Sandro started the vineyard in 1973. This is a tiny estate, cradled in a breathtaking valley in the middle of the Alps in the Valtellina region of Italy. Located near the Swiss border, the vines receive a lot of sunshine and cool nights in vineyards cultivated on small steep terraces that have been hand built throughout the centuries. They are the highest elevation vineyards in all of Italy, reaching altitude of 3000 feet. The dominant grape in the region is Nebbiolo, but this region’s Nebbiolo is quite different to that of Piedmont on account of the altitude.
Piedmont’s Barolos and Barbarescos are very firm powerful and masculine red wines with characteristics not unsimilar to red Burgundy, and definitely have the same ageing characteristics. If the comparison was to follow suit with the Valtellina wines then they would have to be akin to elegant and soft Cote De Nuits wines where the Barolos would sit firmly in the Cote De Beaune.
The Fay family philosophy is somewhat Burgundian too with their commitment to single vineyard, and the production of individual wines with the individual and distinctive characteristics of the particular soil of those vineyards, (mainly sandstone and granite silt).
The family’s flagship wine is Sforzato Valtellina Ronco del Picchio.
Sforzato, which means “to push through” is made from grapes that are picked as late as the first week in October and are then left to partially dry out (appasimento in Italian) until mid December when they are macerated and fermented to produce a wine similar to Amarone.