Aosta

or the Valle d’Aosta (Vallée d’Aoste to the region’s many French speakers)

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Aosta or the Valle d’Aosta (Vallée d’Aoste to the region’s many French speakers) is Italy’s smallest region (see map under italy). The long, narrow valley formed by the River Dora Baltea as it courses through the mountains of Italy’s extreme north west is Italy’s connecting link to France and Switzerland and to the north of Europe beyond. As a consequence, wine labels may be written in either Italian or French.

In this rugged alpine landscape the vineyards, planted on hillsides flanking the Dora Baltea, are frequently terraced on dizzyingly steep slopes. No more than 18,000 hl/475,000 gal of wine qualifying as doc is produced from a total of 462 ha/1,140 acres of vines, with 300 ha qualified to produce DOC wines, in an average year. Despite such minuscule production levels, the region has no fewer than seven subzones suffixing a single overarching DOC, Valle d’Aosta, while a host of international and local varieties may appear on labels as single varietals.