The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Go-To-Wine Tuesday: Donnas 2011 Vallee d’Aoste Rosso

Posted on | January 19, 2016 | Written by Sean Collins | No Comments

RD8757-2This past weekend I was returning from a long run along the FDR Drive in Manhattan when my neighbor invited me over for dinner. I thought it would be the perfect time to open a bottle of Donnas 2011 Vallee d’Aoste Rosso. Its smooth texture and rich red hue were striking, and the wine’s distinctive cherry flavor almost led us to finish the entire bottle without noticing the smoky layers that were revealed as the night wore on.

Nestled in the shadow of Mont Blanc, the Vallee d’Aoste is Italy’s smallest viticultural region, and the area’s rugged terrain and cool temperatures, along with its nexus of Italian, French and Swiss cultures, foster the ideal environment for a unique wine. Though undoubtedly Italian, Vallee d’Aosta has, since the time of Julius Caesar, been unable to commit to political boundaries. Whether you’re consider these Alps to be Italian, French, or Swiss, the Vallee d’Aosta and its wines belong in a category of their own, and this Donnas bottle embodied the region’s duality in the tension between its sweet fruits and smoky notes.

My friend and I soon found out a wine like this one from the Donnas, a winemaking collective, demands to be accompanied by food, and we enjoyed it with some red meat and good conversation, although we also thought that this bottle would go well with a light meal of white meat and greens. It truly was a perfect wine to relax with, and at $25 a bottle, this Donnas Rosso, a blend of Nebbiolo with Freisa and Neyret, easily makes it onto my shortlist of value wines. Whether you share it with one friend or many, this fine red is a must-have for any wine enthusiast looking for a bottle under $30.

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