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Wines from the Aosta Valley

The wines of the Aosta Valley region are truly unique and represent a small jewel in the Italian world of wine. The cold and the mountains are the common features of Aosta Valley wines, which are produced through heroic and laborious viticulture, practised at an altitude of over 1,000 metres on rocky and steep soils in rigid and almost inhospitable temperatures. Nestled between the most imposing and majestic European peaks, such as Mont Blanc and Mont Rose, the vines of Petite Arvine, Chardonnay, Petit Rouge, Pinot Noir and Fumin have adapted wonderfully to these lands, giving birth to fresh and light wines with a strong mineral imprint.

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The wines of the Aosta Valley region are truly unique and represent a small jewel in the Italian world of wine. The cold and the mountains are the common features of Aosta Valley wines, which are produced through heroic and laborious viticulture, practised at an altitude of over 1,000 metres on rocky and steep soils in rigid and almost inhospitable temperatures. Nestled between the most imposing and majestic European peaks, such as Mont Blanc and Mont Rose, the vines of Petite Arvine, Chardonnay, Petit Rouge, Pinot Noir and Fumin have adapted wonderfully to these lands, giving birth to fresh and light wines with a strong mineral imprint.

An Extreme and Precious Territory

The Aosta Valley, located on the north-western border of Italy, is the smallest and least populated region in the whole of the Italian peninsula. As evidenced by its bilingualism and ancient local traditions, it has always been influenced by its transalpine cousins, to the point of becoming a melting pot of French and Italian cultures. It is the most mountainous region in Italy, and is home to the greatest giants of the Alps, such as Mont Blanc (4,810 m), Monte Rosa (4,634 m), Monte Cervino (4,478 m) and Gran Paradiso (4,061 m), to name but a few. The abundance of flora and rich animal biodiversity have resulted in the development of a large protected area, with nature reserves and parks, which attracts a large number of tourists every year. However, skiing, climbing and summer activities such as hiking along scenic trails, rafting and trekking are also attracting an increasing number of visitors from all over the world.

The territory is divided in two parts from north-east to south-west by the Dora Baltea river, which makes a sort of sharp bend and descends southwards into the Padanian Plain to flow into the Po river. In the north-west is the most inaccessible area, full of majestic mountains and dominated by frost. In the south-east, however, the altitude decreases and the mountains descend gently towards the Piedmont region. On both sides, the vines have adapted to the environment and grow in small patches of land carved out of the mountains. Vine-growing is hard, 'heroic' and tiring, especially in the north, with the vines reaching an altitude of over 1000 metres between steep rocky walls. The climate certainly does not help as the temperature range is very significant and rainfall not very frequent, making it particularly dry and arid. It is in this extreme and unique context that Aosta Valley wines are born, condensing all the alpine freshness and minerality provided by the rocky walls.

Among the cultivated vines there are an abundant number of native varieties, such as the famous white grape Petite Arvine, the Fumin, the Prie Blanc, the Petit Rouge, the Cornalin and many others. These are joined by varieties that are widespread internationally, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Pinot Grigio.


The Most Important Wine Areas of the Aosta Valley

In this small enological treasure chest there is only one D.O.P. covering the entire area and it is divided into seven sub-areas from west to east:

Blanc Morgex de la Salle is the first area encountered as you descend from the north-west. It is certainly one of the most extreme, where the beautiful Prie Blanc vines climb to extreme altitudes (terraced at over 1000 m). A good number of slightly sour and fresh white wines are produced here, as well as very interesting sparkling wines.

Continuing towards the valley, near the city of Aosta, the red wines Enfer d'Arvier and Torrette are produced from Petit Rouge vineyards, cultivated at altitudes that sometimes exceed 700 metres above sea level, along with other Petite Arvine-based white wines. These are medium-structured, easy-drinking wines that are designed to be enjoyed immediately. These areas are home to some of the region's most famous producers such as Les Cretes, Chateau Feuillet and Ottin.

To the east of the capital is the Nus denomination, which produces a very original red wine made from a rare red grape variety, the Vien de Nus. The production of dry or passito white versions with Malvoisie is also renowned.

The Chambave area, a little further east, is one of the region's most famous denominations, producing red wines based on Petit Rouge and Gamay and, especially, dry whites or refined passito wines from Muscat Blanc grapes.

The last two sub-areas dedicated to the production of Aosta Valley wines are Arnad Montjovet and Donnas. Here there is a large production of red wines with Nebbiolo grapes, locally called Picoutener ("thin-skinned" in the local dialect). These denominations have many characteristics in common with Piedmontese reds. In fact, the town of Donnas is only 10 kilometres from the famous Carema area of Piedmont. 

Looking for a red or white wine from the Aosta Valley to enjoy with dinner? Browse Callmewine's extensive online catalogue and choose the best Aosta Valley wines at very special prices.