Morgex et la Salle
Morgex and La Salle are the two villages of mainland Europe’s highest vineyard area.
Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle (to give the wine its full name) is not an appellation in its own right, but a sub-zone of the Valle d’Aosta DOC. This broader appellation covers all wine production in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta.
Bottle labels read “Valle d’Aosta DOC – Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle“. Some labels also identify the single vineyard (e.g. Rayon).
Reaching 1100m asl, the altitude prompts the early arrival of cold weather, so the growing season is short. However, the ring of tall peaks which almost encircle this small area catch rainfall on their outer flanks. As a result, Morgex and La Salle bask in bright sunshine for most of the growing season. Glacier melt provides the vines with water.
Prié Blanc is the only grape which grows here. This thin-skinned grape flowers, fruits and matures early. Harvest takes place in August. It grows almost uniquely in this small corner of Italy. (A tiny amount is also found in the Swiss Valais, where it is known as Bernarde, and in Northern Spain, under the name Legiruela).
There is a lot of terracing here, to be able to make use of the steep mountain slopes. Growers use the rare and distinctive low pergola training method. This system traps heat beneath the plant as it escapes from the earth. Even so, Morgex nights can become very cold, and we enjoy the wines for the bright acidity this temperature change prompts in the grapes.
As with other pergola training system, the bunches hang below the foliage. This means pickers have to access the fruit from below. But here at Morgex, it means getting down on your knees!
Wines styles include still and sparkling dry whites, and a rare ice wine, Chaudelune, which is made by Cave Mont Blanc.