Ermes Pavese Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle
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Region Valle d'Aosta
Type Prié BlancRead About the Wine
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Aromas of heavy cream, Swiss glaciers, savory summer thyme, and granite boulders, wet from an early morning snowfall. A mouth-feel that hints at fruitiness – crab apples and cranberries – but then turns mineral and fresh, like fizzy mineral water. This is the heady, stimulating delight of Ermes Pavese’s Vallee d’Aoste Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle. It’s a mouthful - in name, spirit and flavor. Allow me to explain:
Ermes Pavese is a relatively young man working in the commune of La Ruine just outside of the town of Morgex, just minutes from the summit of Mont Blanc. Here, at some of the highest altitude vineyards in the world, he works with the native white grape of Prié Blanc.
It is a curious grape to me, showing off its triple heritage – bracing power and structure on the palate like a White Burgundy (the French side of the family); fresh, crystal clear and seamless in its flavors (Swiss); yet all at the same time textured and rich – fully an Italian white.
The vineyards themselves (see above) are magnificent – they run up 1200 meters straight into the glaciers on vines that are trellised on the extremely old “tree” high tier system. This allows cool air to sweep down the granite mountain under the grapes and vines. Each vine gets its own tier and each tier is hand made to that vine. This is truly hand crafted wine, and as such there isn’t much to go around – 4 acres of vineyards produce 1,000 bottles for the world. Its Italy’s smallest DOC, and an absolute treasure.
The combination of granite and cool air gives the wine its incredible minerality. It has also prevented the spread of phylloxera in the region resulting in vines that are own-rooted and possess a purity of terrior that I don’t think is achievable otherwise.
Everything you could want in a white wine is here – minerality, power, hints of fruit, and sketches of savoriness, length, purity and vivacity on the finish. But there isn’t much to go around, so jump on it while you can.