From north of Torino, bordering the Val d’Aosta, comes Chiussuma of Caluso & Carema.
In 2016 young Matteo Ravera Chion, a tall Anthropology graduate of Torino University, joined forces with locals Rudy & his wife Alessandra to create Chiussuma, named after the waterfall that falls close to their Carema vineyard, which comprises 3ha of Nebbiolo (local Picotener & Prugnet clones) & local Nerd-Ala vines trained high on ‘topia’, trellised across granite/mica pillars that delimit the tiny terraced vineyards at up to 350m asl. The soil is morainic & mica, carried up the impossibly steep slopes from the valley bottom.
In 2020 they released their first Rosso Canavese (2019), ‘Farinel’ (meaning ‘whipsnapper’ in dialect!), all 600 bts of it: a beautifully perfumed blend of Nebbiolo + 10% Nerd-Ala, vinified only in stainless steel & labelled with a picture of a Ghiro, a wild animal with a particularly long tail that inhabits Alpine villages. 2017 Carema is their second vintage, aged in two old barriques & a tonneau; producing 1000 bts total! From vintage 2018, the yield was sufficient to enable them to upgrade to two tonneaux!
Matteo vinifies the Erbaluce from vines in the Caluso village of Piverone – labelled ‘Pajarin’ on account of its straw-like colour – from 1ha of mostly pergola vines that lie in the ancient glacial, acidic, morainic soils close to Ivrea, the grape’s epicentre & source of Piemonte’s first DOC bianco in 1967. Piverone lies near the Lago di Viverone, a volcanic lake. Leggy Erbaluce vines are trellised high on ‘pergola Calusiese’ (at 1k plants/ha) on the splayed slopes of the Serra di Ivrea, in the comune of Palazzo Canavese. Erbaluce is related to Fiano, having been brought to Piemonte by the Romans. Its finest expression is achieved among the Canavese hills north of Torino, in the comune of Caluso, where it looks up the Val d’Aosta & benefits from its dramatic temperature oscillations.
Carema was also awarded its DOC in 1967, & is found 30mins by car up the tight, sheer granite & mica valley on the Piemontese border with the Val d’Aosta, is found the 60ha region of Carema, whose history dates back to 1539 & to the documented works of Papa Paolo III Farnese, in which he celebrated the wines as being worthy of ‘Principi e Signori’ (‘Princes & Gentlemen’). Carema vinification is traditional, preserving the integrity of the Nebbiolo, Picotener & ‘Neretti’ grapes, with skin maceration circa 15 days, followed by 18 mths in 500litre used tonneaux. Production of both wines is limited; notably of the Carema (max. 1200 bts/anno). Their debut vintage being 2016.
Their Carema vineyard is also home to three divine donkeys: Ernesto, Angelica (with long fringe!) & Nerina!
Erbaluce di Caluso ‘Nramia’