Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Carema, almost alpine red wine zone of piemonte in north-west Italy, bordering on the Valle d’aosta, is the northernmost zone of Piemonte in which the great nebbiolo is cultivated (although see also valtellina). Viticulture is not an easy task in this mountainous region, and the tendone-trained vineyards have been wrested from steep gradients by means of terraces at 350 to 700 m (1,150 to 2,300 ft).

The wine itself has a recognizably Nebbiolo character, with higher acidity and less body than the wines of the Langhe or than the group described in spanna. Although chaptalization has often been allowed, interesting, perfumed, and surprisingly long-lived wines are regularly made in the warmer vintages, which are becoming more frequent thanks to climate change. Improved viticultural practices and lower yields have also helped to produce wines with more extract. Carema’s total vineyard area was just 16 ha/40 acres in 2014, supplying a tiny handful of producers. Ferrando, founded in 1890, saved the doc from obscurity thanks to its legendary Carema Etichetta Nera, a 100% Nebbiolo aged for three years in cask and produced in only the best vintages. The estate still possesses vintages going back to the 1950s as proof of Carema’s longevity. Newcomer Dazero is one to watch. The minimum ageing period has been reduced from four to two years, oak or chestnut.