Vallée d'Aoste, Italy
Surrounded by the Alps next to the borders of France and the Valais, this is where some of the highest elevated vineyards can be found. This is the smallest region in Italy.
The climate is continental with hot and dry weather in the summer and very cold temperatures during the summer. The region is marked by steep, high slopes making mechanical harvesting nearly impossible. Divided into three areas, there is the Valdigne, the Central valley and the lower valley.
The soils are composed primarily of sand with pockets of limestone at higher elevations where else further down the valley, more alluvial clay and gravel is found.
In the Valdigne, Blanc de Morgext is the main grape which is a white wine that can be found in both still and sparkling styles. In the Central valley, red wines are made from Petit Rouge combined with lesser amounts of Pinot Noir, Dolcetto, Gamay and Vien de Nus. Single varieties of Fumin and Pinot Noir can be found as well as sweet wine called Chambave Moscato. Arnad-Montjovet and Donnas are influenced by the neighboring Piedmont to produce Nebbiolo blends.
- French and Italian are the official languages of the Valle d’Aosta.
- The valley is full of Roman architecture because of Roman rule for five centuries. Places to visit are the Forensic cryptoporticus which dates back to the Augustan era, the Porta Praetoria and the Roman Theatre.
- The region is known for its many castles such as the Savoy castle, the Fortress of Bard, and the Sarriod de La Tour.
- Known cuisines in the Aosta valley are Valpelline soup which is a meat stock with cabbage and fontina cheese and Carbonada (meat stew). You can also find Valdostana Tegole, a local dessert of hazelnuts, vanilla and almond biscuits.
- The valley is also known for its DOP cheeses such as Fontina and Reblec, a soft cow-cheese that makes an excellent dessert when topped with sugar, ground cinnamon and cocoa powder. Let’s not forget the delicious regionally-protected pork meat such as Vallée d’Aoste Jambon de Bosses that has been produced in the mountains since 1397 AD, Valleé d’Aoste and Lard d’Arnad which is soft lard that melts in your mouth obtained from the back of the pig and boudin sausages.