2007 Luigi Ferrando “La Torrazza” Canavese Rosso Ivrea Italy $16.99
Suggested retail price $14-$17
Imported by Rosenthal Wine Merchant
Luigi Ferrando has long been the leading winemaker of the Canavese where his family's winemaking tradition goes back to 1900. He has strong ties to his local region. His attachment and commitment run deep, and have led him to collaborate with other winemakers and academics. They are responsible for discovering and preserving local winemaking traditions that might otherwise have been lost. His sons, Roberto and Andrea, now work with him on the estate, thereby assuring the continuation of the Ferrando tradition.
Technically speaking, the Canavese is part of Piedmont. Its location near the Val d'Aosta (north western part of Italy), famous for its steep terraced vineyards, imparts a distinctive quality to the wines. The Ferrandos painstakingly cultivate their Nebbiolo vineyards on the mountainside terroir of Carema, in the very shadows of Monte Bianco. The resulting wine is very different than its more famous cousins from Barolo or Barbaresco and is sought after by connoisseurs for its finesse, complexity, and longevity. Their other vineyard holdings are lower, on the plains and hills of the Canavese region (in and around the village of Caluso). In this unbelievable décor, they raise some interesting local grape varieties, and are particularly known for their Erbaluce di Caluso, an ancient white grape originally form the alpine foothills of upper Piedmont. It has a bright acidity, an elegant underlying minerality, and an overall structure that makes it the ultimate flexible wine: producing everything from sparkling wine, through bone-dry, off-dry, and late harvest wines.
Strict respect for tradition combined with a thorough knowledge of modern oenology gives Ferrando's wine the unmistakable typicity and quality that has won them fame worldwide. The wines offered by Ferrando reflect the diversity of the Canavese region. From lovely, light spumante to rich full passito and full-bodied reds. Oak is used with discretion in the reserve levels wines. The natural concentration and complexity comes from the vineyard.
They produce a few different types of wine. The whites are made entirely form the Erbaluce grape grown in different vineyards. The spumante is very special, made from Erbaluce and aged in the bottle for 18 months, in the champagne tradition. The Canavese Rosso ("Montodo") is produced predominantly from Nebbiolo with the addition of approximately 30% Barbera. The noble Carema is 100% Nebbiolo. The Carema "Etichetta Bianca" (white label) is aged for a minimum of four years, of which at least two are spent in barrel (a combination of large and small). The Carema "Etichetta Nera" (black label) is vinified and aged in similar fashion, but is only produced in exceptional years, and is exposed to a touch more small barrel aging (some new). The "Solativo" is a late harvest wine made form Erbaluce grapes selected from the Cascina Cariola vineyard in iverone which is fermented and aged in small oak barrels. The fabled Erbaluce di Calauso Passito is the traditional late harvest wine of this region, also produced in the cascina Cariola vineyard, harvested late, and then the grapes are left to "raisin" until March when they are crushed and fermented. This rare wine is then aged for four years before release. All these wines are great and deserve to be better known.
From their selection, my choice of this month is: 2007 Ferrando “La Torrazza” Canavese Rosso is a blend of 45% Nebbiolo, 45% Barbera and 10% of Croatina and Freisa. The robe is light, clean, bright cherry-ruby. Quite complex and inviting, the nose exhibits notes of bright cherry, earth, floral, smoke, minerals, spice, touch of leather and very integrated oak, and light hints of eucalyptus. The palate is light to medium bodied, with great acidity and earthiness, flavors of bright red cherry intermingled with smoke, minerals, earth, forest floor, game. The wine is focus, esoteric, somewhat rustic, and finishes with a light green tannic touch. Great with venison, rabbit stew, and soft chesse, it is definitely a nice discovery in this price range from, here again, a region very often overlooked.