Boffalora – Valtellina, Lombardy
Boffalora started in 2009 when Giuseppe Guglielmo took over his father-in-law’s precipitous vineyards in Valtellina. Located between two alpine passes to the North East of Milan near the Swiss border, the Valtellina has 2,000 years of viticultural history. The wines are made from the local Chiavennasca Nebbiolo biotype – mountain fresh, pure and focussed. His winery is in a repurposed stable carved in the side of the slope. A believer in balance he is also a beekeeper and allows spontaneous crops to grow between the rows to ensure a good environment for both the vines and the bees. Giuseppe is a true artisan doing everything by himself and looks after 3ha of Chiavennasca (Nebbiolo) planted on steep terraced vineyards at altitudes varying between 350m and 700m. Vine ages range from over 70 years to more recent massal plantings and all are located in the Valtellina Superiore. Here plots are tiny, carved into the mountain side over generations. They are normally tended by part-time vine growers working on long-inherited plots and fewer than a dozen have amassed even a paltry 3ha. This is heroic viticulture where one person can struggle to farm 1ha rather than the Langhe’s 10. Giuseppe adds no sulphur to the fruit and fermentation is strictly with indigenous yeasts only.