Count Cinzano is best known as the owner of Montalcino’s Col d’Orcia estate, which is the largest certified organic wine producer in Tuscany. His passion and true love of crafting incredible wines brought him to recognize Chile’s immense potential and, in 1995, he decided to bring his expertise and winemaking philosophy to the Maule Valley. This area is one of the country’s oldest grape growing regions. Erasmo was established in the area of “Reserva de Caliboro” where, with consulting enologist Maurizio Castelli, of Cinzano, the two spent six years studying the soils and planting the highest quality French grape clones.
In 2001 they brought to life the first vintage of the winery’s flagship Bordeaux blend. Erasmo Reserva de Caliboro. Like Col d’Orcia, the entire Erasmo estate is 100% organic; its vineyards are dry-farmed and its wines are estate-bottled with minimal intervention. Additionally, vineyard workers are encouraged to keep animals and raise vegetables and grains on the estate to support biodiversity and protect the fertility of the soils. For those of you who enjoy organic wines, you would absolutely enjoy these earth friendly wines all year round!
Count Cinzano’s intense commitment to organic and biodynamic winemaking practices has resulted in a collection of unique Chilean wines that follow the Cinzano family’s longstanding tradition of excellence. I had the rare opportunity to experience and taste these wines with Count Francesco Marone himself, at Ai Fiore in NYC. This was my first time meeting a Count, and I must say I was impressed, charmed, and delighted in his presence!
Here we tasted through some amazing wines such as the 2014 Erasmo Barbera Garnacha which is full of plum and floral notes. This wild idea for a blend worked, and Count Cinzano truly loves this wine (then again, so did I). Erasmo Barbera expresses the potential of this area in Chile, which surprisingly is a blend never tasted before. This blend is fresh and fruity expressing bold flavors of blackberry, cherry, and again plenty of plum! It’s organic and vivacious, just like the Count’s personality. The wine pairs incredibly well with all types of food including fish, duck, and bbq. This wine in total is an organic blend of: 32% Barbera, 48% Garnacha, 12% Carignan, 8% Alicante; wow, just wow!
Alongside the unique and beautiful Barbera Garnacha was a selection of older Erasmo vintages: Erasmo Reserva de Caliboro 2010 & 2009. I learned that there was a terrible earthquake in 2010 that hit Chile, which resulted in the grapes ripening. Riper notes can be found in this wine, especially the 2010, but it maintains its balance and finesse with roundness and rich tannins. Hints of minerality make this wine incredibly beautiful and pair-able with lamb, game meats, and grilled meats. What I find amazing is that even through this devastating time of disaster, a beautiful wine still flourished. This is true passion, perseverance, and love for what you do, and it’s absolutely expressed in the Erasmo portfolio.
After we tasted the 2009 vintage of Erasmo Reserva de Caliboro. It was quite lovely with dark berry flavors and well integrated hints of spice. Velvety tannins made this wine very seductive and perfectly balanced.
To end the incredible tasting on a sweeter note, I was pleasantly surprised that the Erasmo Late Harvest Torontel 2010 was brought out. I often enjoy sweet wines after a fulfilling wine filled meal, and this one hit the spot. The Torontel is the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity with flavors of golden raisins, apricots, and nuts. This late harvest is produced from a 60-year-old-vineyard and is absolutely stunning. Pair this wine with a sharp aged cheese or some chocolate and you have a match made in heaven!
Organic wines should be embraced and enjoyed. Be sure to check out the entire Erasmo portfolio as well as some of the other incredible wines from Count Cinzano’s entire portfolio! Open yourself to a wonderful world of hand crafted, carefully produced, quality driven wines that will wow your palate, pair beautifully with foods, and take you on an amazing wine sipping journey.
Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love. Please pair responsibly.