valtellina royalty, Boffalora and Terrazzi Alti, there is a subtlety and delicacy about Alfio’s wines that is thoroughly thought-provoking and exciting.
The 2011 Grisone Riserva is 100% Nebbiolo from the western Sassella appellation. Classic, intense aromas of red cherry, roses, leather and tar. There is a thrilling level of acidity and tannin in this offering that provide it with that alpine featheriness that helps us place these Nebbiolo masterpieces squarely in Valtellina. It is persistent with a growing intensity on the finish. The Riserva sees more time in botti grandi than the regular Grisone, 28 months in this case. Given the quality of the fruit that Alfio demands for this wine, it soaks it in just beautifully. It spends another 8 plus months in bottle before leaving Alfio’s cellar. This wine will need air in its youth to open and unfold, which also gives it great longevity in the cellar. No risk keeping this around for 15+ under the right conditions. Alfio thinks of his Riserva as a “special occasion” bottle. I think that any occasion where the Grisone Riserva Sassella makes an appearance is special. Great with grilled veal, lamb, mild sausages and mature hard cheeses. I had it with this amazing pairing prepared by Alfio himself: a mixture of cornmeal and buckwheat flour from Alfio’s mother’s fields, butter from the milk of cows that graze above 1800 meters and local Valtellina Casera cheese. Let this be your inspiration.