The second tasting of our recent trip to the Riviera saw us heading up another steep hillside, this time on the Italian side of the border and high above the medieval town of Dolceacqua. Altavia Vineyard has been going for eight years, producing the local wine, Rossese di Dolceacqua, and experimenting with grapes from further afield very successfully.
We loved Altavia’s white wine, Noname 2013, so called because they simply couldn’t come up with a name for it. It’s an exciting blend of the widely-grown local Vermentino grape, and the meatier Rhône grape, Viognier. With herby, aromatic and citrus flavours from the former and an added floral, zingy dimension from the French grape, the resulting wine is ideal for pairing with punchy seafood dishes, perhaps featuring a hint of chilli and spice.
The tasting room at Altavia looks out over the valley with the same idyllic views as can be witnessed from two stone holiday villas on the property which are available for summer rentals. Located in the olive groves with vines on all sides and sharing a swimming pool, they offer true get-away-from-it-all stuff. For more information, check out the Altavia website.
Some of the Altavia wine range is available to buy in the UK at Red Squirrel Wines and the vineyard has an online shop. I was keen to buy some bottles from the cellar door and, despite much muttering from my husband about having to leave a child behind on the Riviera, I did squeeze a case selection into our boot together with some of the property’s extra virgin olive oil made from their own taggiasca olives. Now being tasted in Dorset!