Italian Wine Regions: Valle d’Aosta

I’m starting a new series on this blog, not an exhaustive one, but a smattering of information about the 20 regions of Italy. To start, naturally I am looking to the smallest region in the North, the Valle d’Aosta. The tag line they use is “Un Cuore di Natura.” Anyone who has ever been to the Valle d’Aosta knows that this is true.

Lucky for me and so many others who live or lived in Milan, going to the Valle d”Aosta was really just a stone’s throw away. I spent many wonderful weekends skiing on those slopes and many others admiring the sheer landscape, the castles and most of all the sky at night filled with twinkling stars.

In addition to its’ skiing and hiking possibilities, the Valle d’Aosta is renowned for its cheese, salumi, chocolates and of course, its’ wines.

The first wine most people try from the Valle d’Aosta is from the cooperative Donnas but this is only the beginning.

There is a Routes des Vins in the Valle d’Aosta that allows you to discover more than 35 private wineries and six coops. In the Valle d’Aosta there are privately held wineries as well as cooperatives. You can even hike and do wine tasting at the same time if you follow the Chemin des Vignobles.

Last year at Vinitaly, I went on my own path through the Valle d’Aosta led by an extraordinarily well-prepared Sommelier in the Valle d’Aosta pavilion. I tried only indigenous varieties although many international ones grow in this region as well.

Among my favorites were wines made from Fumin, Prie Blanc, Prie Rouge, Petite Arvine, and Torrette. There are many well-known producers in this area including La Crotta di Vegneron, Les Cretes, Grojean Freres and Cave du Vin Blanc.

Most of them practice what is known as “heroic” viticultural because the vines are so incredibly steep. All harvest by hand and some grow on their own rootstocks.
I think that we will be seeing both more tourism to this area as well as more of these wines on our shores. At least I hope so. Just in case, I’m going to spend another long morning at that Pavilion at this year’s Vinitaly. I can’t wait.

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