After four days in the Piedmont, I scheduled three days in Pont St. Martin/Carema, where Nebbiolo is grown on terraces sculpted out of steep mountain slopes bordering Val d'Aosta. I went because I love the red wines of Carema, and they are very hard to find in the United States because only about 55,000 bottles are available for the whole world to enjoy.
Ferrando is the top producer of Carema; the other one is the cooperative, which also produces excellent ageworthy wines. The top wine of the cooperative is the Riserva but I was also impressed by the Carema Classico, which sells for about $12. Tasted over three nights, this inexpensive Carema seemed fruity and somewhat straightforward on the first night, then filled out and developed a great deal of complexity over the following days. I suspect it will age for at least a decade, maybe two.
Lunch at a small restaurant near the cooperative was another occasion for drinking the Carema Classico. Like many local establishments, the restaurant had no menu and not even a blackboard list of dishes and prices. When the waitress started giving us choices for a four-course lunch, I had visions of an enormous tab but thought, "what the heck." The food was fantastic, servings were large and the wine got better and better. When the bill finally arrived, the total cost, food and wine for two, was $35!