My Answer Is: Carema - 09 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Bianca

Posted by Joe Salamone

"My Answer Is: Carema"
2009 Ferrando Carema
Etichetta Bianca

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

There's a huge disconnect between the size of Carema and its outsized fan club.

Year after year, Ferrando's Carema White Label sells out before they have any chance of making it on to the shelf.

And now things just got worst... Ferrando is currently replanting their vineyards and the quantities available have fallen precipitously and naturally prices have jumped a bit.

It's a difficult thing to witness; Ferrando's Carema has been a core Crush wine from the start.

Regardless, it's impossible not to be excited about whatever we can score. 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!

The reason for Rosenthal's love is simple: Carema is alpine Nebbiolo of breathtaking grace. There's plenty of reason to be excited about the 2009 vintage. Riper vintages, like 09 always give the wine an extra dimension, without sacrificing at all the mountain lake freshness of this wine.

Each smell and taste seems to reveal something new - there’s a cinnamon-tinged cherry fruit, crushed rock, pomegranate, roses and hints of smoke. All of this is wrapped around silken tannins, an energetic streak of acidity and a surprising flavor impact.

Ferrando's 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.

As I mentioned earlier, there's just not much of the 2009 Carema. We're sneaking this offer on a Saturday so it doesn't attract that much attention. Still, we know Ferrando's Carema people will come out in full force. Let us know how many bottles you'd like and we'll do our best.

To order, reply to or call the store at (212) 980-9463.

Joe Salamone
Wine Buyer
Crush Wine & Spirits

2009 Ferrando Carema
Etichetta Bianca