Tasting: Erbaluce di Caluso “La Torrazza” Ferrando 2009…

…which we all know is made from the Erbaluce grape. I had never heard of this before but it came as a recommendation from Chandler at Neighborhood Hops & Vine and it is a Rosenthal selection so I was doubly inclined to believe this would be something worth buying. Unfortunately the recommendation came in early December. I have a problem buying things for myself when Christmas is impending. I do not have problems dropping repeated hints about the things I want for Christmas. I was actually worried that I had built this wine up too much in my mind. I’ll admit to being a little giddy when I found it under the tree.

Lovers of Italian white wines will understand. There are a lot of whites from Italy that are geared to the International market. Most are passable to very good, but they are not distinct. They aren’t evocative of any place. Rather, they seem to blur the characters that would make them unique. This makes them more palatable to a larger number of people which makes amazing sense from a dollars and cents, Euros etc., perspective. I don’t blame anyone for not starving. There are a smaller number of Italian whites that scream location, dirt, temperature. I like Rift pinot grigio as do I like Baron Fini and Livio Felluga, but they are, within certain perameters, so alike. Try Bruno Verde pinot grigio. It has the same notes as those three but it so much deeper and funkier. Regular pinot grigio drinkers may love the difference or they may be put off. Some wines set them selves apart by not trying to be for everyone. I’ve found some that don’t do it for me, but even then I appreciate the effort.

Anyway, Erbaluce di Caluso “La Torrazza” Ferrando 2009:
There are stories about the origins of this grape. Most involve the night and sun falling in love and not getting to see each other because of their schedules. The moon helped them out with an eclipse, causing night and day to happen at the same time. They made sweet, sweet love and the result was Erbaluce. Wikipedia says it developed in the Piedmont. I don’t know who to trust.

This particular Erbaluce is from the Piedmont near the foothills of the Alps. It has a deep golden color and the nose is floral with a little apple cider. The slight bit of nuttyness (almond?) is kept in check by the high viscosity, which is surprising at first, giving it a sense of richness that doesn’t come across as terribly heavy. I get industrial flavors, petroleum or plastic (not a bad thing) for a second and then it goes to fruit and a little talc or chalk. The alcohol is low enough that it makes a fine sipping wine but I want it with food. My wife thought mussels. I wanted grilled white fish. More particularly I wanted crackling and slightly charred skin on trout.

I don’t want to do stars or ratings. I liked this wine and recommend it, but you have my notes. If this is your thing, try it. $19.99 at Neighborhood Hops & Vine but I’m sure you can get it and any other shop. If it’s not in stock they can order it from the distributor, Grassroots Wine.

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