Eighteen months ago, on the way back from a couple of vinous weeks in Italy, we visited the mountainous wine region of Aosta.
Its vineyards nestle (though ‘cling’ would be more appropriate) to the southern slopes of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) and produce a fascinating range of unique and unusual wines.
We visited a few growers as well as the local co-op, La Crotta di Vegneron, where we bought a half bottle of Chambave Moscato Passito 2007 Vallée d’Aoste with the intention of enjoying it on a special occasion.
And such a time was New Year’s Eve.
With a good friend from the village we had enjoyed a simple meal, finishing with Cannelé cakes from Bordeaux (which remind me of lardy cake, though a tad more refined), lime sorbet topped with a delicious cassis from the Loire.
This dessert medley wasn’t as sweet as it sounds so was a perfect match for the alpine wine, Chambave Moscato.
Made from partially dried Muscat grapes (the grapes are dried on racks which helps concentrate the sugars), the wine is plump and gorgeous. Grapey on the nose it is gently sweet (not sickly) with notes of orange peel and roast hazelnuts on the palate. Although 14.5% alcohol it is not overpowering, complementing all the different expressions of the assembled pud.
We didn’t finish the wine on NY Eve and re-tasted it the day after – it was as good as ever!