Producing your own distinct style of wine in an area that is famous for just producing one grape variety is hard, but for the Sandro Fay family it is all about putting the focus on developing Nebbiolo grapes that are as sustainable as possible and using the individual characteristics of single vineyards to really make your wines stand out from even within their own estate. Find out for yourself at today’s Nebbiolo Day tasting in London.
Producers from across the key grape growing areas that produce Nebbiolo in Italy will be showing their wines at today’s second Nebbiolo Day tasting in London including these from Sandro Fay.
Tell us something about the history of the winery and when it was set up and has grown?
The Società Agricola Fay was founded in 1973 by Sandro Fay who, starting from a small family-run wine producing business, decided to expand the estate’s activities. Construction work began in 1971 on the winery’s premises in San Giacomo di Teglio and in the following years the vineyards were extended by incorporating several additional plots of land. Since 1998, Sandro has been flanked by his sons Marco and Elena.
Our vineyards extend over 15 hectares and traditionally, our wine estate is strongly linked to the Valgella sub-zone, where most of our production is concentrated. We work in a sustainable viticulture, with grass in the vineyards, no fertilizing.
The soil in our vineyards is mainly sandy (about 70%), silty (18%) (clay and limestone are absent), with an acid pH ranging between 4,5 and 5,5, and it has resulted from crumbled granitic formations that vary in thickness from less than one metre to a few metres.
We are committed to promoting single vineyards, which, due to their different soils and altitudes, produce wines with distinctive characteristics.
Why do you grow Nebbiolo and what sort of styles of wine do you hope to make from it?
In Valtellina we have been growing Nebbiolo (Chiavennasca) for more than 1,000 years so it is important for us to continue the tradition. Our style is linked to the elegant expression, floral and mineral, typical of the mountain area.
Have the styles of Nebbiolo changed over the years and if so how and why?
Our territory is so extreme and strong that it is always superior to any style. You can have different interpretations from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the basic impression remains strong.
Which Nebbiolo wines do you export to the UK?
All our wines. The UK is a mature market that appreciates the Valtellina for its deep history, its 2,500 km of terraces and the extreme conditions of cultivation. We work with Passione Vino.
What other grapes do you grow?
Up to 95% is Nebbiolo (Chiavennasca). In 2014 we planted Chardonnay in an extreme area for the altitude (830 m asl); at this altitude it is difficult to have good ripeness on Nebbiolo and so we decided to push on the acidity and minerality of a white variety.
What are you other major export markets and why?
US and Japan – they are both similar markets as the UK in terms of their understanding of what we can do.
How do you see 2019, what are your big opportunities and what are the challenges?
It’s a good moment for Valtellina, we are sure that the positive energy of this territory will give great results also in the future.
Why should a buyer or sommelier come and taste your wines at the tasting?
Because we have a historical Nebbiolo, a unique and terraced territory with an alpine character.
- The Nebbiolo Day tasting takes place on March 5 at the Lindley Hall, Elverton St, London SW1P 2PB including more than 90 winemakers and 500 Nebbiolo wines. It will include in-depth seminars and master classes by Walter Speller ( ) and the guru of Italian wine maps Alessandro Masnaghetti ( ). You can also test your knowledge of the many styles and guess the origin of more than 90 wines on the Nebbiolo Trail. To register go to http://huntandspeller.com