AR.PE.PE. is a “cult” winery in the best sense of that word: It’s a magical place, managed by a delightful family, producing some of the most beguiling expressions of Nebbiolo you’ll ever taste. Up in northern Lombardy, along Italy’s border with Switzerland, the vineyards of the Valtellina are a series of impossible-looking terraces planted mostly to Nebbiolo (or, as they call it locally, Chiavennasca).
The “Inferno” cru is light cherry-red with hints of brick at the rim, jumping from the glass with aromas of dried cherry, wild strawberry, blood orange, potpourri, raw tobacco, leather, dried mushroom, black tea, and wet stones. It is tangy and fine, medium-bodied and fresh with loads of aromatic persistence on the finish—it is delicious now after 30-60 minutes in a decanter, but there’s still plenty of life ahead of it.