Cult Mountain Nebbiolo: 2008 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Bianca & Nera

Posted by Joe Salamone

Cult Mountain Nebbiolo
2008 Ferrando Carema
Etichetta Bianca & Etichetta Nera

Carema is a tiny, obscure appellation in the backwoods of Piedmont. It amounts to something like 16ha.

And yet for all its obscurity, year after year, Ferrando's Caremas sell out before they have any chance of making it on to the shelf.

The explanation for why this minuscule and marginal appellation has such an outsized fan club is simple: Carema is a special place, and Ferrando captures what makes it special perfectly.

Ferrando's Carema is Nebbiolo at its purest, its most energetic, and its most aromatic. At high altitudes, in the shadows of Mt. Blanc, on soil that's pretty much eroded rock, the grape assumes a level of finesse that's gorgeous and fascinatingly singular.

Of course, credit has to be given to Neal Rosenthal, Ferrando's importer, for recognizing the brilliance of the wine and singing its praises in the first place.

Rosenthal is not shy about his love of Ferrando's Carema. "When I am asked which wine would I choose were I to be restricted to a single one, my answer is: Carema," he writes. And this is coming from a person with Fourrier's Griotte at his fingertips!

Today, we're offering Ferrando's latest release, their 2008 White and Black label Caremas.

If you're receiving this offer, it means that you've supported our Northern Piedmont program and probably know Ferrando's wines very well already. The sad fact is that word about Ferrando's Caremas has continued to spread and we're seeing less and less wine, especially in a short vintage like 2008.

Quantities are very limited and in spite of effort to restrict the scope of the offer, both wines will likely sell out quickly.

2008 vintage for Carema is, much like 08 in Burgundy, a vintage where the terroir shines through vividly. Both of Ferrando's wines show a rocky minerality combined with herbs, tar and crushed flowers. There's a persistence of well integrated, silky tannins and acidity that's really lovely and impressive.

Ferrando Carema's lightness of color and body belies the distance that it can go in the cellar. It's a wine that ages on its balance and overall harmony. Nebbiolo ages long and gracefully, and there are many tales of outstanding bottles of Ferrando white label at 15 and even 20+ years old. Rosenthal speaks of a 1964 Black Label that hit its apogee in 1998 - at 34 years of age.

The White label is the Chambolle of Ferrando's two Caremas - above all, it's about brisk elegance and beautiful clarity.

The Etichetta Nera (black label) is produced only in exceptional vintages. It sees a bit longer barrel aging, some of which is in new oak. In vintages when it’s produced, Ferrando makes only about 3,000 bottles of the black label. Yes, there is plenty of finesse, but black is more masculine, denser, richer and more intense. It rewards the patient.

Ferrando's Caremas are wines that we support every year, because every year it has something beautiful to say. In 2008, Ferrando's Caremas speaks with the purest expression of Carema that we've seen in a long time. I wish there were more of it, but so it goes...

To order, please email us at or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits