Tasting the Carmignano Wines of Tenuta di Capezzana with Countess Beatrice Contini Bonacossi

ART Capezzana LogoTenuta di Capezzana is an historic wine estate in the small Carmignano appellation in northern Tuscany.  Owned by the Contini Bonacossi family since the 1920s, it is today the preeminent producer of Carmignano, a wine made of Sangiovese with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and other locally grown varieties.  Capezzana owns a large estate (part of the former hunting grounds of the Medici) that includes 247 acres of vineyards and 356 acres of olive groves.  Capezzana has been working towards organic certification of its vineyards, which it expects to receive in 2015.  It will become one of Tuscany’s first certified organic estates.

Bea Contini Bonacossi

Bea Contini Bonacossi

Countess Beatrice Contini Bonacossi, (or “Bea” for short),  family proprietor and international ambassador for Tenuta di Capezzana, was in Washington, DC last week, and we had the opportunity to lunch together and taste her wines at Osteria Morini, a new restaurant in the Navy Yard near the baseball stadium  Bea is one of seven siblings, four of whom are directly involved in the day-to-day operation of the winery. Sister Benedetta Contini has served as winemaker since 1998, and brother Vittorio, a noted agronomist, manages the estate’s vineyards and olive groves.

The wines of Tenuta di Capezzana are traditional in style.  They are notably earthy and meaty, offering aromas and flavors of dark berry fruit with varying degrees of loam, forest floor and herbs.  Fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeast and aged in large format, used and new French oak, they show few signs of modern oaking and more of the Carmignano terroir.  The Villa di Capezzana and Trefiano Riserva are especially intense, richly flavored, complex wines with considerable depth of flavor and elegant mouth feel.   These wines are also clearly age worthy as Tenuta di Capezzana has a special re-corking program for its wines conducted approximately every 20 years dating back to its first vintage in 1925.

Tenuta di Capezzana’s importer is Mionetto USA, Brooklyn NY

The Wines

IMG_3326Capezzana 2012 Monna Nera Rosso di Toscana IGT ($12) 88  This IGT is a blend of 50% Sangiovese, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is a pleasant table wine revealing earthy dark berry fruit with hints of dried plum and herbs. A modest, rustic and traditional-styled wine.
Capezzana 2011 Barco Reale di Carmignano ($15) 89  The Barco Reale is a tasty blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Cabernet, 10% Canaiolo and 5% Cabernet Franc.  It offers aromas of dried dark red berries, roasted meat and loam. Aged for 6 months in barrel, it exhibits good fruit flavors, soft round tannins, and a firm finish.

Capezzana 2008 Villa di Capezzana Carmignano ($30) 91+  The Villa di Capezzana is a magnificent wine rich, elegant and bold in flavor. A blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers concentrated flavors of dried black fruit, licorice and loam. Aged in barrique and tonneaux for 15 months, 1/3 new, followed by 10 months of bottle aging before release, it is drinking beautifully now but should also improve with  age.

Capezzana 2007 Trefiano Riserva Carmignano ($55) 93  The 2007 Trefiano Riserva is an austere, brooding wine with complex and layered aromas and flavors of dried dark red and blackberry fruit, roast meat, spice and earth. A blend of 80% Sangiovese, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Canaiolo, it is an intensely flavored wine with appealing complexity, beautiful balance and a long finish.

Capezzana 2007 Ghiaie della Furba Toscana IGT ($55) 90+  The 2007 Ghiaie della Furba Toscana is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Sangiovese, and 20% Merlot. It exhibits black currant fruit with rich earth and cedar notes. Traditional in style, it shows good restraint in the use of oak and has round tannins and a long finish. It is well done, although the Cabernet Sauvignon defines the wine.

Capezzana 2006 Vin Santo Riserva di Carmignano ($60) 92  This delicious Vin Santo is a blend of Trebbiano and San Colombano. It exhibits a lovely hue of golden amber, revealing ripe apricot, toasted almonds, and caramelized notes. While sweet, it has good balancing acidity and a long, unctuous finish.  A perfect wine to pair with Parmigiano-Reggiano and other cheeses at the end of a meal.

Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler

February 2014

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