Vino’s holiday sale continues today as we feature the wines of legendary Valle d’Aosta producer Ezio Voyat. Though he made his living as an accountant for a casino, Ezio Voyat forged his legend as a producer of some of Italy’s most distinctive wines. His two Moscato, the dry La Gazzella, the red blend Le Muraglie and the sweet Ambrato are truly wines of place, slightly austere and aromatic with brisk acidity balancing concentration of flavor.
Like the mountains from which they come these wines can be imposing and difficult to attain but with time and effort their mysteries unfold and their charms become a warm embrace. Voyat made wine in Chambave, a hamlet in the Valle d’Aosta, his modest house and cellar within walking distance of his several acres of hillside vineyard. Ezio Voyat died in 2003 leaving his wife and daughter (above) to carry on his sizeable winemaking legacy.
La Gazzella 2005
was $38, now $30.40
Legendary winemaker Ezio Voyat named his sleek, elegant 100% Moscato after his daughter Marilena, Olympic sprinter and 1980s Italian track sensation, known by fans as the “Gazelle.” While most Italian Moscato is vinified as sweet wine, Voyat’s La Gazzella is a dry wine with uncommon depth and structure. The 2005 is crisp and fresh, with mineral complexity created in the vineyard by the cool nights of the Alpine summer (the cool evening breeze allows the berries to ripen slowly and thus the roots absorb more character from the limestone subsoil). The fruit for this unusual wine is sourced from the estate’s terraced vineyards in the province of Chambave in the Valle d’Aosta region, where French and Italian are spoken.
Rosso Le Muraglie 2006
was $43, now $34.40
The fruit for Voyat’s Le Muraglie (“The Walls”) Chambave Rosso is sourced from an ancient cloistered growing site (barely five acres) where the winemaker uses promiscuous growing techniques (allowing naturally occurring foliage to grow among the vines) and minimal intervention in the cellar to create a light, bright red wine with extraordinary depth and structure and lingering secondary and tertiary berry aromas and flavors. Made from Petit Rouge, smaller amounts of Dolcetto, and Gros Vien (a rare grape that grows exclusively in Valle d’Aosta), Voyat blends the wine to achieve a perfect balance of tannin, acidity, and alcohol. The resulting wine is elegantly powerful but retains a lightness that can only be attributed to the winemaker’s style and deft touch.
Ambrato Le Muraglie 2000
was $117, now $93.60
Ezio Voyat’s Ambrato Le Muraglie is a dried-grape wine made from estate-grown Moscato grapes. The name Ambrato or “ambered” comes from the wine’s rich color: cask aging and gentle oxidation give this dessert wine its unique mouthfeel and flavor. Ezio’s daughter, Marilena, told us that she recently opened bottles of the Ambrato from the 1950s: this dessert wine is ready to drink but also offers remarkable aging potential.
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