Valle d'Aosta - Food and Wine - Wines
This tiniest of regions, tucked into Italy's mountainous northwest corner against the borders of Switzerland and France, has precious little space for vines on its stony alpine terraces. But the miniscule amounts of wine it does produce are distinct from anything else in Italy or its foreign neighbours.
A regionwide DOC known as Valle d'Aosta or Vale'e d'Aoste covers 15 types of wine whose names are given in Italian and French, the official second language. These include the long-standing DOCs of Donnaz and Enfer d'Arvier, as well as the white wines of Morgex and La Salle, whose vineyards in the shadow of Mont Blanc are reputed to be the highest in Europe.
But whether Valle d'Aosta's wines are classified or not, they could never be more than curios that are most compelling when drunk on the spot. Grape varieties range from Piedmontese (Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Moscato) to French (the pinots, Gamay), to the teutonic Mller Thurgau called in for alpine duty.
But the most intriguing wines of Valle d'Aosta stem from varieties it calls its own. These include Petit Rouge of Enfer d'Arvier and Torrette, the Blanc de Valdigne of Morgex and La Salle, the Petite Arvine of the white Vin du Conseil, the Vien for the red wine of Nus and the Malvoisie (apparently a mutation of Pinot Gris) for rare dessert white of Nus.