Have You Heard of Petit Rouge?

Every once in a while we get a wine that completely takes us by surprise, and while we’ve had a handful of noteworthy reds from the tiny area of Valle D’Aosta, the majority of them being pinot noir varietals or pinot blends. Each has reflected the elegance and distinctiveness of this northern Italian growing region. When Di Barro’s 2011 Petit Rouge came in we were forced to search the web for any information regarding this grape.

Turns out this is the primary grape in the local “Chambave Rosso” blend of which gamay, pinot noir or dolcetto are often included. As a varietal wine though, petit rouge takes on a dark appearance with ripe, almost preserved fruit aromas and low acidity. Unlike the norm in this region where cooperatives produce the majority of wine, Di Barro is a small producer whose case production of this particular wine is as low as 100 cases, making it an amazing find for the store, which is always on the hunt for hard to find, distinctively Italian examples of local terroir.

This 2011 Petit Rouge is packed full of macerated blue and black fruit aromas. There’s some gaminess as well, along with tones of forest floor and loam lending a bit of rusticity to the bright fruit. On the palate it’s juicy and almost fleshy, with subtle tannins and decent structure. This is truly an exciting wine whether you want to geek out on how unique this indigenous grape tastes in the glass or merely want something to pair with dinner at home. At 100 cases produced, it’s a steal at $20.

 

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