From: Piedmont, Italy
Taste: The 2021 Orsolani Bianchera Erbaluce di Caluso is a delight. It emits a harmonious range of scents, from apple blossom and orchard fruit to citrus and dry honey. Upon tasting, this aromatic blend evolves seamlessly on the palate. The distinctly bright and crisp characteristic of Erbaluce leads the way, followed by layers of William pears and golden apples. These delightful notes culminate in a steely, dry finish.
Pairing: Regarding food pairing, the bright, crisp structure of the Orsolani Bianchera makes it a perfect accompaniment to hors d'oeuvres and fish dishes. It particularly shines when paired with tench, a freshwater fish, or marinated trout. Other great pairing options include salads, fresh produce, and dishes from Thai, Japanese or Vietnamese cuisine (check out the recipe below).
Crab Cake Banh Mi Sandwich
By David Tanis
About. In the often overshadowed corners of Italy's famous Piedmont wine region, a captivating white varietal has been quietly catching the attention of discerning wine lovers. Among the region's lesser-known grapes, one stands out with its elegant profile and adaptable nature—Erbaluce. Today, we delve into the 2021 Orsolani Bianchera Erbaluce di Caluso, an attractive representation of this intriguing varietal.
With an alcohol content of 12.5%, the Orsolani Bianchera is made exclusively from the Erbaluce di Caluso grape. A niche yet resilient varietal, Erbaluce traces its roots back to the Canavese hills of Northeastern Piemonte as early as 1606, where it grows uniquely in 33 municipalities surrounding the town of Caluso. According to the local folklore, Erbaluce earned its name from the goddess Albaluce, who reigned over Caluso.
Often mistaken for the Greco varietal or speculated to be a relative of the Fiano from Central and Southern Italy, Erbaluce shines all on its own.
Orsolani Winery, the proud producer of this wine, has a rich history dating back to the end of the nineteenth century when Giovanni Orsolani and his wife Domenica returned from America, drawn by the call of their homeland, the Canavese. They initially opened the Locanda Aurora restaurant, with Giovanni managing the vineyard and wine production. Today, their descendants are dedicated solely to producing still and sparkling wines, most from their vineyards in the most classic production areas. Their devotion to the Erbaluce grape is palpable, as it constitutes 90% of their annual production of approximately 150,000 bottles. Fun fact: it was Francesco Orsolani who was the first to produce sparkling Erbaluce in 1968!
Erbaluce di Caluso's versatility is one of its most captivating attributes. It can be still or sparkling, dry or sweet, creating a chameleon-like quality that makes the grape hard to define but intriguing to explore. Although the production area is relatively small—between 300 to 400 hectares planted in Italy, with the majority of 242 ha making up the Erbaluce di Caluso appellation—this tiny region is the heart of an incredible variety of wine styles.
The Erbaluce di Caluso may not be a household name, but those who have discovered it hold its subtlety and versatility in high regard. Its fragile characteristics require careful handling by the winemaker to coax the flavor out of the grapes. While some may consider it light, it offers a fresh and crisp acidity that complements its flowery aromas.
Despite its quiet presence on the world wine stage, the 2021 Orsolani Bianchera Erbaluce di Caluso proves this grape's allure and potential, making it a must-try for any wine lover.
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