ArPePe - Request for an overview

Hi all,
I’m a huge fan of Nebbiolo but still relatively early in the learning process, especially outside Barolo/Barbaresco. I’m drinking an absolutely delicious 2018 ArPePe Rosso di Valtellina right now, and it made me more curious about this producer. Obviously I know they are the best known producer in this area, but they have a lot of bottlings that I haven’t tried and am curious to hear from others on the board what they think about each tier.

From what I can tell, there is the Rosso at ~$35, the single vineyards at ~$50, and the Riservas at ~$100. The Rosso was delicious and food friendly, but not that complex. Do you pick up a lot of complexity as you step up, and is it worth the step up from the single vineyards to the Riservas? Any particular bottlings that you buy regularly? How long until they hit peak? I find that Alto Piemonte seems to age a bit faster than Barolo/Barbaresco, but curious if that is true for Valtellina too.

I did do a search and found some tasting notes, but no good thread that provides an overview that I’m looking for. Happy to be pointed to another thread if this already exists.

I haven’t tried enough to give any kind of a proper overview but like you I have enjoyed several vintages of the Rosso di Valtellina for what it is. Of the second tier I really liked the 2010 Grumello Rocca de Piro last July (you can find the note here). It was a clear step up from the Rosso in every way and still on the young side. That said I found the 2012 Stella Retica quite light and simple when having a glass a couple of years ago. Of the Riservas I got to try the Vigna Regina and Buon Consiglio from 2007 a few years back and both were amazing with clearly different styles. Obviously age does wonders but they were a lot more impactful wines with a lot more structure and plenty of cellaring potential still. Would love to buy more but the availability is not great and the prices continue to climb.

We drank the 17 Rosso last week, lovely light wine.

I’ve had a few bottles of the 15 Inferno before and it’s a clear step up, stylistically similar but more complex.

To my mind, there is a very clear difference between the three “tiers”. Having followed these wines for a long time, I think you could do a lot worse than to think of the ARPEPE range in terms of the Burgundy classification. Rosso di Valtellina - village. Pettirosso falling somewhere between Village and PC, but often (often being a relative concept with ARPEPE, as they tend to skip a lot of vintages) more PC than Village. Rocca di Piro, Stella Retica, Fiamme Antiche all PC. The top of the pyramid, Vigna Regina, Rocce Rosse, Buon Consiglio (and, since 2009 if I remember correctly, Sant’Antonio and Sesto Canto), clearly GC.
One thing to bear in mind is that Valtellina is a very marginal climate for wine, so, among other things, the wines are very vintage-dependant. The latter, specifically in ARPEPE’s case, primarily in terms of style and expression, not quality: when they feel the quality isn’t there, they simply skip the vintage.
For the most part, their range is a study in terroir. ARPEPE have some of the very best vineyards in three of the four major subzones, and the wines tend to really highlight those differences with a clarity that is, I would say, unrivalled elsewhere in the valley.
In my experience, their wines hardly ever really close down and tend to remain very drinkable throughout. They also tend to age exceptionally well. As a rule of thumb (I’m talking about their present-day wines, meaning those made since cca 1997), I would say up to 10 years for the Rosso, the PCs seem to mostly hit their sweet spot between 7-8 and 15, but will keep, and the GCs definitely reward patience and will probably evolve meaningfully for a very long time (how long, who knows… some years ago, I had a fantastic '64 made by the grandfather of the present owners).
On a side note, there are some very experienced and perceptive tasters in Italy who feel that a bit of a stylistic shift occurred at some point in the mid '00s, resulting, particularly at GC level, in wines that are now (say, from 2007 on) perhaps a little plusher than they used to be. Me, I’m still on the fence about this. One thing that seems certain, though, is that the protocol, both in the vineyard and in the cellar, remains very traditional.


I have a lot of arpepe in the cellar, mostly sassella rocce and vigna and ultimi raggi. Amazing wines.

Thanks all for the comments. Any particular guidelines about style differences between the different vineyards or bottlings? I tried to look on their website (, but it’s a bit hard to decipher their explanation of each bottling.

Thanks for starting this thread Ashish. The only other Valtellina producer I’ve sampled is Sandro Fay, and I was very impressed by these wines as well. Does anyone here have enough experience to discuss the differences between these producers?

I can’t claim to have even nearly the same level of familiarity with Sandro Fay that I do with ARPEPE, but I’ve still had quite a lot of Fay wines over the last 15-20 years, with pretty consistent impressions. Sandro Fay is often seen as on the same level of quality as ARPEPE which, frankly, I have always found somewhat mystifying. The wines are generally good, sometimes very good, no doubt about that. To me, however, they are significantly more streamlined and less distinctive in their expression, usually including, among other things, a much more overt wood influence. In other words, not as fine and far less terroir-transparent. My bottles of their various wines from the early and mid '00s haven’t aged particularly well either.


Not entirely sure what you mean by “style” here, but I think the overall philosophy is very much the same for the entire range. Of course, the best sites receive a different treatment from the rest and more time in the cellar. The only bottling where “style”, as I understand the word, as opposed to simply doing no more than to strive for the clearest possible site/terroir expression, really comes into play is the Ultimi Raggi (inclusion of a portion of air-dried grapes, their only nod to Sforzato). Other than that, I feel that even generalising about the predominant character of the individual subzones makes little sense in ARPEPE’s case. The thing is, even their wines from the same subzone tend to consistently show notable differences: Vigna Regina vs Rocce Rosse or Buon Consiglio vs Sant’Antonio.
On the GCs, as a very rough generalisation, for what it’s worth… Buon Consiglio tends to show less overt structure and often seems to be the lightest, most lyrical and ethereal of the three traditional GCs. Vigna Regina tends to be more introvert, often a very “architectural”, silently brooding wine, a whisper rather than a drone, autumnal, sober and serious, always with great potential and, ultimately, possibly the most complex of the three: often starts out as a piece of sheer gray rock and veers towards wet earth and dry leaves as it ages. Rocce Rosse tends to be the least understated of the three, with more apparent fruit, more frontal impact, perhaps a slightly less glacial expression, layered and with great depth. The remaining two GCs, luckily, have not been around long enough for me to make half-witted extrapolations about them :slight_smile:. Nonetheless, expression-wise, the two vintages of each released to date have both struck me as being vaguely more on the Rocce Rosse side of the equation.
Again, as I wrote in my first post, all this only in a very relative sense - the vintage matters.
Not sure this helps, but there you go [cheers.gif]


stocked up a little bit on the 13 sassella ‘grand cru’ recently. I didn’t know they commonly made both in the same year.

There are two Sassella ‘GCs’, Vigna Regina and Rocce Rosse. It is, in fact, perfectly common for both to be released. The vineyards, while quite different in character, are physically not THAT far apart, making it, I assume, relatively unlikely that one would suffer some dreadful weather-related adversity while the other was spared.