travel,  Valle d'Aosta

Valle d’Aosta Petit Rouge and Fontina #Wine #Travel

Valdostana Wine & Cheese Pairing

For November, the #ItalianFWT group explored Valle d’Aosta.  Valle d’Aosta is one of the smallest regions in Italy.  The beautiful, green, landscaped region is located above Piedmont in Northwestern Italy and borders the Rhone Alps, France and Valais, Switzerland.  It’s the one region in Italy where both Italian and French are official languages.  The mountains in this alpine territory include Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and Matterhorn. Valle d’Aosta is known for several things, one of which its beautiful ski resorts.  The region is also known for having the first national park in Italy, Parco del Gran Paradiso.

Tegole Valdostana

Valle d’Aosta Gastronomy

Considering its neighbors, Aostan food and culture is influenced by France and Switzerland.  The cuisine is characterized by soups, stews, polenta, pork and other game meats.  Some area specialties are Carbonada (beef stew with wine and spices), Tegole Valdostana (biscuits or cookies made with hazelnuts, almonds and vanilla) and Caffe Alla Valdostana  (made with coffee, grappa, sugar and lemon and orange rinds).

Valle d’Aosta produces several formaggi or cheeses, such as the famous Fontina, Fromadzo, Reblec, Brossa, Salignon, Gressoney Toma, Seras, as well as goat cheeses, butter and milk.  Fontina, the Aostan star, is made from the unpasteurized milk of the Valdostan grass-fed cows.  It is usually obtained during the summer months, when the cows travel to the highest elevation in the region (1800-2300 ft).  Fontina has been given the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) geographical status by the European Union. Fontina is the main ingredient in another typical dish, fonduta. Fonduta or Italian fondue is made using fontina, eggs, cream and butter.  Valle d’Aosta is also home to several salume, or typical cured meats.  Some of their cured meats are Motzetta/Motsetta (Mocetta in Italian),  Jambon (ham, Lard, Saouseusse, Teuteun and Boudin (sausages).

The Aostan wine region produces over 25 types of wine, all of which have DOC (Denominazioni di Origine Controllata) status.  Currently, the D.O.C “Valle d’Aosta – Vallée d’Aoste” has 7 subdenominations by area and 19 sub-denominations by grape variety.  Choices, choices, choices! There is something for every palate in Valle d’Aosta-from reds and whites to rose and sparkling. Any wine lover visiting this region is encouraged to visit Route des Vins, the wine trail/route through vineyards and cellars in the Aostan region.

The Wining Hour’s Wine & Cheese Pairing:

Our wine selection was a 2012 Maisen Anselmet Valle d’Aosta Petit Rouge.  This red wine was made from 100% Petit Rouge indigenous grapes and consisted of 12.5% alcohol by volume. It was aged 6-7 months in stainless steel and was a vivid ruby in color. There were floral notes, as well as cherry and blackberry fruit flavors.  This wine had soft tannins and was medium balanced.

We paired this Petit Rouge wine with an antipasto platter consisting of olives, cheese and cured meats.  The cheese, of course, was fontina.  Fontina cheese has small holes, is smooth, buttery, creamy, semi-hard and has a natural tan-orange or brown rind color. It did not disappoint. In fact, this cheese was absolutely delicious! It literally melted in my mouth and tasted even better with the wine. Fontina pairs well with bread, fruit, salami and other cured meats, and of course, vino. This cheese will certainly be on my regular grocery list, as I’d like to see how it pairs with other wines and use it in cooking.

We continued tasting the Petit Rouge with olives and some mocetta.  Mocetta is another Italian cured meat, and it can be beef, venison or wild boar.  We went with a beef mocetta.  It looked and tasted similar to prosciutto. Overall, the Aostan wine and cheese (antipasto) pairing was a match made in heaven!

I certainly enjoyed traveling north to the Valle d’Aosta region.  Did you?  Please feel free to leave comment.

Want more?

Join us Saturday November 7th where our blogging group shares our experiences on the food, wine and travel to this region.  A live chat will be held Saturday November 7th at 11am on Twitter at #ItalianFWT and we’d love to hear from you.

Here are the highlights:

Vino Travels – Swept away to the Alpine region of the Valle d’Aosta
Culinary Adventures with Camilla – Pluot-Glazed Duck Legs and Les Cretes Torrette 2011
Rockin Red Blog – Over the Hills and Far Away
Enofylz Wine Blog – Veal Ribs with Fontina with Valle d’Aosta Torrette Superieur #ItalianFWT
Cooking Chat – Ziti with Kale Pesto and Roasted Broccoli
Food Wine Click – They Sure Love Fontina in the Valle d’Aosta
Confessions of a Culinary Diva – Valle d’Aosta Fonduta & Wine
The Wining Hour– Valle d’Aosta Petit Rouge & Fontina

About The Wining Hour
The Wining Hour writes about wine, Italy and global travel.  The Wining Hour boutique caters to wine-lovers across the globe by offering all wine-related items.  The Wining Hour markets unique wine décor and furnishings, accessories, glassware, barware, wine racks, storage and cooling options, games, gifts and more. The Wining Hour also hosts #wininghourchat on Twitter (@wininghourchat) on Tuesday’s at 9 p.m. EST.(For more, see links at the top of this page)
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Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique ( that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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