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Valle d’Aosta – valley wines to discover

>> Thursday, March 04, 2010

Most people would think of ham and of skiing rather than wine. But they do make wine in Valle d’Aosta. As a matter of fact, all 20 Italian regions produce wine. But the quantity is not large; only 2 million bottles are produced per year. But the quality is high, from what we could judge from a tasting in Paris. So if you go there, make sure to dive into the local wines. 60% of the production is white, some of it sparkling of excellent quality. The grapes are often local varieties, almost unheard of elsewhere. For example fumin, petit rouge and prié blanc. But they also do some excellent dry pinot gris, sweet moscato and red syrah wines.

This is Italy’s smallest region and it is almost exclusively mountain country. The vineyards are at the foot of Mont Blanc, the mountain the Italians share with France. The slopes are steep and difficult to work, sometimes with terraces. This is indeed high altitude wine growing: up to 1300 m above sea level. Modern wine production is a quite recent phenomena and they had their first DOC in 1991. Therefore the vines are often young which, according to the Italian sommelier Moreno Rossin, gives wine with a fresh fruit, often suitable to drink young.

The red fumin was an interesting acquaintance to make. It’s one of those rare grapes that have coloured grape pulp (a ‘tinturier’ in French) and it makes a wine with an intense fruity cassis flavour. You could try the Fumni 2007 from L’Atouéyo de Saraillon Fernanda, a DOC Valle d’Aosta. An excellent sparkling wine is the one made from prié blanc grapes from La Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle (certainly a mouthful of a name). Aromatic with lots of pears (poire william) and a fine mousse and smooth taste. More info


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