This Vin de Glace is from some of Europe’s highest vineyards, at Morgex, in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta. You can read a little about the fascinating story behind the region and the wine’s production in the “Description” tab below.
The wine is a wonderful vino da meditazione, to be enjoyed lightly chilled. It has a beautiful copper colour and delicate, bittersweet toffee apple flavours with a refreshing bitter finish. The sweetness is balanced by a delightful flash of acidity which keeps the wine fresh and light on the palate.
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Chaudelune Vin de Glace is from Europe’s highest vineyards, in the upper valley of Valle d’Aosta, Italy’s northwestmost region. Its full appellation name is “Valle d’Aosta DOC Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle Vendemmia Tardiva Vin de Glace”. That’s quite a mouthful, so we just call it “Chaudelune”. Chaudelune is from the excellent regional co-operative, Cave Mont Blanc.
The wine comes from a native grape called Prié Blanc. Growers use a special vine training system called Pergola Bassa (low pergola). This is where the vines grow up a low wall, then over a sort of roof, to create a canopy. The purpose is to use the plant to trap as much of the earth’s heat as possible, helping the grapes to ripen in a cold and spare climate.
As with other ‘pergola’ methods, the fruit hangs beneath the foliage. In theory this makes for easy picking. But here at Morgex, the low height means the picker has to be on their knees!
While most of the harvest takes place in late summer, a small number of grapes are left unpicked and partly dry out on the vine. These are the Chaudelune grapes. In losing water, the concentration of sugars and flavour compounds increases. The final harvest eventually happens at night under a full moon, usually in December. At this altitude, temperatures drop well below zero, and the water in the grapes freezes.
The pickers take the grapes directly to the winery, and begin crushing at the first light of dawn. Because the water in the grapes stays locked inside as ice, the run-off juice is rich in sugars, acids and flavour compounds.
Vinification happens in five very small botti (barrels), each a different local wood, and this is the entire production of Chaudelune. The five wines ferment, then mature in their respective barrels for 12 months. Each wine finishes with the distinct character and flavour which the wood gives it.
The enologist decides the final blend at bottling time.
Why not also take a look at Cave Mont Blanc’s other wine, Rayon?
Beautiful golden yellow.
Intense and complex, showing spice, dried fruit, fig and apple.
Intense and very long; honey, candied peel with a fine finish.
Valle d’Aosta DOC Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle Vendemmia Tardiva, Vin de Glace.
Grape: Prié Blanc (100%)
Harvest: in the winter months, at night, when cold temperatures ensure the grape is frozen on the vine.
Pressing: at first light, with the water contained in the grapes still frozen.
Vinfication, ageing and fining: 12 months in small barrels of five different woods.
Blending: the five different wines are blended at the time of bottling, according to the enologist’s guidance.
Bleu d’Aoste and other blue cheeses, dry pastries, nougat.