If you’ve always assumed that Ferrando Carema was the name of this estate, you’d be forgiven. To those of us who already love the wines, Luigi Ferrando and the tiny little mountain town of Carema are indeed one and the same. The DOC Carema is home to the most northern, high-altitude Nebbiolo in Piedmont. Since 1957, the Ferrando family has made wine here on steeply terraced vineyards, trained on pergola vines to obtain maximum exposure to the sun. It’d be a bit peculiar to include the contrasting terroirs of Carema and Barolo within the same regional boundaries, were it not for the poetic justice that all great expressions of this diva grape play on Team Piedmont. Yes, the euphoric aromas of tar and roses that make even the most stoic Barolo lover swirl and shiver are embedded in the DNA. But as if without permission, like a swift pull of a tablecloth from under an undisturbed setting of a dining room table, Ferrando’s Carema breathes in an alpine vitality that lifts the Nebbiolo off its heavy feet.
What importer Rosenthal Wine Merchant has to say about this wine...
If there is any wine that defines the Ferrando “oeuvre” it is this one: the white label Carema. No single wine in our portfolio is more illustrative of our work than this brilliant rendition of Nebbiolo. Produced exclusively from the Nebbiolo grape planted in a series of vineyards that sit beneath Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) in a broad amphitheatre with full southern exposure overlooking the river, Dora Baltea, that runs from the snow-capped mountains south through the Valle d’Aosta into the northwestern range of Piedmont slicing the city of Ivrea in half. The vines are trained in a special way on pergola (known as “tupin” in local dialect) to obtain maximum exposure to the sun in this high altitude district and are planted to soils that are dominated by slate. The appellation of Carema is extremely small: only 16 hectares (approximately 40 acres) are planted to the vine. The Ferrando family controls 2.5 hectares of the appellation. The Nebbiolo grapes are harvested normally during the second half of October; then, they undergo a cuvaison of approximately two weeks in stainless steel before being racked into a mixture of large and small barrels for an extensive aging period of 30 to 36 months before being bottled (without filtration). By law, the Carema cannot be released before four years of aging. Production of the Carema “Etichetta Bianca” is approximately 7200 bottles per annum, two-thirds of which (4800 bottles) comes to the States. A small quantity of magnums is bottled each year at our request as well. The Carema of Ferrando reveals the most elegant and delicate and complex characteristics of the Nebbiolo grape with a surprising capacity to age. We have witnessed this wine at thirty-plus years of age displaying vibrant, seductive qualities that are simply astonishing.