Doug discovered this cooperative producer on a trip in Northwest Italy in 2005. This rugged alpine terrain is more suited to the grazing of animals than to the cultivation of the vine, and the vineyards-for the most part on hillsides (see hillside vineyards) on either side of the Dora Baltea before the land rises to impossible altitudes-are frequently terraced into dizzyingly steep slopes. No more than 30,000 hl/790,000 gal of wine is produced in an average year, of which only about 4,000 hl/105,200 gal qualifies as DOC. A good deal of it is sold privately either to the thriving tourist trade or to the intense flow of motorists which passes through the region.
Vallee d'Aosta, Italy
At a Glance
- Donnas is the first appellation as you enter the Valle d'Aosta and the only appellation that is Nebbiolo-dominated
- Donnas abuts the Carema appellation in Piedmont - the wines are quite similar but culturally there is a divide, with Donnas already speaking a Valle d'Aosta dialect and Carema having the Piemontese dialect (even though you could walk from one town to the other in short time
- The wines are amazing values for Nebbiolo - they have a purity and elegance unique to their mountain climate