The autonomous region of Val d'Aosta is the smallest and the least populous part ofn Italy, bordering with Switzerland and France in the North-West and Piedmont in the South. Its first inhabitants were Celts and Ligures. Rome conquered the region around 25 B.C. and founded Augusta Prætoria Salassorum, modern-day Aosta, the capital city.
The name Valle d'Aosta literally means "Valley of Augustus". In the middle ages, the region was divided among strongly fortified castles and several centuries later, as part of the Savoy kingdom of Piedmont and Sardinia, it joined the Kingdom of Italy after the reunification of the peninsula in 1861.
Italian and French are the official languages and most of the native population also speak the Valdôtain dialect.
The climate is cold continental, with a long snowy season (some years even up to eight or nine months), quite misty and humid in summer. This region is home to the highest elevated vineyards in Europe. Thanks to its position, the area has never been affected by phylloxera, for which reason these vineyards have ungrafted rootstock. The main wineries are located along the banks of the river Dora Baltea.
Local wines enjoy the DOC status (controlled designation of origin), a set of very strict rules that dictate what kind of grapes should be grown in which locations. Despite its small territory, Val d'Aosta produces a surprisingly high number of grape varieties: Müller Thurgau, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Mayolet, Moscato Bianco or Muscat Petit Grain, Gamaret, Vuillermin, Petite Arvine, Merlot, Fumin, Syrah, Cornalin, Petit Rouge, Prëmetta and Aromatic Traminer, also known as Gewürztraminer, as well as the famous Nebbiolo. Al least 85% of these varieties must be contained in the relevant wines. A maximum of 15% of the other varieties are also allowed for production, depending on the colour of the grapes.A great deal of the area's production is red wine, mostly made with the Pinot Noir, Gamay and Petit Rouge varieties. A fine sparkling white wine is produced from the indigenous Prié (or Petit) Blanc grape by the cooperative of Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle.
Typical Red Wines
Donnas, Arnad-Montjovet, Torrette, Enfer d’Arvier
Typical White Wines
Chambave Muscat, Nus Malvoisie, Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle