From: Valle d'Aosta, North-West Italy
Varietal: Petite Arvine
Petite Arvine is a varietal indigenous to the Valais in Switzerland, which is just across the border from the Valle d'Aosta in the northwest corner of Italy where this wine comes from. Petite Arvine was first planted at Grosjean in the early 1980s on highly sandy soils with a medium limestone content. The grapes have been organically farmed since 2011 and had to be irrigated for their first three years of life, as drought is always a potential problem in the region. The vineyard sits at 550-700 meters above sea level and has a 70% slope, so the family built terraces to allow for normal vineyard work and harvesting.
Depending on the vintage, the grapes are normally picked in October. The wine is currently aged partly in steel and partly in oak (70% stainless steel and 30% used barriques), but vintages of the 1990s and early 2000s saw no oak aging whatsoever. In my experience, and unlike most excellent Swiss examples of Petite Arvine wines, Grosjean’s version has slightly less juicy acidity, less salinity, and less obvious notes of pineapple and tropical fruit.
This wine underwent a long fermentation on the lees with repeated “bâtonnage” (lees-stirring) for the first month after fermentation. Bright and fragrant with notes of citrus and fennel, this wine has a solid structure that allows it to be enjoyed young or with substantial bottle age.
Tasting Notes: The only indigenous white variety at the estate, the Grosjean family’s Petite Arvine is bright and fragrant with notes of citrus and fennel. This wine has a solid structure that allows it to be enjoyed young or with substantial bottle age.
Pairing: This wine tastes perfectly well with Cornichons served with melted raclette cheese. Other spicy dishes with can be paired with Petite Arvine are Barley Risotto with Mushroom and Gremolata, Sicilian vegetable lasagna, mac and cheese, Chinese Ravioli (aka dumplings in all their pork and soup dumpling glory), and rice noodles sautéed with vegetables.
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