The Vallee d'Aoste (or Valle d'Aosta, depending on your linguistic bent) is an alpine region of Italy, on the borders with France and Switzerland, and it includes Europe's highest vineyards. (For some background to the wines of Valle d'Aosta, see here
This red wine, from the Torrette subregion, is understated, elegant and really compelling. I started drinking it from a Riedel Chianti glass, then moved to the Bordeaux glass, but quickly realized that there's only one glass for this wine - the Pinot Noir glass, which is what I'm now drinking it from. It's not made from Pinot, of course: as far as I can tell from a quick google, the varieties involved are Petit Rouge, Mayolet, Vien de Nus, Premetta and Cornalin. Petit Rouge predominates, and all I can find out about it is that it is somewhat similar to Gamay. That fits with this wine.
Di Barro Clos de Chateau Feuillet 2005 Torrette Vallee d'Aoste, Italy
This alpine red, from high altitude vineyards, is supremely elegant. The nose shows smooth, quite pure red fruits with a really subtle herby, sappy edge and a hint of sweetness. It's on the palate the wine excels, with ultra-smooth, elegant red fruits backed up by subtle herbiness and fine-grained tannins. It's a really pure, natural tasting wine of surprising concentration, despite it's rather understated personality - it doesn't force itself on you, but if you peek below the surface, there's some depth and seriousness waiting to show itself. Bottled elegance. 91/100 (Les Caves de Pyrene, c. £10 retail)
Labels: gamay, Italy, Vale d'Aosta