Idlewild SundaySchool: Wines of the Valle d'Aosta Dec 9, 2018
1. Maison Vevey Albert Blac de Morgex LaSalle Dd'OP: Vallee d'Aoste (12%; Prie grape; Own rooted; 7000 btls) 2015: color; very fragrant appley/pear/spicy/cardamon bit pungent light chalky/perfumed talc classic Alpine
white lovely nose; quite tart/tangy strong floral/pear/peach/apple some chalky/perfumed talc fairly rich taut/
wirey flavor; very long/lingering strong floral/apple/pear rather stony/chalky/perfumed talc finish; a lovely
classic Alpine floral white some richer than most Alpine whites.
2. Elio Ottin Petite Arvine Dd'OP: Vallee d'Aoste (14.5%) 20??: Light yellow color; quite fragrant alpine/floral/
pear blossom fairly chalky/stony rather perfumed nose; quite tart/tangy bit lean/metallic somewhat austere rather
stony/mineral/chalky quite floral/pear blossom flavor; very long stony/chalky/mineral rather aromatic/floral/
pear blossom quite stony/chalky/mineral finish; a classic Alpine white but a bit richer & more aromatic than many;
a lovely Alpine white.
3. Gros Jean Premetta Dd'OP: Vallee d'Aoste (13.00%; 400 btls) Ollignan 2016: Pale cranberry/garnet rose color;
very fragrant/perfumed rose-like cranberry/strawberry/floral/spicy quite aromatic nose; very tart/tangy lean/
light bright strawberry/floral/rose petal slight stony/earthy bit herbal/thyme flavor w/ very light tangy tannins;
very long/lingering bright rose-petal/floral/cranberry/strawberry quite tart/tangy slight earthy/mineral;
a very pretty expression of an Alpine rose; reminds a lot of a light Ligurian Rossese.
4. ViniRari Cuvee d'Emile (13.5%; 70% Vien des Nus/ 15% Fumin/15% PetiteRouge;; 2009
: Light color; rather aromatic/perfumed grapey/bit strawberry/
Grenache-like bit earthy/loamy somewhat rustic quite lovely nose; quite tart rather grapey/strawberry/Grenache-like
some earthy/loamy/mineral bit complex flavor w/ light tangy tannins; very long/lingering quite fruity/grapey/
strawberry/Grenache-like bit rustic/stony/mineral complex finish w/ light bright tannins; a really lovely
lightweight Alpine/mineral red that reminds some of Grenache w/ a strong mineral component.
5. Institut Agricole Regional Cornalin Dd'OC: Vallee d'Aoste(13.5%) 2016: Med.light color; very fragrant/perfumed
raspberry/bit Zin-like light earthy/loamy quite attractive aromatic nose; rather tart bright/spicy/raspberry/
Zin-like light earthy/loamy slight mineral/stony flavor w/ light tangy tannins; very long bright/spicy/raspberry/
Zin-like/bit peppery light earthy/loamy/stony very pretty finish w/ light tannins; a very pretty rather Zin-like
red some like a DryCreekVlly/Nalle Zin, some like a Ligurian Rossesse.
6. Feudo di SanMaurizio Vuillermin (13.5%) 2016: Med.dark color; very fragrant/perfumed raspberry/cherry/bit Zin-like/
somewhat spicy very aromatic nose; fairly tart/tangy strong/fragrant raspberry/cranberry/spicy/bit Zin-like/
slight peppery bit earthy/stony flavor w/ light tangy tannins; very long/lingering tart fragrant spicy/raspberry/
cranberry/bit Zin-like/slight peppery slight earthy finish w/ light tannins; quite a pretty aromatic delicious red.
7. Danilo Thomain Enfer d'Arvier Dd'OC: Vallee d'Aoste (13.5%; 100% PetiteRouge) 2015: Med.light color; some earthy/
dusty quite perfumed strawberry/raspberry/some Zin-like/bright/spicy some juicy/Gamay-like beautiful somewhat complex
beautiful nose; fairly tart/tangy some earthy/dusty/bit loamy perfumed/spicy/Zin-like/strawberry/raspberry bit
Gamay-like/juicy flavor w/ light earthy tannins; very long rather earthy/dusty some floral/raspberry/strawberry/
bit Zin-like/bit Gamay-like rather tart finish w/ light tannins; fair amount of earthy/dusty character but very
attractive aromatics.
