Hailing from Valle d’Aosta in far northwestern Italy, Vieux Joseph’s Illaria Bavastro has been quietly crafting some of Italy’s most profound alpine wines since 2009 from her grandfather’s (AKA Vieux Joseph…) vineyards. Her vineyard sites, all of which are organically farmed, are located between 650 and 750 meters above sea level, and the vines are ungrafted, which is quite a rarity anywhere in Europe. Her winemaking is hands-off and natural, with the only intervention being essentially homeopathic doses of SO2. She is patient with her wines, aging them on the lees in barrel or stainless steel until she feels they’re ready. Her thoughtfulness, patience, hard work, and love of her land shine through in every glass.‘Clos Cartesan’ is a coferment of her oldest vines, some varieties familiar, some we’ve never before encountered: Petit Rouge, Cornalin, Fumin, Vein de nus, Nebbiolo, Barbera, Cilliegiolo, Neyet, Freisa, plus several more that have yet to be identified. Some of the vines are over 100 years old. Fermentation is carried out stainless steel on native yeasts, where the wine also rests for 18 months before bottling. It’s neither fined nor filtered, and only sees a miniscule amount of sulfur before bottling. The resulting wine is a polychromatic wonder that shows a constantly evolving interplay of savory, earthy, and fruity notes on the nose and palate. It has the kind of depth and concentration you only find in wines from very old vines, and I suspect you could confidently age this wine for decades.