Tag Archives: Petite Arvine

Wine Wednesday: Petite Arvine from Ottin (Valle d’Aosta)

Ottin Petite Arvine

This week’s blizzard has really made me miss ife on the slopes, all of it. I always remember the panini with speck and asiago cheese that I would eat when skiing in Italy and the desire to drink Vin Brule but the knowledge that too much of it would make me a worse skier. Hopefully, a settimana bianca will again be part of my life as Niccolo’ learns to ski and wants to go. It’s a great tradition in Italy that I miss.

This week’s wine of the week for wine wednesday is about Petite Arvine from Ottin. It was very clear and crisp with nice minerality and acidity. A straight-forward wine, “franco” the Italians wood say.

This is a fresh and friendly white wine which is a perfect drink on the mountains after a tough day on the slopes or after a hike in that beautiful countryside. I’ve always had it with mountain cheese such as Fontina DOP, charcuterie such as Jambon de Bosses DOP, Lard d’Arnad or alone as an aperitif.

I wish I had great pictures from the Valle d’Aosta. It is such a marvelous and special place. I have been skiing there a number of times (Monte Cervino, Monte Bianco, La Thuile) in my years in Italy and each time came back with a renewed respect for the mountains, the land and the wines. I have not spent much time there during the summer but I am sure the hiking rivals the skiing.

Each year they have an exposition for their wines in September. The association is called the Associazione Viticulteurs Encaveurs. In Italian, the term “viticultura eroica” means that those harvesting the wines are basically “heros” because it is so difficult in terms of the slope of the terraces.

In terms of wine production, there are a number of cooperatives as well as many individual producers. I also learned that some 40% of the members of the cooperatives are women, a fact I found quite interesting.

I spent a long time with a sommelier from the Valle d’Aosta at VInitaly one year. He was so incredibly well prepared and knowledgeable that I felt I had taken a trip through the region and through the vineyards with him. In fact, I highly suggest going to the sommelier booths at Vinitaly in years to come. You learn a lot and can taste many wines. I went on the last day of the fair at 900 AM and was alone with him for about one hour. I realize not everyone has that luxury. I felt very lucky that I did. It was one of my favorite tastings at the fair and among the most instructive.

For now, just an invitation and a suggestion – visit the Valle d’Aosta on your next holiday, winter or summer and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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Filed under Indigeous varieties, Valle d'Aosta, Wine of the Week, Wine of the Week, Wine Schools, Wine Wednesday, wines

Vinitaly Day 2: Part 2 – Lombardy & Lugana, Valle d’Aosta & Prie Blanc, Petite Arvine

Vinitaly this year was blessed with incredible weather. It actually felt almost like Summer or certainly the end of Spring. Usually I try to taste whites in the morning and reds in the afternoon. I know I am not alone in this. Areas of the country with big red wines tended to be more crowded in the late hours of the day.

Every year, I start my day in the Lombardy pavilion. It is always in the Palaexpo and is the first building when you get in the door. There are many white wines from the region that I love including of course, all of the Franciacorta wines.

This year, I had a meeting with a producer that makes Lugana. Lugana is a white wine made in the Lake Garda region from the Trebbiano di Lugana grape. While Trebbiano Toscano or other Trebbianos are often dismissed, this Trebbiano is one to remember. I tried three wines made with the Lugana and was quite impressed with all three.

I had done a big Lugana tasting two years ago as well and know that the wine can also age. I think Lugana could be the next big aperitivo wine. It has lots of minerality, great white fruit and floral notes and is relatively contained in terms of its alcoholic content, 12 -12.5%.

I also spent time on Monday last at the Valle d’Aosta counter. Another big hit from a previous Vinitaly. This year I tasted through some of the whites from the region including great wines from Ottin. I really liked their Petite Arvine, among other wines.

This wine did speak of a place and made me want to yodel, just like the Enoteca blogger mentioned. It was minerally and nicely acidic with great floral notes.

Prie Blanc, another white from the Valle d’Aosta is the grape used to make the well-known wines from Blanche de la Salle et Morgex. The wines from Ermes Pavese really stood out for me this time. I was impressed by the clarity and precision of these wines which was a refreshing change from some of the wines I had tasted. These wines screamed of place and altitude, just what I wanted – a sense of terroir.

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Filed under Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Italian wineries, Lombardy, Valle d'Aosta, wines

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.


Filed under Indigeous varieties, Italian indigenous Grape Varieties, Italian regions, Travel, Valle d'Aosta, wines