Danilo Thomain, Petit Rouge, Enfer d'Arvier, Valle d'Aosta, Italy 2019
100% Petit Rouge
Compelling rusticity with a wild berry impression and a lively freshness on the palate.
This is a homemade wine in every sense of the word: the brutally steep terraces must be worked entirely manually; grapes are hand-harvested, carried just down the road to Danilo’s house, and the wine is made right there — fermented spontaneously, and aged in non-temperature-stabilized steel tanks in his basement two stories below the earth’s surface.
The wine pours a deep, black red — a gorgeous, menacing sanguine color. The nose is exuberant, brimming with black cherries, sun-drenched stones, and tiny mountain flowers. The huge diurnal shifts between Enfer d’Arvier’s scorching days (“Enfer d’Arvier" means “The Hell of Arvier”) and chilly nights expresses itself in a palate tug-of-war between rapier-like acidity and thick, luscious fruit that vibrates with energy.
Encompassing a scant five hectares, the Enfer d’Arvier is a splendorous amphitheater of steeply terraced vines flanked by the Dora Baltea river below. Given the miniscule vine holdings most landowners in the Valle d’Aosta possess, co-operatives still predominate in the region, and indeed the majority of the Enfer d’Arvier’s output is via the local co-op. With his single hectare in production, Danilo stands as the zone’s only independent bottler of wine.
Style: Big and Bold