Valtellina Superiore Inferno wines are made under the Valtellina Superiore DOCG, specifically from grapes grown in the Inferno subregion. All Valtellina Superiore must feature a minimum of 90 percent Nebbiolo, known locally as Chiavennasca.
Inferno is one of five viticultural subzones specifically identified as producing Valtellina wines of particularly high quality. The other four are Grumello, Sassella, Maroggia and Valgella.
Inferno means "hell" in Italian. This refers to the slopes between Sondrio town and the village of Tresivio. Although DOC laws do not explain the origins of this name, it has been suggested that in summer the slopes here get noticeably hotter than the rest of the valley.
Nino Negri is the leading wine estate (in terms of size and profile) in the Valtellina region of Lombardy in Northern Italy, producing wines mainly from Chiavennasca, the local name for Nebbiolo. It is particularly known for its Sfursat or Sforzato ("strained" or "forced") a style of dry red wine made from air dried grapes.
Founded in 1897, the company owns 31 hectares (76.6 acres) of vineyards in the Valtellina Superiore DOCG zones of Sassella, Grumello, Inferno and Valgella.
As is common in the region, many of the vineyards are on rocky, steeply terraced slopes which rule out any mechanization. Topsoils are sandy and can be very shallow, so vine roots are often forced into cracks in the rocks beneath.
The winery is located in the city of Chiuro in the 15th-Century Castello Quadrio. Underneath the building are extensive cellars housing thousands of barrels.
Wines are mainly aged in French oak barriques though American oak barrels also feature. All Nino Negri wines are aged for at least two years before release.
Winemaker Casimiro Maule has worked his entire career at the estate, commencing in 1971. In 2007, he was named Winemaker of the Year by Gambero Rosso magazine.