Cieck, Erbaluce di Caluso 2020
Erbaluce might very well be one of the most delicious Piedmontese grapes you’ve never heard of. So popular in Italy that few ever make it to our shores, it makes for a highly fragrant, intensely flavored white wine with tongue-tingling acidity and a floral, honeyed richness like no other.
Erbaluce, coming from “herbs” and “light,” is a rare, wonderful grape whose name sums it up!
Pull the cork and revel in the aromas. Lemon zest! Green herbs! Apricot! Jasmine! The palate is fleshy, zingy, and intensely crisp, with a mouthwatering zesty acidity that begs for another sip and to be drunk alongside hard cheese like Grana Padano with dried apricots and salted almonds, or peppery grilled prawns with lemon and parsley.
The Cieck estate is an Erbaluce specialist, with the majority of their tiny 13-hectare farm devoted to the grape. A short drive north from the lovely, urbane capital of Turin (a must-see city!), they’re in a hamlet called San Giorgio, in the Canavese region. Canavese is made famous for the Erbaluce grape; nowhere more so than the “Caluso” subregion and no one more so than Cieck! In this pocket of Piedmont the soils are “morainic” in nature, which is a fancy way of saying glacial soils.
The winery was founded by Remo Falconieri in 1985 focused on sparkling Erbaluce, a pioneering feat at the time; now well into his eighties, he’s still working to this day alongside his daughter Lia, who oversees most of the operation. None other than Carlo Petrini, the founder of the famous Italian “Slow Food” movement, dubbed Remo as the “Archimedes of Bubbly.” High praise indeed!
An utterly delicious Erbaluce that’s almost sinfully good, from one of the foremost family-run specialists of the varietal and a beacon of environmental responsibility and pure, honest wines. Cheers!