Chanoines, chantwo, chanthree

Institut Agricole Régional “Vin des Chanoines” (Vallée d’Aoste) – As far as I can tell (the labels – front and back – are one giant furball of type, and this is probably the least commercially-viable packaging I’ve seen in my life [it could only be worse if the wine were in a bocksbeutel]…which, of course, makes me want to buy it) this is a non-vintage bottling, which is odd since most online references to the wine carry a vintage. It’s L.0119.7, if that helps sort it out. (I could email the importer and ask, I suppose, since she lives and works in the next suburb over, but it’s more fun to make purely speculative guesses.) As for what’s in the bottle? I always wonder if the chilly alpine character I get from this and similar wines is authentically-sensed or the power of suggestion, but it probably doesn’t matter; this is not “ripe” fruit in the modern, flabby sense, but instead linear and heavily-structured, dark without being opaque, and layered with strata of impenetrable minerality. There’s an herbal, almost quinine character about the edges. It’s not a wine one “loves,” exactly, but it does demand intellectual respect, and I’m glad I have more. (2/11)

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