The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Expert Picks: Ferrando La Torrazza and Fiorano

Posted on | April 2, 2015 | Written by Crystal Edgar | No Comments

Crystal 2014Spring is officially upon us—at least that is what I am telling myself here in New York. It’s time to bring out the whites wines to welcome the warmth! Today I am excited to introduce two wines that dwell far off the beaten path. I do love a nice, crisp Chablis, Sancerre, Friulano, Gavi and other bright and refreshing whites; however, I like variety. Seeking a bit of adventure, I find myself reaching for unique producers, grapes, or styles of wine. Here are two of my favorites, an Erbaluce, which can be enjoyed anytime, and a Fiorano, which requires more attention and a few very good friends to share the magic with.

Ferrando La Torrazza Erbaluce di Caluso 2012 $19.99

This fresh, dry, mineral-driven wine is produced exclusively from the Erbaluce grape in the northernly Canavese region. Technically part of Piedmont, Canavese is located at the frontier of the Valle d’Aosta, the very edge of Piedmont, an area renowned for its steeply terraced vineyards, which offers distinctive character and quality to the wine. The Erbaluce grape is an ancient white variety that originates in these alpine foothills. This ‘12 has a bright acidity, an elegant underlying minerality, and a complex structure that makes it the ultimate flexible wine. This wine is delightful to enjoy with a range of fresh seafood and antipasti but also acts as the perfect aperitif on a warm day.

Fiorano No. 47 Semillon 1988 $149

Last night I tasted this “cerebral” white from 1988 with a few clients, and once again, I fell in love with the fairytale of Fiorano. Of all of the white wines that we offer, Fiorano’s Semillon might just be the most unique and complex, carrying one of the best wine stories ever told. It’s hard not to contemplate the notions of death, myth and legacy while approaching Tenuta di Fiorano, a sprawling noble estate southeast of Rome and bordered by the Via Appia Antica. “The greatness of Fiorano is a secret shared by a few,” wrote Burton Anderson in “Vino,” his 1980 guide to Italian wine. This statement has remained true because there are not many bottles to go around! The elderly proprietor, Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, the prince of Venosa, decided to tear out his vines and abandon his estate to live in a hotel, where he spent his final years. He passed away in 2005, and the last of the remarkable wines he made was produced in 1995. There may never be more wine made like this (although Allegra Antinori is revamping the estate—fingers crossed!), so now is the time to get your hands on the few precious bottles that still remain in our cellar! Enjoy it now or over the next few years with roasted seafood, pasta carbonara, mushroom risotto, quiche, or a simple croquet monsieur.

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