Posts tagged ‘timorasso’

Great Piemontese Whites – Erbaluce and Timorasso

I previously wrote about Arneis, one of the most distinctive white wines of Piemonte. Today, I’m exploring two other brilliant whites from this region: Erbaluce and Timorasso.


Gian Luigi Orsolani, top producer of Erbaluce di Caluso (Photo©Tom Hyland)


The Erbaluce grape is an indigenous variety of Piemonte found in the area near the city of Caluso, some twenty miles northeast of Torino. Amidst these hills, the grape delivers its finest wines, dispaying aromas of fruit (pear, golden apples, lemon) and herbs (rosemary, sage). Indeed the name of the grape comes from two Italian words: erba, meaning “herb” and luce, meaning “light”, an obvious reference to the wine’s brilliant color when it is young.

As the Erbaluce grape has such naturally high acidity, it can be produced as a sprakling wine as well as a dry white; it is even made into a gorgeous dessert wine in a passito version. The sparkling version in made in the classic (Champagne) method and thebest versions of these wines can age for more than a decade. The dry white is often aged only in stainless steel, but there are some excellent versions that receive small oak barrel treatment. 

Pair Erbaluce with a variety of foods, from seafood and risotto to pork and veal for the dry, oak-aged bottlings. The best producers of Erbaluce di Caluso include: Orsolani, La Campore and Cieck.


The Timorasso grape is planted in the Colli Tortonesi area in the province of Alessandria in far southeastern Piemonte near the border with Lombardia. This is an excellent variety that displays lovely tropical fruit aromatics (often pineapple) and very good acidity. Most versions are produced by aging only in stainless steel and famed produced Walter Massa has proposed a separate DOC zone for Timorasso that is only steel-aged; this DOC would be known as Derthona Timorasso (the current DOC used is Colli Tortonesi).

"Martin" bottling of Timorasso of Franco Martinetti (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

A few producers, such as Franco Martinetti also produce an oak-aged version; his bottling known as Martin is aged in 60% new barrique and 40% used barrique. This wine has a distinct vanilla custard aroma that adds to the tropical fruit notes. 

The best producers of Timorasso include: Walter Massa, Franco Martinetti, Claudio Mariotto and Daniele Ricci.

Timorasso is generally consmued in its youth, bt the best versions are at their peak 5-7 years after the vintage, while a few can drink well for even as long as a decade. Pair Timorasso with seafood, risotto and lighter white meats.

October 30, 2009 at 10:40 am 6 comments

Italian Varieties – T to Z


Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri, a leading producer of Vermentino (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Guado al Tasso, Bolgheri, a leading producer of Vermentino (Photo ©Tom Hyland)




Red variety of Friuli with harsh tannins that inspired its unique name, translated as “cutting the tongue.”


Red variety of Trentino with deep color, ripe berrry fruit and good acidity. 


High acid white variety of Piemonte. Often used in the production of grappa, though a few producers – most notably Massa – make an excellent dry version.


White variety planted throughout much of Italy; generally a blender with modest aromatics and high acidity. Trebbiano di Soave is one of the most highly regarded subvarieties.



Uva di Troia

Also known as Nero di Troia. Excellent red variety found in northern Puglia. Moderate tannins, good acidity and cherry, berry fruit. The principal red variety of Castel del Monte DOC.


Uva di Troia vineyards near Castel del Monte (Photo ©Tom Hyland)

Uva di Troia vineyards near Castel del Monte (Photo ©Tom Hyland)




White variety of Marche. Generally aged in stainless steel, though a few producers age in oak. Many versions are light with pleasant pear and apple fruit; there are some excellent bottlings that offer more fruit intensity and spice.

Verduzzo Friulano

White variety of Friuli, primarily in the Colli Orientali DOC. Used to produce a dry white, but also a famous sweet white named Ramondolo. Apricot and pear flavors with lively acidity.


White variety grown in Sardegna, Liguria and the coast of Tuscany (especially in Bolgheri). Very high acidity with flavors of pear, lime and pine and often notes of sea salt with a distinct minerality. 


Two distinct examples: Vernaccia di San Gimignano is a refreshing, dry white wiht moderate acidity made as a light, dry white. Vernaccia di Oristano is a sweeter white from Sardegna that is sherry-like.


White from Veneto made as a lush, apricot and honeyed dessert wine called Torcolato.




Name for Moscato in Sicilia; the word is Arabic for “raisin.” Used in the production of Passito di Pantelleria. Honey, apricot and marzipan flavors.


August 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm 1 comment

tom hyland

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 676 other followers

Beyond Barolo and Brunello


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 676 other followers