Two years ago the idea of doing an offer on Ferrando Carema seemed impossible given the small allocations. And today, offering the 2014 vintage supplemented with the 1990 and 1964 is, well, extraordinarily exciting for me. Ferrando chose not to bottle Etichetta Nera (black label) in 2014, so all of the estate's prime parcels were added to this overachieving Etichetta Bianca.

Over the last 50 vintages in Piedmont we will find that 1990 and 1964 represent the absolute pinnacles in production. The quantities today are very limited, but they are being made availble now to our mailing list and will not be available on the website

For me, there is no single estate that defines Alto Piemonte like Ferrando Carema.In the region of Canavese, sitting at the foot of Monte Bianco, these terraced vineyards of Carema are planted to Nebbiolo. Here the variety is portrayed with an alpine inflection different from Barolo and Barbaresco, but with a track record of aging that's completely on par.

2014 is a vintage that highlights the alpine freshness of Nebbiolo, giving a clarity and more pure red-fruited quality that captures precisely why Ferrando is the region's benchmark. Etichetta Bianca always drinks well early, but make no mistake, these wines have a backbone that will carry them on for decades without compromising an ounce of vitality.

Ferrando's vines sit in a south-facing amphitheater of slate soils overlooking the Dora Baltea river that runs through the Valle d'Aosta into northewestern Piedmont. Unlike their more famous southern neighbors, vines here are trained high up on pergola, or "Tupin", to harness maximum sunlight. The entirety of the Carema appellation reaches only 16 hectares of plantings, with Ferrando controlling just 2.5.

Ferrando's Etichetta Bianca is comprised of 100% Nebbiolo and is produced each year with aging taking place in large and small barrels, bottling is after 30-36 months aging. Nebbiolo here is more translucent in color than we find further south, but still displaying the variety's inherent tar and roses note, with a brisk alpine streak throughout. The sensation of minerality here is more pronounced because of the alpine elements, but certainly the slate soils conjure that unmistakable finely-crushed rock quality that comes through vividly in regions like the Mosel.

I work with a wide range of importers, but Neal Rosenthal's selections sit in rare company at the top of the list. Neal is famous for his work with producers like Fourrier, Jacques Carillon, Paolo Bea, and Cappellano but his words on Ferrando have always stuck with me, once declaring that if he was given only one wine to drink, it would be Carema. Bottles going back to the late 70's are renowned for their freshness and unparalleled clarity that belie the underlying power.

When Neal began to import European wines to the US in 1980, Ferrando was his very first. At that time Carema was unknown here, and although the following in still relatively small vs. that of Barolo, those who line their cellars with Conterno and Mascarello all know the secret of Alto Piemonte.

Ferrando's Carema bottlings always represent a special occasion for me when opened. They are ethereal, and at the same time deep and saturating on the palate. Looking throughout the images of this alpine appellation I'm reminded this wine can come from nowhere else on earth. It is Nebbiolo is its most singularly delicate and awe-inspiring.

36x 2014 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Bianca 
$83 per bottle.

1x 2013 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Bianca 1.5L
$189 per bottle.  

1x 2010 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Bianca 
$119 per bottle.

3x 1990 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Bianca 
$249 per bottle.

1x 1964 Ferrando Carema Etichetta Nera 3.78L 
$699 per bottle.