Friday, July 28, 2023

L'Erm winery

Follow us in our winery visit and wine tasting at L'Erm the winery of Turinepi's long time friend Jyothi Aimino in the Canavese wine district here in Piedmont.

Scroll down for our wine analysis and watch this beautiful reel here

As many of you might already know, we have been collaborating with our very own Piedmont Ms Sharma - Jo in Food on IG - for about 8-9 years, when she was still an undergrad at the Slow Food University of Gastronomic Sciences in Bra - a small town and a cheese made in Piedmont. 

In 2016, she facilitated the 3rd talk show of 3rd edition of Turin Epicurean Capital and in 2019, she returned as a guest for the 1st talk show of the last IRL edition of Turin Epicurean Capital.

In the 2020 virtual edition, she showed us her winery on Instagram and she also shared the L'Erm history (in English) and products (in Italian) in the 2022 virtual edition.

Photo by Kavita Malstead, can you spot Tami the winery dog and the sheep fleece?

After graduating from the UniSG, Jo made her dream come true and founded L'Erm: her family winery on her nonno - grandpa's hills, in Borgomasino near Ivrea aka the Italian Silicon Valley thanks to Olivetti.

Located at about 1h driving from Turin, the Canavese district is in an almost prealpine area with a very layered soil. This is an important detail as the soil composition, the hills' exposition to the sun, the altitude and the surrounding Alps create specific conditions that favor the vine growth and winemaking. 

When you get to meet her, you'll notice right away that Ms Aimino is just like Bridgerton's Ms Sharma: she's Indian, super pretty and glam, but if you are fluent in Italian you won't believe your ears and eyes: as soon as she greets you you'll be hugged by her deep Piedmontese accent, expressions and gestures!

A very caring and organized lady, Jyothi is fearless, a force of nature and has always had a very crystal clear vision of her mission. Her top need is to give back to the land that welcomed her as a young child when she arrived from India.
And what better way than than bringing back under the spotlight the traditional cultivations of her 2nd homeland, resurrecting long forgotten fruits - to make innovative wines, tweak jam recipes and fruit juices to her young image?

Photo by Kavita Malstead: Jyothi Aimino is a certified sommelier

This is the spirit with Justin Yip, Kavita Malstead  and Lucia of Turinepi went to the discovery of L'Erm winery and its products: a 4 wine tasting with local cheeses and lunch meats served with L'Erm Indo-Piedmontese jams and natural fruit juices.

In one word it was a feast!

In case you were wondering, Justin Yip is also a UniSG alumno and is soon to open his 'Malaysian in my own way' restaurant near Piazza Statuto here in Turin. Following him on Instagram to know all the details so you'll be able to satisfy your non-Italian food cravings.

Kavita Malstead was born in India to American parents and is a UniSG student with a long professional experience in the restaurant world.

Kavita Malstead and Justin Yip toasting at L'Erm

When visiting and / or moving to Piedmont, it is of paramount importance to love food and wine, and especially to train your palates to the subtleties of the flavors and scents you'll be experiencing here daily. 

At L'Erm you'll quickly embark on sensorial travel that will stay with you forever!

Photo by Kavita Malstead: yoga in the winery with Tami, by the olive trees

Following Tami, the winery choco lab, we walked up the hill through the vineyards where Jyothi showed us how her hills are equally exposed to the sun and where her Nebbiolo and Erbaluce vines are located. Each vine row has sheep fleece to keep deer and roes away: they love her grapes but hate the sheep smell.

Olive trees grow at L'Erm too by the vine rows! So keep in touch with L'Erm because sooner than you know it, you'll be able to purchase their natural olive oil too. 

... needless to tell you that 800 years ago, olive trees where one of the cultivations in Piedmont and they are coming back, a gift of climate change.

On top of the hill we could see the little house this winery is named after but needed to stop under the shade of the trees where our table clothed feast had been set up with bentos to pair the wines.

Currently you can enjoy two Nebbiolos and two Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG still by L'Erm.

