2021 Ferrando, Nebbiolo Canavese "Praj"
2021 Ferrando, Nebbiolo Canavese "Praj"

2021 Ferrando, Nebbiolo Canavese "Praj"

Piedmont, Italy 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$42.00

2021 Ferrando, Nebbiolo Canavese "Praj"

The wines of Luigi Ferrando are well known to the SommSelect faithfull. From humble Erbaluce to his iconic “White Label” and “Black Label Riserva,” this legendary stalwart of traditional winemaking in Carema was instrumental in putting Alto Piemonte front and center in the minds of Nebbiolo lovers. And today we have the distinct pleasure of introducing a brand new wine from the Ferrando family: “Praj.” This is a single vineyard wine, sourced from vines growing on a steep slope just outside of the Carema DOCG zone. With classic aromatics of spiced cherries, roses, and tar plus that silky, mineral driven mountain wine magic, this bold addition to the line up offers much of the same complexity as the estate’s top wines for about half the price. And it has the added bonus of freshness and accessibility. No need to cellar this beauty, just pop the cork and you can immediately revel in the joys of Alpine Nebbiolo!

The Ferrando family has been producing wine in the remote Northwestern Italian village of Carema since 1900, but it is Luigi Ferrando who has worked tirelessly over the past five decades to make this small estate one of Piedmont’s finest. Today Luigi is joined by his sons Roberto and Andrea, and work continues much as it has for the past century. The Ferrando team works tirelessly on the steep slopes, strewn with jagged rocks, doing everything by hand as mechanization is impossible in these conditions. The wines of Carema and Alto Piemonte in general were almost unheard of in the U.S. until importer Neal Rosenthal started bringing some Ferrando into the NY tri-state area in 1980. Fast forward 40 years and the eponymous “Etichetta Bianco” and “Etichetta Nero” are now arguably the most sought after Nebbiolo wines outside of the Barolo/Barbaresco zone.

The holdings of the Ferrando estate are essentially split between the parcels of Nebbiolo growing in the steep amphitheater like DOCG of Carema, and their vines that are further down the slope on the plains and hills of the Canavese appellation. Here they focus on the white grape Erbaluce, making still, sparkling, and late harvest wines, as well as an easy going red blend that combines valley Nebbiolo with Barbera and Neretta. Those two appellations have been the focus for generations, but until 2021 there was never a wine that fell in between the regal, cellar necessary Carema bottles, and the soft, everyday table wines of Canavese. Enter “Praj,” a 100% Nebbiolo that is sourced from a steep vineyard that falls in the Canavese zone but shares many similarities with the vineyards of Carema.

Indeed the word “Praj” translates to “steep” in the local dialect, and that combined with the same hard, granitic soil that was pushed down slope by Alpine glaciers over many millennia translates to an expression that mimics the aromatic complexity of Carema, but because it is lower in elevation the wine can be more approachable in its youth. With that in mind the Ferrando clan gives the fruit a 15 day maceration and fermentation in stainless steel tanks before aging in neutral 500 liter barrels for 12 months (as compared to 24-36 for the Carema bottlings). But just because it is more accessible younger does not mean it isn’t a seriously great Nebbiolo! As such, serve in large Burgundy stems after a brief decant to fully unlock its aromatic intensity. A nose of spiced red cherries, wild strawberries, dried roses, graphite, blood orange zest, porcini, and damp earth leads to a lively, medium bodied palate that has just a hint of tannic grip and savory, mineral finish. Serve with a range of hearty pastas or roasted meats such as duck or game. This is a fantastic value in serious yet seriously drinkable Nebbiolo, stock up!

2021 Ferrando, Nebbiolo Canavese "Praj"

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