I have been drinking the Carmignano from Tenuta di Capezzana for over 35 years and it has always been of one my favorite wines. The first time I understood the wine and how well it aged was when the late Count Ugo Bonacossi and his wife Contessa Lisa, the owners of the winery, came to dinner at my home. The year was 1985 and the Count brought a bottle of 1925 “Carmignano” which was labeled Chianti Montalbano. The reason for the label was that Carmignano D.O.C. was not recognized until 1975, thanks to the efforts of count Ugo, retroactive to 1969.
The 1925 was wonderful and showed almost no signs of age. Since that dinner, I have had a number of older bottles of the Carmignano here and some at the winery and enjoyed them all.
Recently, Beatrice Buonacossi, the daughter of the Count was in NYC and invited me to a tasting and lunch of wines going back to 1968. I have known Beatrice for a number of years now and she is one of my favorite people in the wine business. I told Beatrice about the 1925 Carmignano and she said that they had opened a bottle recently and it was still in great condition!
Before we tasted the wines Beatrice spoke about the winery today. She said that it was a family affair and four of the seven children of the Count run the estate. She said that Capezzana is situated in northern Tuscany, near the town of Carmignano, 20km from Florence on the slopes of Montalbano close to the Apennine Mountains, and that the winery accounts for over 50% of all the Carmignano produced.
She also said that the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon to make Carmignano dates to the 16th century and the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon coincides with the marriage of Catherine de Medici to the King of France. The Medici used the area as their personal hunting grounds. Since that time Carmignano has been a blend of Sangiovese and a dash of Cabernet. The winery uses sustainable practices, pending organic certification in 2015.
Villa Di Capezzana Carmignano D.O.C.G 2008 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The vines have a South-South West Exposure. Soil type and harvest are the same as is the vinification except that the malolactic fermentation is in French oak. The wine is aged in barriques and tonneaux for 15 months and at least 10 months in bottle before release. $30
With the 1997 vintage I believe they did away with the Riserva label, the use of Canaiolo, and botti. Barriques and tonneaux were introduced and the oak was now French -Allier.
Villa Capezzana Carmignano 1998 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was aged for 12 months in 350-liter tonneaux and another 16 months in bottle before release. $150
With the 1997 vintage I believe they did away with the Riserva label, the use of Canaiolo, and big Slovenian oak barrels called botti. Barriques and tonneaux were introduced and the oak was now French -Allier
Villa Capezzana Riserva Carmignano 1988 70% Sangiovese, 15% Canaiolo and 5% complimentary grapes. The wine was aged in for 24 months in botti of 23 hectoliters made from Slovenian oak and 12 months in bottle before release.$280
Villa Capezzana Riserva Carmignano 1977 65% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Canaiolo and 10% complimentary grapes. Vinification, same as above.
Villa Capezzano Riserva Carmignano 1968 65% Sangiovese 10% Cabernet Sauvignon,15% Canaiolo and 10% complimentary grapes. Aged 24 months in botti of 25 hectoliters of Slovenian oak and 24 months in bottle before release. $350
They also make a wonderful extra virgin olive oil $55 and there is a cooking school on the property which was founded by Contessa Lisa.
More on the lunch and the other Capezzana wines another time.