2005 Ferrando Carema "Black Label"
Alpine Nebbiolo of Breathtaking Grace and Ageability
"When I am asked which wine would I choose were I to be restricted to a single one, my answer is: Carema."
- Neal Rosenthal
With only 16 hectares planted in Carema, today's Black Label represents one of Italy's rarest treasures.
Carema is in the northern haunts of the Piedmont, quite literally in Mont Blanc's shadow. In this high-altitude region, Nebbiolo ripens only on the steepest and most backbreaking terraced vineyards. This is viticulture at its most heroic and least profitable.
However, when the stars align, the region is capable of producing wines of such unique beauty that one feels indebted to the growers. Today we present the region's masterpiece.
Ferrando's 2005 Carema Etichetta Nera, or Black Label, is the most intense expression of Carema. We offered a small parcel of the 2004 late last year and had an overwhelming response; this is a wine whose reputation has exploded in the last 3+ years.
Today we offer the 2005, a high-voltage Carema that is brisk, silken, redolent of roses, fresh sweet herbs, perfumed cherry fruits, pomegranate, tinges of smoke and crushed rock. Whereas the 2004 is inky, dark fruited with extraordinary brawn, the 2005 is finesse, silken textures and an intensity of flavor that recalls Musigny (Ferrando Carema as Mountain Musigny?)
This wine is a purist's delight; it screams from (and of) the mountaintop. As Neal Rosenthal put it: "The '05 vintage is an almost ideal expression of Carema... For me, a top-notch vintage."
There is a dynamism to this wine that is endlessly engaging. The sophisticated and satiny tannins make the wine surprisingly accessible. However, don't take the wine's gregariousness as a sign of a short life - indeed, exactly the opposite. Neal told us, "Don't be deceived by its approachability, however, since there is excellent concentration which, in similar years, has proven to carry these wines in a state of perpetual youthful vigor for two decades or more."
Ferrando's total production is minisucle, the majority being comprised of the White Label. We don't really know the exact numbers for the Black Label, but it has to be seriously small. If this wine is not inexpensive (and it isn't), still, given the quality, rarity and sheer labor involved, there is much value to be had here. Especially when you consider the wines of little merit that scurry easily through the marketplace for no other reason than their labels say "Barolo" and "Barbaresco" (don't forget their price tags often say $100+).
For collectors and those with the desire to track this wine over the next decade, we strongly encourage taking advantage of 4-pack pricing. These wines only gain in interest and complexity in the cellar. In his book, Reflections of a Wine Merchant, Rosenthal wrote of a 1964 Black Label that hit its apogee in 1998 - at 34 years of age.
Due to the small quantities available, all orders are subject to confirmation. To order, reply to this email or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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Black Label Arrives Next Week