Italy, Capezzana, Tenuta di Capezzana

Feb 28, 2014
2014 / March 2014

About 12 miles northwest of Florence, within the Tuscan district of Carmignano, lies the village of Capezzana, where unearthed parchments show wine was produced as early as 804. Capezzana is still producing wine, notably at the winery Tenuta di Capezzana, named after its village and owned by the Contini Bonacossi family since the 1920s. Today it is run by the family’s third and fourth generations.

Like Chianti, its neighbor, the major grape in Carmignano is Sangiovese. Beyond that, their winemaking parts ways. While many Tuscan wineries began adding Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux grapes to their Sangiovese in the 1970s, calling their product Super Tuscan, Carmignano’s vintners have been blending in Cabernet Sauvignon for 450 years. Add Merlot here, Syrah there and occasionally the Italian Canaiolo grape, and that is the base of Capezzana’s wines.

In a recent tasting of her family’s wines, third-generation Beatrice Contini Bonacossi sampled Trefiano Riserva ($55), a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Canaiolo, an easy-drinking wine with fine acidity and excellent balance; the inviting Sessanta ($75), a 100 percent Merlot from a single vineyard; and Ghiaie della Furba ($55), which combines Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot for a mouth-filling wine.

She then moved on to five vintages of the winery’s flagship label, Villa di Capezzana, wines noted for their amazing structure and acidity, major reasons for their ability to age long and well. The youngest of the five, 2008 ($30), is 80 percent Sangiovese and 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, a blend that makes a rich, well-structured wine with an aroma of dark berries and spice; a delicious, intriguing choice.

Ten years older, Villa di Capezzana 1998 ($150) remains well-knit, well-made and recognizable as a relative of the 2008. Jump back another 10 years to 1988 ($280) and this Riserva remains remarkably fresh for its age. Villa di Capezzana 1977 Riserva ($350) is beginning to show some age in its nose and color but retains a fine body, taste and aftertaste. We finished with Villa di Capezzana Riserva 1968, 46 years old and pale in color but still a firm, fascinating wine that does not bow to age. There is no price to give for this 1968 because there is none left to buy.

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