2015 Noussan Valle d’Aosta DOC Pinot Noir
Region: Vallee D’Aoste < Italy
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; old, dry-farmed vines on volcanic soils at high elevation (800m); fruit is destemmed, gently pressed with a hand press and fermented in tank, then aged in tank for one year and bottled unfiltered with minimal So2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Franco Noussan
High up in the Alps on the border of France (and the base of Mont Blanc), the Valle d’Aoste is a hidden gem in Italy, with more castles than residents. Dotting the fairytale alpine landscape are scattered micro vineyards -- because large, flat vineyard sites just don't exist in this extreme mountainous region. At 800m ++ (roughly 2500 feet), the Noussan vineyards are flying high. Franco Noussan, an agronomy professor and a grower-garagiste winemaker, and his wife Gabriella have a total of 18 tiny parcels scattered around the valley, which they work themselves by hand and organically. Intense sunshine, cold nights, poor, rocky soils and restraint in the cellar is his secret sauce in producing ripe but dark-fruited, structured, savory, mineral wines -- unlike wines found anywhere else on the boot.
Like this Pinot Noir, which shows clear Pinot red fruit and earthy flavors, but more rustic, unbridled and structured. Less silky smooth, more force and character. Super cool and age-worthy, although quite delicious now. Definitely needs food, and a slight chill would not hurt.