Favaro Erbaluce @Cotogna

I found this bottle on Cotogna’s wine list, in San Francisco.  Bravo!

There are wines that we defines, and wines that define us.

For me the Erbaluce from the Favaro winery in Caluso is the latter.  I met Camillo Favaro in 2006 when I was just beginning to find my way through the fascinating world of Italian wine. Erbaluce (“air-bah-loo-chay”), sounds so poetic, so foriegn and exotic.  A white wine from Piemonte, land of the Big Reds.

Camillo Favaro has a booming voice with a lyrical accent strictly from northern Piemonte.  Bright, sprightly eyes that dance when he talks about Erbaluce, or about his vineyards.  I remember shaking his hand and noticing how strong and capable they were.  This is a winemaker, and this is a farmer who makes wine.  I remember his big, open smile- the expression of a man who has discovered the universe has given him every opportunity to do what he loves.

David Scott and Camillo Favaro in Verona

David Scott and Camillo Favaro, deep in conversation at Vinitaly 2007.

Camillo Favaro’s Erbaluce was a lightening bolt- I tasted it at a point in my life when I don’t believe I had tasted many white wines that had left such an impression on me.  Favaro crafts a truly superior version of Erbaluce; full-bodied and still electric with acidity.  Weighty in the glass- oily even, but fresh and alive on the palate.  This wine has that waxy, lemon-oil and petroleum characteristic you find in the great Rieslings of the world.  It is also singularly itself- an ancient, traditional grape from an amazing place at in the foothills of the Piemontese mountains.

Joanie & Camillo

I was star-struck by this wine, won over by its minerality and unsuspecting charm.  I truly believe it was one of the wines that shaped my palate the most in those formative years.  I still drink it today, as often as I can find it.  More than that, I think this wine taught me to connect the great wines in my life with the people who make them.  There is happily, and unavoidably, a connection.

Grazie, Camillo.