Aosta Valley

If we start from the north, it is due to start our journey through the Bel Paese from the Aosta Valley, the smallest and least populated Italian region. The region is set in the western alpine slope, bordering on France and Switzerland, surrounded by the four highest mountains in the Alps: Mont Blanc (4,810 m), Matterhorn (4,478 m), Monte Rosa (4,637 m) and the Gran Paradiso (4,061 m). The territory is exclusively mountainous and does not give much space to agriculture: the vine cultivation takes place up to 1,200 m and is practiced almost to the limits of its survival. The vineyard area, the smallest in Italy, amounts to just over 400 hectares and, for the most part, is concentrated along the main river Dora Baltea.

The soil is sandy-clayey and the important slopes force farmers to build terraces and walls, excluding the use of mechanized cultivation. The most used form of farming is the pergola. There are very different local microclimates between valleys and mountain slopes: in fact, at high altitude there is a rigid alpine climate, with short summers and long cold winters, with temperatures falling even to -20 ° C (even at -30 ° C above 2,000 m); in the valley bottoms are observed continental climates where, in winter, temperatures fall around 0 ° C while in summer they rise up to 30 ° C.

Aosta Valley is one of the few regions that, due to its altitude and climate, has never been attacked by Fillossera, an insect native to North America that in the nineteenth century killed almost all the vineyards of the continent. For this reason, it still hosts vineyards with a frank foot, such as the Prié Blanc from which the Blanc de Morgex is obtained.

Native and local varieties

  • 16% Petit rouge 
  • 9% Nebbiolo 
  • 6% Prié blanc 
  • 5% Fumin 
  • 4% Moscato bianco 
  • 4% Petit Arvine 
  • 4% Gamay 
  • 2% Cornallin 
  • 2% Vien de Nus 
  • 1% Mayolet 
  • 1% Gewürztraminer 
  • 1% Dolcetto 

International varieties

  • 6% Pinot nero 
  • 4% Chardonnay 
  • 3% Pinot grigio 
  • 3% Müller Thurgau 

Region

  • population: 125.901 (2018)
  • area: 3.261 km²
  • mountains 100% / hills 0% /plains 0%

Vineyards

  • 2017: 447 hectares (+29%)
  • 2016: 347 hectares (+9%)
  • 2015: 317 hectares

Wine production

  • 2017: 9.750 hectoliters - 21,8 hectoliters/hectare (-53%)
  • 2016: 20.700 hectoliters - 59,7 hectoliters/hectare (+43%)
  • 2015: 14.467 hectoliters - 45,6 hectoliters/hectare

Classification

  • DOC wines 85% / IGT wines 0% / generic wines 15%
  • red wines 69% / white wines 31%
Source: Istat 2018

Throughout the region, quality wine production is limited to a single denomination, introduced in 1971: Valle d'Aosta / Vallée d'Aoste DOC. It is quite grazed as it includes 7 sub-zones and 19 grape varieties, including some recently discovered indigenous varieties.

Because of its boundary position, thanks to the autonomous administrative structure, there is the Italian / French bilingualism, which we find also in the field of wine, from the names of vines to those of wines. So do not be surprised when we buy an Italian wine with the label written in French.

DOCG wines

  • none

DOC wines

IGT wines

  • none
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