There is plenty to be said about this dry, delicate white wine. The first thing to mention is that it comes from mainland Europe’s highest white wine vineyards, around the little village of Morgex, in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta. Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc) dominates the dramatic mountain scenery.
The next is that the grape, Prié Blanc, is a true rarity: it is native to Valle d’Aosta and has no known genetic lineage. It is found a little in the Swiss Valais (the valley on the other side of the border) and there are a few plantings elsewhere in Europe’s high-altitude growing zones.
The altitude and sandy soils are not liked by the Phylloxera bug, and so the vines are ungrafted (franco di piede).
Finally, spare a thought for the pickers, who have to harvest from beneath the vine, on their knees!
There is plenty to read about the wine and its production in the descroiption box below.
This is a delicate, dry wine which somehow represents the flavours of the mountains: dried herbs, hay, white flower and fruit.
£17.45 – £185.00
Blanc de Morgex “Rayon” is a dry white wine made by Cave Mont Blanc in the Valle d’Aosta, Italy’s smallest and most north westerly region. To the west, over Mont Blanc herself, is the French border, and to the north, Switzerland.
The full appellation of this wine is Valle d’Aosta DOC Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. Valle d’Aosta has only one single DOC appellation, while Morgex and La Salle are the two Alpine villages which give their name to the sub-zone.
Reaching 1200m above sea level, these vineyards are among Europe’s highest in altitude. As the name of the winery suggests, Mont Blanc dominates the view.
The altitude creates a short growing season, with few species of grape able to survive, let alone ripen their fruit. Here at Morgex and La Salle they grow only Prié Blanc, a native variety well-suited to these conditions.
The vines follow a special training system called Pergola Bassa (low pergola). They grow up a low wall to about chest height, and then over the top of a sort of roof. This creates a low canopy of foliage, under which the fruit hangs. The purpose is for the plant itself to trap the earth’s heat beneath it, which is key for ripening. In common with other types of pergola, picking is from beneath – but here at Morgex, the low height means the pickers are on their knees!
Rayon is a delicate wine with floral, white fruit and hay notes, and subtle hazelnut aromas. Because the vines grow at such altitude, they do not have the chance to put lots of sugar into the grapes, so Rayon has a fine, fresh acidity which makes it the perfect aperitif.
Cave Mont Blanc also make a delectable ice wine called Chaudelune, which you can buy here.
Pale straw yellow.
Mountain flowers, hay and dried herbs.
Dry with a delicate, fine acidity.
8-10 deg C
Grape: 100% Prié Blanc (Blanc de Morgex biotype)
Site: south facing slope; the fruit for “Rayon” is from the best-exposed parcel of the vineyard.
Vinification: stainless steel at controlled temperature.
Part of the wine undergoes malolactic conversion after fermentation.
As an aperitif.
With traditional cheeses of the Valle d’Aosta – especially Fontina.
Egg-based dishes such as frittata, omelette and egg pasta.