The cultivation of vines in this region was probably introduced already in Roman times. In the Middle Ages the crops were widespread and the Val d’Aosta exported its wine beyond the Alps, in the Valais and in Savoy. The sunny exposure of the northern side of the central valley, combined with the arid climate of the region, make various areas of the Valley absolutely suited to wine production. Here the territory is deeply marked by the presence of terraces made with dry stone walls, built with the patient and hard work of generations of vignerons. Production is limited, the result of an often “heroic” viticulture, where the use of technologies is limited by the conformation of the territory. However, the quality of these wines is high and has very particular characteristics.
Among the most characteristic vines we recall the Prié Blanc, cultivated in the municipalities of Morgex and La Salle, at the foot of Mont Blanc, up to an altitude of 1,200 m. With this grape, grown on a straight foot, sparkling wines are also produced, both with the classic method and with the Charmat method. Muscat de Chambave is produced with Muscat grapes and vinified to produce a dry wine, very aromatic but diametrically different from the sweet Piedmontese Moscato. The Torrette and the Enfer are obtained with Petit Rouge grapes, a native vine with marked hints of small fruits. Quite widespread, especially in the middle valley, is the Vien de Nus (or Gros Vien – as opposed to Petit Rouge). In the lower valley, instead, Nebbiolo prevails, of which there is a local variety called Picotentro. International vines such as Pinot Noir, Gamay and Sirah are also cultivated.
Excellent results are provided by whites such as Petite Arvine, Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay. In recent years, in particular, some rare native vines have been re-evaluated, including Fumin, Mayolet, Cornalin, Vuillermin, Premetta, Neret.
Liqueur white wines, some passito wines, others obtained from late harvests are also excellent. We report at least the exquisite Chambave Muscat flétri and the Nus Malvoisie flétri which is not actually a Malvasia but rather a variety of Pinot Grigio. The Cave du vin blanc de Morgex and de La Salle also produces small quantities of the special Chaudelune, an “ice wine” made with white grapes harvested in late autumn, at the first frost, early in the morning when the grapes are still frozen.