8. Cantina di Cuneaz Nadir Badabec Rosso Dd'OP: Vallee d'Aoste (14.0%; Fumin/PetiteRouge/Vien des Nus) 2011: Dark color;
bit metallic/earthy/dusty light spicy/perfumed rather complex very interesting nose that suggests a slightly musty/TCA
presence; bit funky/maybe TCA rather rustic/earthy/dusty slight spicy/perfumed rather complex interesting flaver w/
light rough/rustic tannins; has a rather rough/rustic/funky character that some thought was due to TCA but not
obviously corked to me.
9. Les Petits Riens Ici et Maintenant (13.5%; 80% Mondeuse/20% Syrah; own rooted) Stefania Gilamberti & Fabien Bonnet
: Fairly dark color; fairly classic Mondeuse/herbal/thyme/rosemary/pungent somewhat earthy/dusty quite aromatic
nose; fairly tart/tangy pungent/herbal/Mondeuse/thyme slight blackberry bit earthy/dusty/stony slightly rustic very
interesting structured flavor w/ modest chewey tannins; very long bit rustic/earthy/dusty strong Mondeuse/herbal/thyme
finish w/ light crunchy tannins; speaks strongly of Mondeuse but more structured than most from Savoie; actually
resembles Lagier-Meredith Mndeuse but more rustic and w/o the oak; much like the CortiReserve Mondeuse but more
earthy/rustic; quite a good expression of Mondeuse.
10. Caves de Donnas Donnas Rosso (13.00%; 100% Nebbiolo) 2015: Light color; some tarry/pungent/Nebb bit floral/lilacs/
perfumed slight funky/bretty bit rustic/earthy/dusty fairly complex nose; quite tart/tannic rather bretty/funky
strong floral/Nebb/lilacs bit tarry/pungent fairly complex flavor w/ modest chewy/hard tannins; very long some
bretty/funky/rustic strong floral/lilacs/Nebb slight tarry/pungent finis w/ light hard/crunchy tannins; speaks
strongly of Nebb but w/ a more rustic side more like Vaaltelline or Val d'Ossola Nebb; note the high-toned
character of B/B Nebb; noticible brett but not really dirty/unclean.
More pigafrittle from TheBloodyPulpit:
1. Once a month, SamBilbro offers up in his Idlewild tasting room in Healdsburg what he calls "Sunday School". This
is a tasting that focuses on wines from a single region of Italy. The wines of the Val d'Aosta are some of my
favorite Italian wines. Alas, not at all easy to find. When I found out several months ago that Sam's Dec
SundaySchool were Val d'Aosta, I knew that I had to go out for it. That, along w/ Jake's LimerickLane debut
of Cruz's Grenache, sealed the deal for a trip.
The wines for SS are usually selected by Thomas deBiase, the sorta GM at Idlewild (not exactly sure what his
title is, if he even has one). His father, Tom deBiase, is a longtime friend from when we met long ago at HdR.
I knew that Thomas was very knowledgeable about Italian wines, but I was totally blindsided by his extent and
depth of knowledge. I'm sorta geeky when it comes to obscure Italian varieties. But I was totally unprepared to
be so vastly out-geeked on these wines by Thomas. I was left in awe. I was expecting to have several/many of
the Val d'Aosta's I'd tried before. This turned out to be hardly the case. There was only one of these wines
I'd ever tried before. In fact, though familiar w/ the D d'OC's we had, they were all (save one) from producers
I'd never even heard of. In fact, several of these wines only send a few hundred wines to the entire USofA.
I would venture to say that this was probably the greatest tasting of Val d'Aosta wines ever held in the USofA.
A totally unprecented event. And right here in little ole Healdsburg, not NYC or TheCite where hip somms are
the norm. This kind of SS is enough for me to get religion again!!
