The Valle d’Aosta’s steep granite slopes near Monte Bianco are among the world’s most impressive vineyards in the context of man vs.nature. Germany’s Mosel and France’s Haute-Savoie come to mind, as well. These vines are literally clinging to mountainsides. A Swiss variety, Petite Arvine, found a home here, and delivers a wonderfully aromatic white with pleasant fleshiness to go along with the bracing, saline finish that cleanses the palate like a gurgling mountain stream. –Dixon Brooke
If Maurizio Fiorano became a vineyard owner by chance, he was lucky in the placement of his plots—he will humbly tell you that it’s not hard to make good wine here. The vines sit in shallow sandy soil, but their feet wriggle into crevices in the solid granite bedrock. The vineyards are planted on an ancient riverbed, where the Dora Baltea River cut through, creating the current river valley and leaving behind mineral deposits that the wines happily lap up. The trump card, however, may be high altitude and diurnal temperature shifts providing long hours of gentle sunlight. This gives the grapes a long, slow ripening season that in turn offers red wines with the heft of a sunny climate that are still refreshing and light.
Great winemakers, great terroirs, there is never any hurry. And I no longer buy into this idea of “peak” maturity. Great winemakers, great terroirs, their wines offer different pleasures at different ages.
Inspiring Thirst, page 312