Luigi Ferrando (1.5 L) 2016 'Etichetta Bianca' (Nebbiolo), Carema DOC
Item Number: 14501
Sub Region: Alto Piemonte
Appellation/AVA: Carema DOC
Estate Grown Wine: Yes
Grape(s): 100% Nebbiolo
Type: Wine - Red
Bottle Size: 1.5 L
Viticulture: Practicing Biodynamic
Wine Notes: Ferrando’s white label Carema is arguably the most gorgeously elegant expression of Nebbiolo in existence, and this 2016 is a textbook version. Full of driving, kinetic energy, it presents a lifted and linear palate at this youthful stage which should broaden with bottle age, as well as an intoxicating blast of high-toned spices and mountain herbs. Never an overwhelmingly powerful wine, Etichetta Bianca derives its sense of structure more from its acid-fruit tension than its tannins. That is particularly the case with this 2016. Fermented in stainless steel without temperature control and using only indigenous yeast, it spent three full years in a blend of large Stockinger botti and smaller well-used French barriques.
Vintage Notes: Compared to the broad, authoritative 2015 vintage, the 2016 Etichetta Bianca is sprightlier and more vivacious, though certainly with notable concentration. A cooler growing season led to a relatively late harvest, and Roberto and Andrea commenced picking on October 20th, pulling in fruit of classically vigorous acidity. Indeed, 2016 is a more uniquely Alpine vintage than its richer predecessor with ripe, sweet fruit, rippling tension, and excellent structure.
Producer Notes: Luigi Ferrando has long been the leading producer of wines from the Canavese region where his family’s winemaking tradition goes back to 1900. The histories of Rosenthal Wine Merchant and the village of Carema have been intertwined since January of 1980, when Neal purchased a small lot of wine from Luigi Ferrando—the very first wine he ever imported. Over the ensuing decades, Ferrando’s Carema has gone from a wine virtually unknown outside of its immediate vicinity to one of the most iconic wines of Italy, revered by enthusiasts across the United States and well beyond, and allocated down to the bottle. In one of the most moving moments in RWM’s history, Neal was made an honorary citizen of the village of Carema last March!
Terroir Notes: Nestled on terraces above the small village of Carema, in the shadows of Monte Bianco, the mere 17 hectares of vineyards that comprise the appellation are just about the most northern climate for the Nebbiolo grape. The vineyards of Carema are traditionally trained on pergola to give the grapes maximum exposure to the sun, and the majority of the vineyards are placed on small terraces which climb the steep mountain slopes that majestically rise above the village. It is a stunning place, making it immediately clear to anyone who makes the pilgrimage to these vineyards that this is a special environment for producing wine. The amount of work put into constructing the terraces and pergola alone are a testimony to its quality. The difficulty of reaching the higher vineyard sites and working on small, steep terraces means that the costs for growing the Nebbiolo grape here are 50% more expensive than those in Barolo. No reasonable human would go to such agricultural extremes unless there was a payoff at the end. The Ferrando family is the only producer to grow and vinify its own wine in this appellation (the only other wine is made by the local co-op).