Ermes Pavese, a typical mountain winemaker who makes wine in a traditional way exactly where he lives, in Morgex, has created a real miracle. Initially under the guidance of Marziano Vevey, historic Valle d'Aosta producer, Ermes began his activity in 1999. The vineyards, in these parts, rise between 800 and 1200 metres above sea level, and are rightly considered the highest in Europe. Aosta Valley, of course, but especially the Alps, which look towards France and are the playgrounds of some of the most famous ski areas in the region.
The sandy soils and the typical alpine climate of cold winters and mild summers, obviously mean extreme viticulture in the area. It is necessary not only to nurse the rays of the sun, occupying the few tiny plots with favourable exposure, but also terracing, if possible, these steep and inaccessible amphitheatres suited to the vine. At these vertiginous altitudes, the only grape variety that is perfectly adapted to the snow and the cold is the Prié Blanc, considered by many to be the only true white indigenous vine of the Aosta Valley. Usually cultivated ungrafted (here not even phylloxera has found an easy environment), the Prié Blanc has been used in the area since 1200 and is expressed with delicate but heady scents, and above all with a strong acidity, sometimes citrine.
Ermes Pavese’s vineyards, although not certified, are organic and grown with a low pergola style. Maximum wholesomeness, therefore, and a total absence of mechanisation. The thrilling slopes produce a classic Prié Blanc, which almost blends with its elegant typicality. The harvests, of course, are often procrastinated, almost late, to produce wine as harmonic as possible and balanced between the lashing acidity and the few, very little, softness. Extreme in its minerality is the simplest Blanc, with very thin notes of hawthorn, while a little rounder, thanks to two days of maceration and batonnage in the cellar, is the Nathan, which is a selection from over forty-year-old vineyards. Wines with an evanescent structure, cerebral and intellectual, but in the summer season are authentic pearls to be drunk both during meals and not.
But Ermes is also a character that comes from tradition. For this reason, he was the first and best to foresee the potential of Prié Blanc as a base for great classic method sparkling wines. Sensational products, which today constitute perhaps the flagship of its range. They range from 18 to 36 months of ageing on yeasts, and above all what we are talking about here is only and exclusively sparkling wines that are not dosed: an extreme and uncompromising interpretation of the classic method, which is definitely creamy, but sharp and vertical for acidity and flavour. The 36 months is outstanding. 900 bottles of about 9000 that Ermes Pavese gives us every year are dedicated to this masterpiece.