Aosta or Valle d’Aosta or Valée d’Aoste (Aosta Valley in English) is the smallest, least populous, and least densely populated of Italy’s 20 administrative regions. It is located in the north-west of Italy. The name means valley of Aosta, the capital town founded by the Romans as Augusta Praetoria, meaning ‘the military camp established by the will of Caesar Augustus’.

Special status: Aosta Valley is an autonomous region with special statute and is bilingual. The statute protects and recognizes the official use of Italian and French as regional languages. This region borders France to the west, Switzerland to the north and Piemonte (Piedmont) to the south and east.

Political geography: Capital city: Aosta (AA). Provinces: Aosta (AA). (Aosta is the only Italian region constituted from just a single province.)
 
History: The prehistoric Salassi, a Ligurian-Gallic tribe conquered by the Romans in 23 BC, may have been the first to practice the cultivation of vines in Valle d’Aosta.
 
Vineyard area: At the end of the nineteenth century there were approximately 4,000 hectares of vineyards. Now around 500 hectares of land are under vine.
 
Native grapesCornalin (r). Picotener (Nebbiolo) (r). | Prié Blanc (w). | Roussin (r).
 
Terroir: The territory is mountainous and drained by Alpine rivers as the Dora Baltea. 70% of vineyards are in the mountains and the remaining on hillside slopes. The region’s highest peak, as well as the highest mountain in Western Europe, is the Monte Bianco (Mont Blanc in French).

Three valleys: Valle d’Aosta comprises three main valleys, and each has its own specific wines. Central Valley: The main wine-production area is the Central valley crossed by the Dora Baltea river, especially the warmer and sunnier slopes of the left bank. Lower valley: However, there are extremely important winemaking areas in the Lower valley, such as Donnas, where a Barolo-like wine is made from Nebbiolo (called Picotener locally). Northern valley: Here the Blanc de Morgex et La Salle wine is made from the native Prié Blanc variety.

Climate: The climate is continental cold but varies greatly with altitude, and rain is generally scarce. Vineyards are often planted thanks to terraces that help cope with the very steep gradients, similar to those of Valtellina or of certain plots in South Tyrol. Most vines are trained with the pergola or canopy system.

Heroic viticulture: Valle d’Aosta’s viticulture has been defined as “heroic” because of the difficult mountainous terrain. Vineyards often reach and even exceed 1,000 meters above sea level.

Phylloxera: Many Valle d’Aosta vines are ungrafted because the Phylloxera louse does not survive at higher altitudes.

Denominations–DOCG: None. DOC: Valle d’Aosta DOC or Valée d’Aoste. |

Valle d’Aosta DOC Chardonnay. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Cornalin. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Gamaret. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Mayolet. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Merlot. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Moscato Bianco or Muscat Petit Grain. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Müller-Thurgau. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Nebbiolo. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Petit Rouge. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Petite Arvine. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Pinot Bianco or Pinot Blanc. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Pinot Noir or Pinot Nero. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Prëmetta. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Syrah. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Traminer Aromatico or Gewurztraminer. | Valle d’Aosta DOC Vuillermin AOC.