If there is one wine which completely epitomizes Neal Rosenthal’s taste and love for wine, it is Ferrando Carema. “For us at Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Ferrando Carema is more than a wine; it’s an emblem—a one-wine encapsulation of our history, our aesthetic sensibilities, and our most deeply held values.” No small words. It was the first wine Neal imported in the United States and has for the past thirty plus years continued to be the beating heart for his portfolio.
For those of you who have come to enjoy the Rosenthal portfolio (we have met very few who do not) you would be remiss if you did not experience the very nucleus of his entire book: Ferrando Carema “Etichetta Bianca” or lovingly known simply as the white label. Like all the true greats, Ferrando’s Etichetta Bianca offers an ethereal–some would almost describe mystical–experience that feels familiar and unrecognizable at once. Born from two hectares of steep mountain terraces in the upper Piedmonte, this is Nebbiolo in its most haunting and intriguing form. Our allocation, one of the largest in the country, is still quite small. The 2014 is irresistible and will deeply reward those lucky enough to get it.
2014 Ferrando Carema “Etichetta Bianca”
From Neal Rosenthal: “No single wine in our portfolio is more illustrative of our work than this brilliant rendition of Nebbiolo. The Carema of Ferrando reveals the most elegant and delicate and complex characteristics of the Nebbiolo grape with a surprising capacity to age. We have witnessed this wine at thirty-plus years of age displaying vibrant, seductive qualities that are simply astonishing. The 2014 is nimble, precise, and irresistibly delicious. Carema can be legendarily reticent in its extreme youth (despite an absence of brawny tannins), but this vintage begs to be enjoyed. Still, its bones are there; its soul is strong. It is a wine of relative delicacy, but adamantly not of weakness, and it will certainly make old bones as all great Carema does. Those fortunate enough to obtain a few bottles will possess a stethoscope unto not only the most magical of all Nebbiolo terroirs, but unto the beating heart of Rosenthal Wine Merchant.”
More About the Wine
Many have given the callded the wines born from Carema to be “mountain Barolo” but I believe that to be misleading. If Barolo and the rest of the Langhe is about muscle, then the Nebbiolo from Carema is about nerves. Ferrando’s beloved white label is the polar opposite to the power and drama of Barolo: delicate, agile, subtle and hauntingly aromatic.
The 2014 harvest, while a challenge for the Ferrando family, produced stunning results. Carema by nature is aromatic and elegant, and the result of this cool season which accentuates that has made this wine even more sublime.
It is important to note that while the Ferrandos often make two versions of their Carema—a “white-label” constituting the majority of their production, and a barrel-selection “black label”—there is only but one Carema in 2014. This means you have the added depth and nuance of what normally would be in the reserve barrels in this year’s white. Do we really need to say anymore?
Do not hesitate on one of the most spectacular Italian wines of 2018!