The La Valentina winery was founded in 1990 by Sabatino, Roberto and Andrea Di Properzio and ever since they have stressed terroir above all. As Sabatino explains, they aim for the fruit to be “tainted by the vineyard” and to that end, each step in the process is natural, organic, chemical free and carefully observed. In fact, La Valentina produces two “lines” of wines; a Classica line and a Terroir line. The subject of today’s article belongs to the latter.
The vineyards of La Valentina lie at elevations from 150-400 meters above sea level and range in age from 7-37 years. About 20 hectares of vineyards provide fruit for “Spelt” a 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo that forms the backbone of their production. In order to showcase the terroir of Abruzzo, the Di Properzio’s use a unique combination of oak aging for Spelt. After vinification in steel, the wine is aged partially in large Slavonian barrels and partially in 1st and 2nd passage barrique before being blended. After the blend, the wine spends 6-8 months in large Slavonian barrels and then 1 full year in bottle prior to release. The wine bears the Riserva designation.
The 2013 La Valentina Spelt displays a deep garnet color with a fairly wide fade to brick at the rim of the bowl. Pleasing aromas of black plums, smoke, violets and spices are notable. There is also an “air” of menthol wafting from the glass as this is 14.8% alcohol. On the palate, the wine is straightforward and medium bodied with notes of red plums, black pepper, and a slightly bitter aspect which detracts from the overall experience and is something that I’ve noted before.
This is the third vintage of Spelt I’ve reported on and I’ve found 2009 to be the best of them all. Perhaps a slightly warmer vintage is what’s required to prevent that bitter streak from appearing? Still, the wine is good, if not the value it used to be given that the price has increased slightly. 87 points. About $18. Find this wine.