December Dirt – Super Fresh Reds from Northern Italy



The Valle d’Aosta can be found at the northwestern tip of Italy. It borders the Rhone-Alpes of France (to the west) and Valais, Switzerland to the North. Directly to the south is Piedmonte. The alpine valley is nestled between dramatic mountain ranges and dotted with exquisitely preserved castles. As you might expect, the climate here is a cool one.

Maurizio Fiorano ended up in the Valle d’Aosta by chance. He fell in love with a woman from the region and moved there when they married. Maurizio’s wife had inherited a few vines, so he set out to become a winemaker. Not much of a pedigree, I know. It turns out that fate smiles on Maurizio. He couldn’t have chosen better-situated vineyards. Perfectly positioned to capture the sun, these wines come from south/southeast facing sites where the vines are planted to sandy alluvial soils with a granite bedrock liner. While the Vall d’Aosta is north of Piedmont, vines planted to these vineyards enjoy a very long, even growing season. As a result, the wines are reminiscent of warmer climate bottlings in terms of power and richness, but the retain the freshness of cooler climate, high-altitude wines.

Valle d’Aosta “Torrette”, 2014
A blend of Petite Rouge (90%) and Mayolet (10%) from vines sitting at 700 meters in altitude. These grapes were harvested in late September at optimal ripeness. Fermentation took place in stainless steel, as did aging. The wines were bottles this April.

Valle d’Aosta “Fumin”, 2014
A blend of Fumin (90%) and Syrah (10%) from grapes harvested between the end of October and the beginning of November. While the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, it is aged in 300-liter french oak for 5 months. It was bottled in May.