2022 Vevey Marziano Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle


Current stock: 24

The name of this obscure, off-the-beaten path appellation is actually bigger than the actual land it covers but, trust me, once you’ve had a glass or two, ‘Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle’ will just roll off your tongue. The wine comes from the adjoining appellations of Morgex (more-djay) and La Salle, two steep hillsides that roll like a curtain deep in the alpine foothills of the northernmost part of Vallee d’Aoste; just a few kilometers from the Mont Blanc tunnel to Chamonix, France. These vineyards are on the Roman road and were planted literally 2000 years ago. Hannibal’s elephants likely marched right by these craggy terraces now being painstakingly restored by the few hearty souls that farm them. The singular grape variety planted here is an ancient cultivar called Prie Blanc, named as such because, the old timers say, the local priests (called prier) of the time preferred to use the local white for their communions, as opposed to a red wine that might stain their white hassocks. The vines are, and have always been, self-rooted, as the phylloxera root louse found the temperatures up here too cold to thrive. The extreme climate and the rocky, virtually non-existent soil makes for very low yields of intensely flavored, very perfumed white wine with a waxy, honeyed sort of sneaky richness and piquant, totally unique flavors. The Prie Blanc is, indeed, an authentic taste of Vallee d’Aoste- a breathtaking expanse of bright, clean mountain air surrounded by the jagged snow-capped teeth of the French and Swiss alps. There are only five commercial producers of Morgex et La Salle and, because we dig these wines so much, we stock three of them! Marziano Vevey, with just 7000 square meters of vines scattered on hard-to-farm parcels scattered around Morgex, has vines aged well over 100 years, most planted at over 1200 meters altitude. He dry farms them organically on the traditional pergolas that allow the grapes to absorb what heat they can from the rocks below. It’s a tough life up here, and Vevey’s production of barely 10,000 bottles barely justifies it.  There’s a reason, though, we stock three of the five producers from this remote part of Italy. It’s because the wines are sensational! Predictably for something grown in one of the highest spots in Europe, the acidity is amazingly vibrant and frames a lifted nose of citrus peel, quince, white flowers, mountain honey and freshly picked green tea. I love sitting outside in the warm backyard with an ice cold glass of Blanc de Morgex but it truly shines with food. It performs marvelously with a wide variety of dishes; from salty, briny fresh seafood and fish from the local cold mountain streams, all the way to frito misto, sausages, dumplings and all kinds of poultry and pork dishes. And with the local Fontina cheese? Wow. Very highly recommended.