Aosta Valley or VDA is the northernmost Alpine wine region of Italy and I was tasting some of these wines at my local wine shop The Fine Wine Source. The valley is Italy’s smallest and least populous region and abuts France and Switzerland, and French is the official second language of the region. Even though this area is small, and very hardy, they produce both red and white wines, and the most important red is the Picotendro, the local version of Nebbiolo. While the Valle D’Aosta DOC contains no DOCG, there are some subzones in the region. These wines are very popular domestically from the large tourist trade of the region, and hence there is very little that is actually imported, so it is not a common designation.
The first wine that I tried was Fuedo di San Maurizio Petite Arvine Valle D’Aosta DOC 2020. I found very little about this winery though they do offer wines also made from Petit Verdot, Petit Rouge, Fumin, Humagne Rouge, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay and Vuillermin. Petite Arvine also known as Arvine is a variety that is basically found in Valais, Switzerland and Valle D’Aosta, Italy and has been recorded for the last five-hundred-years, but the origin has not been determined. A late ripening grape that requires sunny sites and dry soil, not two requirements that one would immediately think of for the Alpine region. This wine had a grapefruit nose, and it was a big and sassy acidic palate with a saline (salty) finish and I just thought of fresh-water fish as the pairing for this wine.
The second wine that I had was Fuedo di San Maurizio Fumin Valle D’Aosta 2019. The same winery, but using the indigenous variety of the valley, namely the Fumin grape, which is a red grape. For years this grape was blended with other grapes for its deep purple-red color and was only recently brought back to prominence because of a few local winemakers. It is the perfect variety for the region, as it is not fussy, buds late, ripens early and doesn’t require as much sun as some of the other local grapes may require. The wine was rather earthy with notes of dark fruits and spices for the nose, while the palate was more blackberry and high acidity and a medium finish.