2. Premetta: This is a very rare grape, also known as Prie Rouge, that has only about an acre planted in the Vd'A.
Probably the best writeup on Premetta is in Rob Tebeau's (RIP) FringeWine:
( Probably the best source on these obscure
Vd'A grapes is: ( It does the DNA analysis on a bunch of these
grapes and the surrounding Savoie/Valais/Piemonte. A rather difficult read. Clearly a grape they should be
planting all up&down the coast of Calif. Prie Rouge is an ofspring of Prie Blanc and an unknown parent.
3. Vien des Nus: Another indigeneous grape of the Vd'A, particularly associated with the village of Nus. Vien and
PetiteRouge are the two mostly widely planted varieties in the Vd'A, mostly used in blends. An offspring of
PetiteRouge & another unknown parent. Clearly another grape they should be planting all up&down the Coast of
Calif. Giulio Moriondo has a day job w/ the Agricultural Research University and makes only about 100 cs of wine
on the side, of three Cuvee's.
4. Cornalin: Another indigenous variety to the Vd'A that was brought back from extinction by the Institut. A grape
that is on the resurgence in the Vd'A. DNA identified it as the same grape as the HumagneRouge in the Suisse Valais.
A PetiteRouge X Mayolet cross. The Institut has been very important in bringing back many of these Vd'A indigenous
grapes. Rob Tebeau has some comments: (
5. Vuillermin: Another indigenous Vd'A grape that was thought to be extinct, but some vines were discovered in the late
1900's by the Institut and rescued from extinction. In 2011, DNA indicated Vuillermin was an ofspring of the Vd'A
variety Fumin and related to the Trentino's Nosiola.
6. PetitRouge: Easily the most commonly planted variety in the Vd'A, but it is most often used in blends. Indigenous
to the Vd'A and no DNA studies relating it to its parentage that I could find. The Enfer d'Arvier DOC is the smallest
in the Vd'A with only 5 hectares planted to vines.
7. Badabec: This is a mythical giant monster that lives in the forests above Gressan (location of Cuneaz) that feasts
on misbehaving children in the village. Only 40 cs of this wine brought into the USofA.
Some people thought this wine was slightly TCA-infected. It certainly had a sort of funky character and lacked
the perfumey aromatics of the other reds (robbed by the TCA?) but it was not obviously corked to me and to a lot of
others there as well.
8. PetitsRiens: Pretty rare to find Mondeuse in the Vd'A (I've never heard of one) but makes sense since the Savoie
is fairly close. Only one case of this wines was imported into the USofA.
9. Donnaz: One of the least known outposts of Nebbiolo, along w/ Valli d'Ossola. Up to 10% Freisa is allowed to be
blended in. The vnyds here appear to be very heroic viticulture much like in the Valtelline.
10. Prie: Also known as Prie Blanc to distinguish it from Prie Rouge or Primetta. It is one of the oldest grape
varieties in the Vd'A and is the parent of a number of other varieties. It's a very hardy grape that is mostly grown
in Morgex in the shadow of MountBlanc.
11. PetiteArvine: A variety mostly found in the Valais of Suisse. And a tiny amount if the Savoie. In fact, d'Agata
doesn't even mention it in his Italian varieties book. RobTebeau has a good discussion:
12. Much of this BP was cribbed from Thomas's handout at SS. I expect he would make you a copy of it, w/ pics,
if he was asked to do so.
13. Alas, the Vd'A is the smallest growing area in Italy and damnably difficult to find. BionDivino in TheCite is one
such source, mostly specializing in natural wines. ( Another good source is Enoteca Vino
Nostro, also in TheCite. ( But the Vd'A wines are worth searching out.
14. Though we only had two0 whites, the Vd'A whites have a certain perfume to them that I call "Alpine white", that
you find in whites from Valais and the Savoie. If you listen closely to them, you can actually hear JullieAndrews,
off on the distant mountaintop, pirouting thru an Alpine meadow and singing "The hills are alive..".
Of the reds, most of them had a certain perfume to them that I found very attractive. Not too unlike lighter
DryCreekVlly Zins, but w/ a certain earthy/rustic/dusty character. Fortunately, they were not plagued by a lot of oak.
Though not really big wines, they have a certain delicate/high-toned character that I would call "pretty".
As for their ageibility...haven't a clue.

Edited by TomHill (01-08-2019 09:57:31)