09 January 2012

n.d.p. in piemonte: cantina dei produttori di nebbiolo di carema

A.K.A. The other Carema, the one not made by Luigi Ferrando.

My friends and I were passing one more night in Switzerland on our way back to Paris. So on the road north from Monforte through Carema country we thought it might make for an interesting pit stop to visit the Cantina dei Produttori di Nebbiolo di Carema, whose wines none of us had tried. They have a U.S. importer - Doug Polaner - but neither my friend J nor I could recall having ever seen the wines for sale there.

Luigi Ferrando's sterling reputation as a producer of quality high-altitude Nebbiolo is partially defined in opposition to his neighbors involved in this cooperativo, so our expectations weren't exactly sky-high. Also, there was a huge lumpy novelty bottle outside of the tasting room, making the place look like some kind of Alpine saloon.

It was midday, we still had some driving to do: for these reasons we just kind of poked around and tasted the basic Carema and the Riserva, though the cantina also produces a white from Erbaluce and a rosé, the latter presumably from Barbera and Nebbiolo, with perhaps some Freisa.

J and I had the same reaction to the reds: hey, I'd glass-pour this. These were pleasant, reasonably classic basic Nebbioli, leaner and more perfumed than a Langhe Rosso, yet without overwhelming personality. For six euros a bottle, it's kind of a steal, if one happens to be passing through.

The gruff mustacchioed fellow who opened the tasting room for us seemed to take us for Alpine tourists looking for souvenirs, a demographic from whom I suppose we were in effect no different. I did not feel I'd get anywhere asking about average yields or fermentation lengths, so I didn't.

Across the road at a local ice cream parlor café they poured the Carema by the glass.

I found it all very baffling - my usual reaction to human settlement in isolated areas, but perhaps to a higher degree here. How is it that among all the growers of Carema - there are 45 in the Cantina cooperativo - no one has thought to emulate the success of Luigi Ferrando's wines in fine Italian restaurants? Judging by the decent quality standard of the Cantina's not-especially-sophisticated operation, the raw material is there. It just doesn't sell when packaged like jug wine for European sporting events. At a time when demand for Ferrando's Carema has pushed wholesale prices in the states well into the thirty dollar range, how has no one in the Italian wine industry stepped in to peel a few growers away from the Cantina to start a more quality-conscious upmarket operation?

Were the Ferrandos really the only natives here with an ounce of ambition or savoir-faire? What are the rest of you doing with your free time? Skiing?

Cantina dei Produttori di Nebbiolo di Carema
Via Nazionale 32
10010 Carema
Tel: +39 0125811160

Related Links:

N.D.P. in Piemonte: Alessandro e Gian Natale Fantino, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Osteria dell'Unione, Treiso, then Bruno Giacosa, Neive
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Cascina delle Rose, Barbaresco
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Saint Peter's Country Chapel
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Stefano Bellotti & Cascina degli Ulivi, Novi Liguri
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Trattoria della Posta, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: G.D. Vajra, Vergne
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Giorgio Barovero, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Case della Saracca, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Walter Porasso at Bovio, La Morra
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Vinoteca Centro Storica, Serralunga
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Roberto Conterno, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: La Cantinetta, Barolo
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Francesco Rinaldi e Figli, Barolo
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Capella di Sol Lewitt, La Morra
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Osteria La Salita, Monforte d'Alba
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Solativo Vinosteria, Ivrea
N.D.P. in Piemonte: Luigi Ferrando, Ivrea

A profile of the Cantina dei Produttori di Nebbiolo di Carema @ PolanerSelections
Some tasting notes on the 2006 Carema @ DerKellermeister, who somehow paid $21 for his bottle but then says he was intending to use it for a roast. Who the hell pays $21 for cooking wine?

A profile of Luigi Ferrando @ MadRose

1 comment:

  1. Alas, I'm afraid your final paragraph holds the answer. Except maybe for the skiing part.

    I'm pretty sure I've had the basic Carema by the glass somewhere. Helpful information, I know. ;-)