Ms Aimino loves to remind everyone how Nebbiolo is the real king of Piedmont grapes as most Piedmontese red wines are made with it.
Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG is the fairy tale wine from the Canavese wine district and you won't easily find it outside of Piedmot. This is the only Italian white wine that comes in 3 variants and all of them have the DOCG (the highest) denomination.

At the moment, L'Erm produces only 2 versions of the still variant but the sparkling (think more foamy due to its perlage) and straw wine variants are also produced in this area.

We started our wine tasting with Surya the new addition to the Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG line by L'Erm. 

This wine is from a delayed harvest of Erbaluce grapes on the 3rd week of September; thus, it is the intermediate step between the still Erbaluce and its passito or straw version (made from the fermentation of raisins). 

We called it 'The Sex And The City wine' because chilled, it's what the SATC protagonists would drink at their Sunday brunch and at their summer rooftop parties in NYC.
It's far from being your average white, it has an awesome vanilla and cherry aroma and yet, the alcohol film you get on your tongue isn't as strong as with the passitos.

To make Surya the Erbaluce grapes spend 5 months in still vats.
You'll feel citrus, sage and peach notes and its color is straw yellow. 

Then we tasted Jyothi - still Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG: it reminded us of An Astrological Guide For Broken Hearts the Netflix series set and filmed in Turin. 

This is a white wine with a distinct personality; it's rather versatile, like one of those accessories that pairs with everything and that defines you. Great for risottos as well as ethnic cuisines, dry but aromatic.

In the whole Canavese wine district there are 67 Erbaluce di Caluso DOCG wine makers, but the Jyothi Aimino is the only innovative wine producer. 

Then we moved on to the reds and tasted Passaggio, the very first wine produced by L'Erm. This is a pure Nebbiolo, fermented in still vats and aged in 500 liter oak barrels that had lost all their aromas to preserve the original Nebbiolo grape flavor.
Passaggio is ruby red with hibiscus and violet notes and nice tannins.
Kavita and Justin said Passaggio is a Nick Jonas kind of wine: young and reliable. I definitely think it is a people pleaser.

Finally, we savored Burgre or Borgomasino in the local dialect. This is the very last Nebbiolo produced in a super limited edition that counts only 305 bottles.
It is made with a process similar to Amarone by slowly drying the grapes for one month in wood crates in the cool cellar. Successively, it spends one month in still vats, before being aged for five months in oak barriques that previously lost all their wood aromas.

Burgre will amaze you amici, both as a wine and as a red wine! 

With its 14% alcohol content, it tastes almost like "a meditation wine": what Piedmont wine aficionados enjoy after a big meal, when they think about their lives, days and what the future can bring them. It echoes the notes of 'How can you mend a broken heart?

As you smell a glass of this ruby red wine to your nose, a distinct vanilla scent will invade your nose. Once in your mouth, the vanilla aroma will be replaced by sweet cherry notes popping up together with earthy ones.

For the curious, Jyothi had prepared a mix of locally produced lunch meats like country salami and lonza - cured pork tenderloin and a mix of locally produced cheeses: a cloud-like goat cheese, a half soft blue cheese and a toma or round aged cheese with juniper berries that she served with two of her jams one made with azzeruole or cherry size apple-plums and the other one with peaches, peach-apricot hybrid, cardamom and amaretto cookie.

Needless to tell you these jams are a bomb however you eat them!

When we visited, her cantina or tasting location was being completed but it is now operative and open to the public.

Mr Aimino, Jyothi's father showing us their pear and blueberry harvest

Jyothi organizes many wine events at L'Erm including wine and jam presentations, happy hours, educatonal immersive experience and hiking hours in her vineyard with dogs if you own one!

Get in touch with Jyothi on Instagram or by e-mail and remember, you can order her products online if you can't visit her and even adopt one or more vine rows from L'Erm winery as you are planning your visit and wine tasting experience!

Photo by Kavita Malstead

A big thank you to Jyothi Aimino, Mr and Mrs Aimino for this beautiful experience; and to Justin Yip and Kavita Malstead for your company, opinions, suggestions and pictures!


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