Category Archives: Carmignano

Capezzana- Part II

Two weeks ago I wrote about the Carmignano from the Capezzana winery in Tuscany. I have a long history with their wines going back to the 1925 vintage. But that was only half of the story. Here are a few more of the wines from Capezzana which I enjoyed over lunch with Beatrice Bonacossi, an owner of the winery.  IMG_3821

Barco Reale Di Carmignano D.O.C. 2010 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon,10% Canaiolo and 5% Cabernet Franc
The vines are between 150 and 200 meters and the exposure is South-South West and South East. Soil composition is clay schist and limestone. The harvest starts in the beginning of September with the Sangiovese and ends in the middle of October with the Cabernet. Whole grape bunches are pressed and fermented, maceration takes place under strictly controlled temperatures with initial fermentation occurring in stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in oak barrels for six months and at least three months in bottle before release. Beatrice said that this was a baby Carmignano, the only difference is the vinification in that these grapes undergo less skin contact and a shorter period of aging. She added that the Barco Reale was their everyday drinking wine. $15

Trefiano Carmignano D.O.C.G. 2007 80% Sangiovese, 10 Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% CanaioloIMG_3823

Made from 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon,5%Cabernet Franc and 10% Canaiolo. In 1994 Beatrice’s brother, Vittorio Contini Bonacossi, asked his father Count Ugo for permission to make his own experimental wine. Vittorio wanted to make an easy drinking but complex wine.

He chose the grapes from the Trefiano vineyard surrounding the family’s 16th century Villa Trefiano. The vineyard is at 200 meters, the soils clay schist and limestone and the exposure is south-southwest. The harvest takes place the end of September and the beginning of October. Beatrice said that he reduced yields and introduced small 350 liter Allier barrels for vinification. The vinification of this wine is the same as for the Carmignano D.O.C.G. but it is aged longer. Individual lots remain in barrel for 16 months prior to blending and then in bottle for 18 months before release. $55

Sausages with Grapes for Lunch

Sausages with Grapes for Lunch

Ghiaie della Furba I.G.T. 2007 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Syrah.IMG_3825

The vineyards are at 200 meters with a south-south west exposure and the soil is clay schist and limestone. Harvest takes place the end of September and the beginning of October. Hand picked grapes are pressed and fermented, then macerated under strictly controlled temperatures. The initial alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks, followed by malolactic fermentation in French oak.  The wine is aged in barriques for 16 months and at least 12 months in bottle before release. The wine was first produced in 1979 and Cabernet Franc was in the blend (it was a classic Bordeaux blend).  In 1992 Cabernet Franc was eliminated and more Cabernet Sauvignon was put into the blend.  Finally in 1998 Syrah was added to the mix.

Beatrice said that the name of the wine is a reference to pebbles in the bed of a stream named Furba on the property. $55

Vin Santo Riserva D.O.C.G. 2006 90% Trebbiano and 10% San ColombanoIMG_3809

Beatrice said that the San Colombano is a late-ripening, heritage grape, very rare today, but prevalent in blends in the 18th century. The soil is clay schist and the harvest takes place at the beginning of September. The grapes are hand picked into baskets lined with grape leaves and only the best bunches are chosen. The grapes are dried on mats until February/March becoming almost raisin-like. The wine is then fermented and aged in separated 40 to 50 lots, mostly in 100 liter caratelli. Most of the barrels are made of chestnut and cherry wood, the wood for these barrels are grown on the property, accenting Capezzana’s special terroir even more. Beatrice said that her sister Benedetta Contini Bonacossi especially likes to use chestnut wood for this dessert wine. There are a few barrels made from a combination of chestnut, cherry maple and oak. Beatrice said that for her sister, making this wine is a labor of love and you can hear it in her voice when she speaks about the wine. The wine is aged for 5 years and then another 3 months in bottle before release. $55 for a 375 ml bottle.


Filed under Capezzana, Carmignano, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine, Vin Santo

Capezzana Carmignano: A Wine for the “Ages”

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.

Beatrice Bonacossi

Beatrice Bonacossi

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.

We began with a tasting of Carmignano from 2008 to 1968.  IMG_3817

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. $30IMG_3812

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.$280IMG_3804

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

All the wines were showing very well, I saved some of the older wines to have with lunch.IMG_3808

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.


Leave a comment

Filed under Capezzana, Carmignano, Italian Red Wine, Italian Wine