We had some friends in town recently who share an interest with us in enjoying delicious wines. So as we enjoyed several fabulous meals and wines together, I planned to pull an old wine out for us to enjoy (hopefully). The bottle was a 1964 Luigi Ferrando Carema White Label that I purchased from The Rare Wine Co about 2 years ago. It turned out to be simply stunning; even better than I had hoped for. The color was mostly browned with maybe a tiny hint of garnet at the core. The nose was magnificent. The essence of aged nebbiolo. Truffle, forest floor, worn leather, dried mint, orange peel, a hint of dried cherry and violet, tobacco, a whiff of tar, a hint of VA. The nose really held up for 2 hours over a leisurely dinner. The palate was just as good. Ethereal and exquisite in its finesse, there was more concentration and richness than I expected. There was plenty of acidity, really no tannins left to speak of, and a beautiful balance. The finish lingered and left traces of the flavors that lasted for over a minute. It was simply a beautiful example of aged nebbiolo. This bottle had bottom neck fill and a nicely sealed cork. Certainly at this age, bottle variation becomes significant, but this particular bottle was stellar.
Carema is a relatively unknown region in the Canavese region (part of the Piedmont) in Italy. It is located near the Valle d’Aosta tucked up into the foothills of Monte Bianco. This is a small region with a small production (around 55 thousand bottles a year total!) The Ferrando family produces wine here as they have for 5 generations. The only other producer in the region is the cooperative of the other local growers. The wines of Carema are 100% nebbiolo. They generally show a more elegant and finessed side of nebbiolo than Barolo or even Barbaresco, yet as this bottle proves, the longevity can be quite similar. If you enjoy nebbiolo, I would highly recommend trying a bottle as the few I’ve had have been excellent.