Les Crêtes

The development of infrastructure in postwar Italy gave the Valdostani – hitherto the principal consumers of their local wine – regular access to the exotic wines of Piemonte and beyond. Understandably dazzled with a vast new choice, and inured to the quality of their own production, the wines of Valle d’Aosta went out of fashion with the local populace.

  • Les Crêtes, owned by the Charrère family since around 1750, is, in qualitative and historical terms, one of the most important labels of the Valle d’Aosta. Yet its winemaking history only begins in 1955.

    Antoine Charrère of Les Crêtes showed conviction and foresight to choose exactly that moment to switch 200 years of production of walnuts (for oil), apples (for cider), along with rye and barley, to grapes and wine. His focus was on quality, and Les Crêtes stood at the vanguard of a small group of winemakers to whose vision and perseverance the Valle d’Aosta owes its modern-day prestige.

  • An important component of this success was, and remains, the emphasis on indigenous varieties. These days, with 28 hectares and 180,000 bottles, Les Crêtes is, in Valle d’Aosta terms, a big player.  Now in the loving hands of sisters Elena and Eleonora, a new generation of Charrères builds the Les Crêtes name.

  • The old farm machinery still exist, alongside the magnificent “Rifugio del Vino” winery and tasting room. With its mixed materials, arresting lines and light interior, the building integrates into the mountains which surround it, and is one of the architectural highlights of the entire region.

  • The 18 hectares of vineyard, largely dedicated to indigenous and traditional varieties, are spread across six villages. On the “adret” (Northern, south-facing) slopes, some of the vineyards exceed 1000m in altitude. Closer to the winery, a vine-wrapped, perfectly formed cone of glacial soil, topped with a medieval tower, makes a perfect location for a wine tasting.

  • Most of the Les Crêtes wines come under the Valle d’Aosta DOC. Labels include single varietals (e.g. Petite Arvine), and the Torrette and Torrette Superiore sub-zones. There is a notable exception of the Charrère’s first commercial bottling, La Sabla®, which is a blend declassified to Vino Rosso.

  • Les Crêtes wines can be purchased in the UK from our sister company, Cuculo Cheese & Wine. The winery can be visited by appointment or as part of the Heart of the Italian Alps itinerary.

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