Francesco Agresti, from Les Crêtes, tells me an intersesting story about the extreme conditions of winemaking in Valle D’Aosta. Good to know. It almost never rains in the valley. Second, the hills on which the vines grow, are very stile. Machinery can’t do the job. It is Italy’s smallest appellation, with about 750 acres of vineyards, but also the highest! The Valle D’ Aosta, in the Alpine northwestern Italy lies in the shadows of some of Europe’s tallest peaks: Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. “Wine is the second market in the Valle d’Aosta. Fontina is the first,” says Francesco. “Established as a DOC only from 1986.” Some grapes are unique for the Valle D’ Aosta like: Petit rouge, Fumin, Petite Arvin, Torrette…
Les Crêtes is one of the area’s pioneering wineries. They really put a footprint in shaping the region. Les Crêtes was created in the 1980s by Constantino Charrère, the founder of a Mont Blanc ski school and the son of a local farmer and winemaker. It is now Valle d’Aosta’s largest private winery producing 170,000 bottles annually. All the Crêtes vineyards can be recognized by a small house on top of every hill.
Blending with street delicacies
When visiting the winery I asked for wines to blend with the local ‘cibo di strada’. I was advized to take the red Fumin Valle d’Aosta D.O.P. because it has a lot of structure and it blends very well with the typical cold cuts. But also Syrah Valle d’Aosta D.O.P. is an extremely good combination with Fontina and Toma cheese.
As for the white wines, the Fleur – Petite Arvine Valle d’Aosta D.O.P. is complexer and can therefore be used with antipasti. Good to know is that the Chardonnay Valle d’Aosta D.O.P. and Pinot Grigio d’Aosta D.O.P, cultivated in these mountains, create also an outstanding particular flavor.
Address: Les Crêtes www.lescretes.it Soc. Agr. Di Charrère & c.s.s. Aymavilles (AO), Valle d’Aosta
On the picture: Elena Charrière (daughter of Constantino Charrère) and Francesco Agresti.