Erbaluce di Caluso
Last edited on 7/8/2011 by Lorien
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Erbaluce di Caluso or simply Caluso, is a classified winemaking zone found in Italy's northwestern region Piedmont. The wines from this area are produced in a limited viticultural area that includes thirty three communes in the province of Turin with Caluso as its center. Flouirshing in ancient traditions, the Erbaluce grape from which the wine is made, takes its name from the goddess Albaluce whose realm was Caluso.
Awarded its DOC status in 1967, the classification encompasses the highly regarded sweet white dessert wine known as Caluso Passito DOC, as well as the dry white wines Erbaluce di Caluso and the Caluso Spumante known for its dry, fresh and fruity character and underlyling minerality.
Erbaluce is a unique grape, displaying a bright copper hue with slight pinkish highlights in the autumn months. The intense amber color almost makes the grape look 'roasted'. This gives rise to the grape's poetic name Uva Rustia (uva arrostita or 'roasted' grape). The first written record of this native variety dates back to 1606, thought to have originated in the Alps in northern Piedmont.
The rich, sweet dessert wine made in a passito style is crafted from dried Erbaluce grapes and is known as Caluso Passito. The fruit is allowed to fully ripen in the warm days of autumn and is then dried before being pressed. The wine is usually a blend of several vintages and vinification is a meticulous process which takes considerable time. It can only be bottled five years after harvest and must have a minimum alcohol content of 17%. If matured for five years or more, it may be called a Riserva. It generally takes at least six years to reach its full maturity. The result at the end of this period is a golden nectar, with an exceptionally perfumed bouquet.
Erbaluce di Caluso is the bianco secco version, its aromas reminiscent of meadow flowers. It is characteristically dry with a distinguishable acidity, but has a well-rounded structure making it an excellent partner to hors d'oeuvres and fish. It is a particularly well-suited to tench and marinated trout, as well as to the dried meat of chamois, the famous mocetta.
Despite the set up of Centro per la Tutela e la Valorizzazione dei Vini DOC di Caluso to promote the wines from this area which are in limited production, they are still not widely known outside of Piedmont, often available only in Biella and Turin.