La Crotta di Vegneron
Vallee d'Aosta, Italy
This is a small co-op located in the village of Chambave, just east of the city of Aosta. As with Blanc de Morgex, L’Enfer D’Arvier and Donnas, this co-op emphasizes classic and stunning expressions of the individual terroirs of tiny sub-appellations (Chambave and Nus) that would otherwise be left undiscovered due to the tiny patchwork of vineyard holdings in these villages. Although there is a history of grape growing in this region since the 1200’s, many of the vineyards were abandoned in the decades after WWII. They risked total extinction until the 1970’s, when the Italian government stepped in to help rebuild many of these small cooperative wineries to preserve the heritage of these vineyards.
Like the vineyards of Donnas, these are steep, south-facing vineyards pasted to the sides of the mountains that soar above them. The vines grow between 450 and 1,050 meters of altitude in soils formed from millions of years of glacial runoff. These soils are very mineral and are composed largely of rocks and sand, giving a strong underlying minerality to the resulting wines. As in other mountainous regions of Italy, there is a large diurnal temperature shift which results in ample ripeness as well as refreshing acidity.
The winemaking philosophy is one that respects the underlying terroirs and indigenous varietals of the region. Although there is some barrel aging used on some of the wines, new oak is kept to a bare minimum. The grapes are all hand-harvested, and all their red wines are fermented with natural yeasts to help emphasize their individual expression. less