In the Mont Blanc Valley: high quality wines and flavours at a high altitude
How: by car.
Recommended duration: two days.
Recommended period: all year round.
Distance: around 16 km.
In the Valdigne, a large basin at the foot of the Mont Blanc, the high altitude of the vineyards enables the production of fine wines that perfectly complement the local gastronomic products.
This is the quintessential area of the Prié Blanc, the only autochthonous white grape traditionally grown on low pergolas; special climatic conditions have protected it from the phylloxera vine louse, and so today it is one of the rare varieties of ungrafted vine, not grafted to American vines. The wine is produced at great heights from a maximum of 1225 metres and a minimum of 900 metres.
Special production from overripe grapes: grapes left to dry on the vine and harvested after the first frost, usually the beginning of December. The grapes harvested between -5 and -10° C are pressed whilst frozen and fermented in oak barrels and casks made from local woods and are then aged for a long period.
Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle
Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle Spumante
Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle Vendemmia Tardiva
Grappa di Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle
Grappa di Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle Vendemmia Tardiva
Besides Fontina DOP cheese, which is produced all over the Aosta Valley, other fresh cow’s milk cheeses can be tasted (such as seras) as well as matured cheeses and other milk derivatives (yoghurt).
The vineyards in this area are among the highest in Europe, however the whole of the Aosta Valley region is an example of the heroic viticulture of the mountain.
Quatremillemètres vins d’altitude is a brand that was born from the synergy of the three historic winemaking cooperatives in the Aosta Valley, the Cave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle in Morgex, the Co-Enfer in Arvier and La Crotta di Vegneron in Chambave. Under this mark, spumante sparkling wines are produced according to the Italian, classic and ancestral method of the Aosta Valley. Enthusiasm, research and innovation, whilst still respecting the specificities of the territory and the grapes, are the basic ingredients of these mountain sparkling wines that are deeply rooted in the territory, the spirit of which is represented in the logo that embellishes each individual bottle: the three magnificent giants of the Alps, the most famous four thousand metres in the world: The Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn and the Gran Paradiso have been the home of international mountaineering for centuries. These mountains and their glaciers have shaped a territory which is unique to the world in which the vineyards of the Aosta Valley have been located for 200 years.
The cuisine of the Upper Aosta Valley has been highly influenced by transalpine recipes, which it has often modified creating new versions.
Among the first courses, in addition to the unforgettable yellow flour polenta accompanied by cheese, meat and/or mushrooms, the Tartiflette is also noteworthy. It is a rich Savoyard dish with a base of potatoes, bacon and Reblochon cheese; Other tasty dishes are the Fondue Savoyarde, the Fondue Bourguignonne and the Raclette accompanied by boiled potatoes, cured meats and pickles. Crêpes alla valdostana is a scrumptious dish comprised of a pancake stuffed with ham and Fontina cheese and then baked ‘au gratin’.
Among the second courses, do not miss the aromatic Carbonada: a typical dish of the western alps which is also widespread in the south-east of France, made with beef salted for 12 days and slowly cooked with garlic and smoked ‘lardo’ conserved in salt.
The tasty trout which are used to make the dish ‘alla Mugnaia’ are fished straight from the clear waters of the Dora. The fish is tossed in breadcrumbs and then fried in butter and sage and is perfectly accompanied by the local white wines.
The traditional dessert of the Upper Valley is the crenchen, a sweet, sugared bread (a sort of brioche bread) which is shaped into a plait or a donut but also into the shape of a mask or a cockerel (the latter being called poulì). Also in Courmayeur, the most famous products are the Baci di Courmayeur: a meringue shell smothered in dark chocolate with a rich chocolate and rum cream centre.
At the beginning of September, gourmets cannot miss the food and wine fair Lo Matson, a customary event which takes place on the main streets of Courmayeur and offers the best of the region: wines, cured meats, cheeses, jams and much more.
Every Thursday from 8.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m. in Morgex, a market takes place called the Marché Agricole du Valdigne which offers products sold directly by the producers (cheeses, honey, preserves, jams, wines, fruit and vegetables).