While I was enjoying some unique Italian wines at my local wine shop, The Fine Wine Source, I encountered a third wine from the same region. The region is the Aosta Valley DOC, Valle d’Aosta DOC or just VDA DOC. The third wine is a subregion or zone and it has its own DOC and its own grape. The Aosta Valley is Italy’s smallest and least populous region in the mountainous region of the northwest corner where Italy abuts France and Switzerland. These alpine regions are the some of the highest vineyards in Europe.
I had a chance to taste Piero Brunet Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle DOC Vallée D’Aoste 2019, with a fourth way of doing the larger district. Morgex et de la Salle is the northernmost sub-region of the Aosta Valley, in the shadow of Mont Blanc. Officially the region is the steep slopes above the valley that the Dora Baltea River flows, on south-facing slopes from the river’s edge to 1300m (4265 ft) between the two municipalities of Morgex and La Salle. The vineyards are cobbled on narrow plots, surrounded by stone walls, on low height pergolas and between the stone walls and the gravel soil, heat is captured and slowly released throughout the day. While this wine is still and dry, the region also is known for a dessert wine and some sparkling wine as well.
The variety of this wine is the Prie Blanc is a light skinned grape that excels in the high altitudes, as in 3,900 feet above sea level, and the area is naturally resistant to phylloxera, and hence it is one of the few vines that is ungrafted and the average age for the vines is sixty-years of age. The region is the home of the Prie Blanc since at least the Seventeenth Century. The vines bud very late and usually well past the last frost, and is one of the earliest grapes to harvest. With the age of the vines and the unique growing system, the yield is very low, and the juice is highly concentrated. The wine had a very subtle floral nose and some herbs, a very dry wine that is very acidic and a long finish of terroir, in this case very flinty. Since this region is a main route between France and Italy, the tourists usually consume the entire wine of the area, in fact the demand usually exceeds the supply, so very few wines are encountered here.