Ascesa - Boutinot

Meet the Producer

You can spot a wine producer from Valtellina at 100 paces… Legs like tree trunks! They spend the autumn carrying heavy rucksacks of grapes down the vertiginous slopes, and then in the spring, carry even heavier rucksacks full of all the soil that’s washed down in the winter back up again!

It’s worth it though… at least it most certainly is for Fabrizio Testa at Ascesa. Started in 2018 through a dream of 4 friends, Ascesa are working with the local Chiavennasca: Nebbiolo though not quite as we know it. Fabrizio produces shimmeringly pale, garnet-coloured wines low in alcohol, beautifully perfumed with wonderful ripe, full and complex flavours, in some of the most trying viticultural landscapes in the world; tractors literally can’t work on these terraces. Winemaking is done with little intervention – harvests must be manual; ferments are spontaneous and vineyard management is done in a sustainable manner.

We somewhat think of the synonymous varieties as the same, but they’re not, not really. Speaking with Fabrizio, he emphasises that Italy was very fractuous up until relatively recently – it was only unified in 1871! – so when it came to planting in Valtellina, you went to Switzerland to get your vines not down to Barolo. It’s possibly a bit of a cliché, but these Lombardian wines are ethereal in every sense of the word. All the pretty, lifted, floral perfume that you know from Nebbiolo without any dark austerity, alongside gentle powdery snow blanket tannins and charming juicyness from “Chiavannesca”.

As they put it themselves – Ascesa is a direct wine, sincere and without too many frills…

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