Into the jaws of scarcity.

There may have been no greater cult figure in Italian wine than the late Edoardo Valentini, the mysterious producer of the wine many call Italy’s greatest white, Valentini Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

This extraordinary wine became legendary for its intensity, complexity and ageworthiness. And its mythic status was only fueled by its extreme rarity and Valentini’s reluctance to talk about how he made it.

Yet, its elusiveness has now jumped, due to a freak fall blizzard in 2013 which destroyed many of the old vines that produce it. According to Edoardo’s son and successor, Francesco, “half of the vines were damaged, unfortunately in the best zones ... precious vines that were at least half a century old.”

The first vintage to follow the devastation was 2014, and only time will tell how it is, in terms of both quality and availability. But we do know that the last two “normal” vintages, 2012 and 2013, were great. And we’re pleased to offer them in a mixed 4-pack, with two bottles of each vintage.

The Essence of Greatness

The key to this wine’s transcendent quality is its vines, originally planted by Edoardo in the 1950s. Convinced that the ancient local clone, Trebbiano d’Abruzzese, was best for conveying the soul of his terroir, Valentini ripped out the existing vines of the characterless Trebbiano Toscano clone and replanted with the indigenous one.

Adding to the wine’s depth and multifaceted personality is an extreme selection of fruit. Under Edoardo, only the best 5% was bottled, with the rest sold off in bulk. And since taking over on his father’s death in 2006, Francesco has been every bit as ruthless in his selection of fruit to include.

In fact, Francesco’s wines may be even better than his father’s. He has brought greater consistency and elegance to this profound wine, while sacrificing none of its transcendent character.

The 2012 and 2013

The latest illustrations of Francesco’s skill are the 2012 and 2013, both towering examples of this singular wine. And we really don’t know what to expect from subsequent vintages.

Here’s why. True to tradition, the Edoardo and Francesco Valentini team trained their Trebbiano vines in the classic tendone system, with a high canopy. In normally temperate Abruzzo, the canopies still had leaves in late November 2013. The blizzard’s heavy snowfall collected on them—particularly in the best, most-exposed sites—in many cases snapping the vine trunks in two.

The past few years have seen ever-increasing requests for the small quantity that we are able to source of this unique wine. And between the quality of the 2012 and 2013 vintages, and anticipated future shortages, we expect demand will continue to grow.

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