I Love Italian Travel – Wine Touring In Val d’Aosta


So you are planning to visit Val d’Aosta, a sliver of mountainous land bordering on Switzerland and France. This region is bilingual and boasts some of the best skiing in Europe for example on Mount Blanc near Courmayeur. In this tiny region you’ll find some 150 historic castles, forts, and towers. Visit the medieval village of Bard and the fort that impeded Napoleon’s military progress for two weeks way back when. St. Vincent has been a spa resort for more than one hundred years and is popular with the jet set. If you have time for only one castle, make it the Castello Fénis and don’t miss its ancient frescoes. Visit the Parco Nazionale de Gran Paradiso (Grand Paradise National Park) is Italy’s first national park, and once belonged to King Victor Emanuel III. You’ll see many species unique to Europe. Finish your tour in the capital Aosta home to the cathedral, other historic churches, and Roman ruins. The Ad Forum Enoteca built on ancient Roman walls in the center of the city is the place to taste local wines.

Val d’Aosta handles wine classification differently from almost any other region of Italy. There is a single DOC zone which englobes the entire region. Most of the thirteen wine styles are identified by grape variety. The reds are dry but the whites may be dry or sweet, still, frizzy, or sparkling. However, very little of the local wine is exported to North America. After all, there are only 385 acres (about 155 hectares) of vineyards in the entire Val d’Aosta DOC that are exploited by thousands of growers.

Major white grape varieties include the local Blanc de Morgex and Petite Arvine (popular in Switzerland. International varieties include Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Local red varieties include Petit Rouge, Picotendro (called Nebbiolo in neighboring Piedmont), Premetta, and Fumin. International red varieties include Gamay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah. For a tiny volume there are lots of grape varieties.

Companies that sell regional wine tours include di Vino Tours, Italian Wine Holidays, and Wine Tour Italia. Regional wineries that accept visits include Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle in Morgex and Societa Agricola Les Cretes in Aymavilles. Contact the Institut Agricole Régional in Aosta and Viticulteurs Encaveurs Vallee d’Aoste in Quart for information about visiting other wine producers. A few words of warning are in order. Make sure that you check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some of these places may charge admission; others may expect you to buy some of their products.