Tasting notes: This wine is light on its feet with cherry fruit leather on the nose and crisp, refreshing cranberry and red fruit flavors on the palate with a long, clean, lightly earthy finish. This has a faint resemblance to Barolo, stemming from the tannic Nebbiolo, but this is much lighter and snappier and not meant to age like Barolo. It’a a wonderfully energetic and refreshing red wine that should have great versatility at dinner time.
Producer: Founded in the second half of the 1970s, La Kiuva (lah kee-OO-vah) is a cooperative winery with 50 grower members located in the heart of the Aosta Valley. The word kiuva is local dialect for a “sheaf of leaves” typically gathered in the fall to feed livestock. It’s also a play on the Italian chi uva meaning literally “who grape.” With some of the highest-lying vineyards in the world, the growers of La Kiuva are devoted to the cultivation of distinctive grape varieties like the local clone of Nebbiolo known as Picotendro. Bordered by France to the west and Switzerland to the north, the Aosta Valley is renowned for its ability to deliver fresh but highly complex wines thanks to the region’s combination of altitude, diluvial subsoils, alpine air currents, and extremely steep terraced pergola-trained vineyards.
Vineyard and Winemaking: The Vallée d’Aosta is the fascinating Alpine junction between France, Switzerland, and Italy. In the extreme northwest of Italy, most people typically speak both French and Italian. The region is quite dry, requiring irrigation to keep grapes alive, with soil comprised of blue and green granite. With roughly 15 hectares planted to vine, La Kiuva’s growers do all their vineyard work by hand. Not by choice but necessity: The vineyard slopes are so steep that they are not accessible to tractors. A favorite among wine critics, La Kiuva is known for the freshness and wonderful drinkability of its alpine wines. Practicing organic farming, they have relied on indigenous yeasts for fermentation since 2009.
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