Valle d'Aosta is a small region nestled between Piedmont, France and Switzerland. The conformation of the land and the harsh mountain climate make the cultivation of the vine in this region a truly difficult undertaking, when one speaks of Valle d'Aosta wines one speaks in fact of heroic cultivation.
The territory is for the 60% mountain, with slopes in some points also of 100%, nevertheless thanks to the intense and exhausting job of the vine-growers of Valle d'Aosta it is possible to produce wines of high quality to the highest altitudes of Europe, the vine is cultivated in fact until 1200 meters.
Viticulture in Valle d'Aosta has been practised since the 16th century by the various monasteries scattered throughout the region and was practised for centuries until the scourge of phylloxera destroyed most of the vines in the second half of the 19th century. It was thanks to the birth of the cooperative wine cellars that cultivation resumed and reached today's quality levels. Today, two thirds of Valle d'Aosta wines are produced by six cooperative wineries and the remainder by around thirty private companies.
In spite of the region's mountainous conformation, 85% of the vineyards are red grapes, most of which are native varieties. The most cultivated autochthonous varieties are Petit Rouge, Fumin, Vien de Nus, Mayolet, Cornalin, Vuillermin and Prëmetta (Prié Rouge), followed by Nebbiolo and the international Pinot Noir, Gamay, Merlot and Sirah. The white grape varieties include Prié Blanc and Petit Arvine with Chardonnay, Muller Thurgau, Pinot Grigio and Moscato Bianco.
The wines of Valle d'Aosta are enclosed under a single DOC, Valle d'Aosta, divided into seven sub-areas of production distributed in three macro-areas: in the westernmost area, the Upper Valley, bordered by Mont Blanc, are the area of Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle, where the homonymous typical Valdostan wine is produced based on Prié Blanc, the only variety able to adapt to the altitude and harshness of the climate, and Enfer d'Arvier. In the Central Valley, red wines based on autochthonous varieties are mainly produced. There are three production areas: Torrette, Nus and Chambave, where excellent Muscat wines are produced. The last area is that of the Lower Valley which reaches the border with Piedmont, here in the areas of Donnas and Arnaud-Montjovet red wines based on Nebbiolo are produced.
Aosta Valley typical wines
Typical Aosta Valley wines include the white Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle made from Prié Blanc, Fumin, a Valle d'Aosta wine made from the grape variety of the same name, Petit Arvine, a white wine with a nice mineral and fresh verve and the rare Malvoisie de Fletri, an elegant passito made from Pinot Grigio grapes.