In an area that is one of Italy’s least productive wine zones, to improve margins with a few shortcuts could prove a seductive temptation.
But, at the small, family-run wine estate of Frères Grosjean in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta, it is quality, tradition, authenticity and sustainability which prevail.
Perched in the higher altitudes of Italy’s extreme northwest nearby the villages of Quart and Saint Christophe, Frères Grosjean is located in the Valle Centrale region of Valle d’Aosta DOC. Before they began bottling their wines for sale, the family made wine and gathered chestnuts for more practical reasons: to help them through the long winters.
It was an exhibition of Valle d’Aosta wines in 1969 which prompted Dauphin Grosjean to bottle wines for presentation to others, an initiative that proved to be a cornerstone event of the business. With the help of five children, the Grosjean vineyards have grown over the years from 3,000 square meters to 7 hectares. Demonstrating a deep concern for the natural environment, the Grosjean have farmed since 1975 using environmentally sustainable cultivation techniques and using only organic fertilizers.
I recently enjoyed a bottle of Frères Grosjean’s Pinot Noir and one of Gamay, impressive as terroir-driven examples from a DOC too often overlooked. Each wine is 100% varietal grown in loose glacial moraine soil. Vineyards have a south / southwest exposure at an altitude of approximately 700m.
Both wines showed very perfumed floral characteristics and good concentration of fruit underscored by lively acidity and soft tannins. You’re likely to find the Gamay a bit lighter in style than the Pinot Noir and subtleties in each wine that will keep your interest.
Either of these wines will pair nicely with simple, earthy dishes such as pasta, soups, stews, cheeses, cured meats. Don’t miss pairing with a bit of Fontina d’Aosta cheese – sublime.