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The grape variety Petit Rouge is widely regarded as the best red grape variety of the Aosta Valley, where it is likely to be considered native. It is one of the oldest and most commonly planted red wine grapes in the region and the literal translation of the name is “little red one”. The first traces of its cultivation date back to Roman times.
Like many other Aosta Valley grapes, it seems to reconnect to the native family “Orious”, which in turn includes two subfamilies, the “Gros Orious” and the “Petits Orious” where the grape variety Petit Rouge belongs.
In the Aosta Valley there are small productions obtained from historic vineyards of Petit Rouge planted along the valley of the Dora Baltea.
The Petit Rouge berry is black, small, spheroid with very waxy, thin, soft, blue-purplish skin. The bunch is medium or medium-small, truncated pyramid, with one or two wings, medium tight with a medium, three-lobed or five-lobed leaf.
Since this is such a common grape in the area, Petit Rouge is used in many of the DOC’s produced in the region, it makes up 85% of Enfer d’Arvier, 70% of Torrette, 60% of Chambave and 30% of Nus Rouge, the Petit Rouge is often used in blends that include Gamay, Pinot Noir and Fumin and used in the making of tart, fruity red wines.
The grape variety Petit rouge gives a ruby red wine with garnet, intense scent with vinous notes, fairly tannic mouth, soft and velvety, full-bodied, usually quite alcoholic.