The Aosta Valley is the smallest and the least populated of Italy’s 20 regions and borders to the Italian region Piedmont as well as to France & Switzerland. The Aosta Valley is an Alpine Valley. Some of Europe’s highest Mountains are found in the Aosta Valley including Monte Rosa, Mount Blanc and the Matterhorn. Agriculture has been increasingly specialized over the last two centuries but only a small amount of wine is produced in the Aosta Valley. All of them are classified as Valle d’Aosta DOC. It’s the only Italian region with just one appellation. Tuscany on the other side has 11 DOCG and 37 DOC appellations.
The majority of white wine from the Valley d’Aosta is produced from Chardonnay, Moscato Bianco, and Petite Arvine grapes. Gamy and Pinot Noir are the most used red grape. Because the official languages in the Aosta Valley Italian and French, many wines labels are written in French. Don’t get confused by this.
One of the local wine shops, here in Munich, recommended me to try the Chardonnay from Les Cretes which won 2 glasses in the Gambero Rosso. Since I’m not that familar with the wines from the Aosta Valley I decided to give it a try.
2011 Les Cretes – ‘Chardonnay’ – Valle d’Aosta DOC
Les Cretes was established in 1810 and is now owned and operated by two sisters. Since then the winery expanded a lot and is today the largest privately owned winery in the Aosta Valley with a yearly production of 220000 bottles. The winery is specialized in three white wines (2 Chardonnay and 1 Petite Arvine) but produces also red, sweet and sparkling wine.
I tried their 2011 ‘Chardonnay’ a few days ago. A bottle of the Les Cretes Chardonnay retails in Munich for a little bit under 20€. ‘Chardonnay’ is produced with 100% Chardonnay grapes. The wine underwent a twelve-day fermentation process and aged in stainless steel tanks. In the glass, ‘Chardonnay’ had a straw yellow color with golden hues. 14%! was the label listed ABV. The bouquet was composed of flowers and ripe melon. Very intense aromas. In the mouth, ‘Chardonnay’ was crisp and surprisingly light. The wine had mineral notes and I tasted almost no fruit. The high ABV left its marks: Short finish with an alcoholic aftertaste. The mouth was a flop compared to the nose.
I served the ‘Chardonnay’ from Les Cretes together with European sea brass and Mediterranean vegetables. It’s always risky to do a wine and food pairing if the wine hasn’t been tasted before. I will certainly not pair this wine again with any food because the wine was a real disappointment. An expensive disappointment that comes with a 20€ price tag. I can name a lot of Chardonnay that have a much better price-quality relation. I’m not sure if I’m more disappointed in the wine store that recommended me the wine or in Les Cretes.
Have you tried this wine? If so, did you like it more than I do or do you agree with me that the Les Cretes Chardonnay is a ripoff? Let me know in the comment section below.