CAPEZZANA of CONTE CONTINI BONACOSSI
SPRING TASTINGS this year ran frequently and with great intensity. It seemed like every body was in town showing their wares and wines from every part of the globe. It was a real task to fit them all in, especially if the wine maker had taken time to make the trip to the North American market. One of the many highlights was a visit from Daniel Edwards, the sales and marketing co-ordinator for the house of Capezzana. Daniel, formerly of the hotel and restaurant industry in his native England, found himself vacationing in a house next to the family estate of Carmignano Tuscany and the rest is history.
I encountered the wines of Capezzana when the entry level Barco Reale wine was in the LCBO vintages, some 6-7years ago. Barco Reale is for all intents and purposes the original and first 'DOC' of Italy, and is arguably one the first appellation that applied the use of the Cabernet grape then called Cabernet Francesi, as a required component to the Sangiovese based wines of the zone. As a student of Italian wines I was much intrigued, I had done my readings on the wines and today was a great opportunity to taste and talk about the wines of the famed winery. Note that the estate was once part of the historic and noble family Medici of Tuscany
BARCO REALE a 300 year history of wine.
History has it that the Grand Duke Cosimo III of the Medici (17th century) created the 'BANDO' a decree that declared the estate of Barco Reale as a wine zone of utmost quality. The Barco being a 53 km long wall that encloses lands and forests which contain an historical hunting ground, the wineries and vineyards, farms, olive groves and a few small rivers and streams. Situated north of Florence and to the Northwest of the Chianti appellation. The Barco Reale was noted of having superior wines and the Bando ensured that future wine was to continue to be made in particular style and fashion and also traded at a certain value to the highest courts and the greatest tables in all of Europe.
The property today is vast and includes 12OO acres of land on which today you will find the historic Medici Villa, along with 120 farmsteads of different families farming 300 acres of vineyards and 600 acres dedicated to olive groves.
It was in the 1920's that the noble family headed by the Count Contini Bonacossi, acquired the property. The Bonacossi family have been and still are collectors of antique art and textiles from Italy and Spain. The purchase of the estate was both a strategic business move and that of passion. The first bottles under the Contini Bonacossi was in 1925, in a more classic Bordeaux shaped bottle like the one we know today, they abandoned the old style straw covered 'fiasco' which was de rigueur at the time. This wine was 80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon with 1 year in tonneau and 1 year in bottle. Fast forward to the 1970's, with Ugo Contini Bonacossi the 4th generation and we see the foundations for the wines that I would taste today. In 1979, Ugo purchased clippings of Cabernet and Merlot from Ch. Lafite in Bordeaux in order to establish another level of excellence in their wines
5 generations later and the current family members, Benedetta (wine maker), Vittorio (viticulturist), Filipo (olive oil production) and Bertrice (estate and sales manager) share the responsibility of guiding this family run estates towards consistant quality.
Now for the wines.
THE VILLA WINES:
The VILLA di Capezzana is the flagship wine for the Capezzana Estate, the original blend for the wine remains as it was since 1925 comprising of 80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine spends 1 year in tonneau and 1 year in bottle.
2013 Villa di Capezzana : the wine displays layers of earthy dark blue berry fruit and rich red berry fruit, with a nice floral note, bright and lifted giving way to a round and full palate and fine grained tannin. The fruit flavour is a medley of dark blue and red cherry that remains fresh and taut. Given some time the wine will show it's true colours and flavours.
2007 Villa di Capezzana : this vintaged wine has evolved to present the same lovely floral and earthy tones I found in the '13, though with dried yet bright blue and red fruit, now add mushroom and a nice herbal sage aroma. The palate is soft and textured with dusty tannin and a chocolate powder like finish.
TREFIANO VILLA ESTATE WINE
TREFIANO RISERVA wine was first produced in 1979, from a single plot on a 4 hectare vineyard located on the 'Trefiano' Villa estate, not far from the main 'Villa' property and vineyard. This is a 'handcrafted' wine of 80% Sangiovese with 10% each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo, that spends 16 month in tonneaux and 1 year+ in bottle. This wine has principally been made for the family and the following generations to collect and age.
2012 Trefiano Riserva : is charming with rustic and pleasant bright fruit aroma and a floral nature. There is a certain complexity in this wine, that is understated, gentle and yet firm. The palate is seemingly sweet-ish with layers of orange blossom, some toffee and toasted coffee. It is a lovely and harmonious wine.
ALONG THE FURBA RIVER:
GHIAIE DELLA FURBA = the stones along the Furba River. This vineyard is located on a rather flat zone on the estate. In 1979 Vittorio and his father Ugo decided to establish a bonafide Bordeaux blend. The site and the feel of the vineyard was to emulate Bordeaux, the river, gravelly soil adjacent to a stream but of course in Tuscany. With original cuttings of Cabernet and Merlot from the famed Chateau Lafite, the wine today is a powerful combination of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 30% Syrah.
2012 Ghiaie della Furba is pure and floral, with plum candy fruit, spice and touch of vanilla and all the svelte elegance and richness of a luxury wine without the price tag. The palate is very direct with surprisingly lifted with mineral tones that support bigger flavours rich blue fruit coated with buttered chocolate, wood spice and a vibrant pepper spice that is contributed by the Syrah. The tannins are well defined and need some time to settle but the wine gives pleasure today and I can only imagine the future. This wine is fully biodynamic.
The final wine was the 2010 Vin Santo Riserva. A wine of true passion and dedication that is entirely made by the hand of Benedetta, the chief wine maker for the family estate. The wine is 90% Trebbiano and 10% Colombano Bianco. A delightful nectar that begins with a 3-6 month drying of the grapes on bamboo staves in a full terracotta stone chamber with windows. Benedetta by scent and feel will regulate humidity by opening and closing windows. When the grapes have lost nearly 80-90% of volume the grapes are pressed and turned to wine and then aged in 'caratelli', small wooden barrels made of chestnut, oak, and cherry. The barrels are stopped with concrete plugs and will remain this way for 6+ years. The DOC minimum is 5 years. Only 6000 btls are made each vintage and the resulting nectar is sweet and balanced with vibrant acidity, pale gold in colour with that classic caramelized almond and hazelnut flavours, add roasted peach and apricot with salted caramel.
These are the wines of Capezzana : Conte Contain Bonacossi. Some of the wines are already here, the 'Villa' is currently in vintages with the other wines to arrive in late September to early October. Contact Charles Baker at Cru Wine Merchants.