Sforzato di Valtellina

#docg #red #dry #still #lombardy #nebbiolo

Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG is a dry raisin red wine produced in Valtellina, in the province of Sondrio. The name Sforzato derives from the verb sforzare (force in English), i.e forcefully prolong the ripening of the grapes before conferring them in the cellar.

The bunches, after being clean, are dried on special racks sheltered from the rain, where they lose a large part of their water and increase the concentration of the sugars. The drying process lasts about 3 months and, therefore, lasts until the month of January of the year following the harvest.

Once vinified, the wine is aged for at least 20 months, 12 of which are in wooden barrels.


Valtellina valley extends in east-west direction within a entirely mountainous territory. It is surrounded to the north be the Rhaetian Alps, with peaks over 4.000 m, and to the south by the less impressive Orobic Alps.

Viticulture is developed on the north side of the valley, the one completely exposed to the sun, between 300 and 700 m of altitude. Due to the steep slopes, most of the vineyards are arranged on artificial terraces, in some cases so difficult to reach that they have to use a rail system during harvest. Despite its impervious and not very functional appearance, this territorial structure strongly characterizes the grapes because the various terraces, made of stones, guarantee on average an higher temperature of 4°C (7°F) compared to the one in the valley and a considerable thermic excursion between day and night between 10 and 20°C (18 and 36°F).

The land, mainly consisting of flaked granite rocks, has a very high permeability. The lack of water retention, which in some periods of the year causes drought, also forces the vines to develop very deep roots to absorb the necessary water. These conditions make possible to produce high quality wines with high sugar content and, consequently, high alcohol content.


The color is intense ruby red with garnet reflections. On the nose there emerge notes of ripe fruit, jam, spicy notes of cocoa, tobacco and coffee from a very wide bouquet; depending on the duration of aging, the pleasant woody notes emerge more or less intense. The taste is dry, full bodied, very soft.

Food pairing

Sforzato di Valtellina DOCG is a wine suitable for tables of prestige, with dishes that emphasize the noble character of Nebbiolo. It pairs very well with the traditional Valtellinaproducts such as Pizzoccheri, Taragna polenta, Bresaola salami and Bitto pasture cheese. It pairs also with stewed or roasted red meat, as well as with game.


  • registration: 1968 DOC 2003 DOCG
  • category: red wine
  • carbon dioxide: still
  • residual sugar: dry
Production zone
  • region: Lombardy
  • province: Sondio
  • territory: Valtellina
  • Sforzato di Valtellina
Grapes varieties
  • Nebbiolo 90-100%
  • non aromatic local grapes 0-10%
Maximum productivity
  • quintals of grapes per hectare: 80
  • hectoliters of wine per quintal: 0,5
  • hectoliters of wine per hectare: 40
Minimum alcohol
  • Sforzato di Valtellina: 14,0%
  • temperature: 18°C / 64°F
  • glass: wide wine glass
  • longevity: 10-20 years
Happy wine!