Danilo Thomain Enfer d'Arvier

Regular price $42.00

The local stalwart Petit Rouge is the only grape variety Danilo has under vine, and the end result is perhaps the most tension-laden red wine we import from the region. It pours a deep, blackish red, sanguine and glowing. The nose is unfailingly boisterous, full of black cherry, savory spice, tiny mountain flowers, and a vaguely menacing whiff of the sauvage. Rapier-like acidity pulls firmly at the reins of muscular, thickly luscious fruit—“Enfer d’Arvier,” after all, means “The Hell of Arvier,” a reference to the blistering heat such perfectly angled vineyards absorb under full sun, and the wine is indeed never deficient in ripeness. An essay in extremes, Danilo’s Enfer d’Arvier is both bracing in its freshness and intense in its concentration. And, as a recently consumed 2008 (the first vintage we imported) attested, it can age, and age beautifully.

The vineyards of the Enfer d’Arvier appellation are situated in an amphitheater-shaped site on steep slopes in a high-altitude valley, which receives ample sun. The shape of this “bowl” of vineyards effectively concentrates the heat of the sun, thus giving birth to the “hell of Arvier” moniker. Danilo Thomain is the only independent vigneron working this tiny appellation only five hectares in size. The Thomain family works one hectare of vineyards here in the shadow of Mont Blanc.

-Neil Rosenthal