This was a cracking evening to celebrate Eric’s ( aka Mr S / my Barolo Guru) birthday. I am not going to launch into a mass background on Cappellano as that can easily be found on-line (if you’ve got this far you probably know a bit anyhow) and one of the best places for the “nuts and bolts” is the Cappellano section of the finewinegeek.com. We were a team of about eight, all good friends. We were well looked after, downstairs, at Medlar Restaurant on the King’s Road. A few of my earlier Cappellano experiences are captured HERE. We had the wines in flights which are separated out as below:
Cappellano is an old school producer whose wines have taken off in price over the last 18months or so which is both inevitable and a shame to a degree. From Nebbiolo there are now (mid-nighties onwards) just two wines, both Barolos, “Pie Franco” (European rootstock) & “Pie Rupestris” (Amercian rootstock). So off we go:
Barolo 1947, Cappellano – Bright red colour, tar and a little saline, some spice yet very mellow. A little bit of bacon fat (frazzles) shows too. This is really lovely. What a start.
Barolo 1961, Cappellano – Browner, soy, degraded fruit, less precise than the 1947. Has a Bual Madeira-like finish but a shade drier. Not quite at the standard of the 1947 or 1971 but good!
Barolo 1971, Cappellano – Quite pungent, no shrinking violet. Very mellow, bruised iron like fruits, less structure but very easy to enjoy…special!
Barolo 1967, Cappellano – Had a slightly musty nose, spiced then a little metallic and then with a whiff of dry chocolate – not a true bottle. A good one is obviously very much alive.
Barolo 1990, Cappellano – Tomatoes on the nose then that classical 1990 feel (I know no other vintage in Europe that leaves such a stylistic “stamp” on almost all the wines). Lush, deliciously rich wine, iodine and good fruit, more red than black but loose knit structurally. Super.
Barolo Pie Franco 1996, Cappellano – Smokey, caramel, woodsmoke, serious, rich and full, savoury and masculine, has a bovril edge and is slightly strict – in fairness a classic 1996! Good.
Barolo Pie Rupestris 1999, Cappellano – Nose has hints of the wine above. Has a real properness and some grit, a real surprise, if you bought this on release you have a great wine at a crazily low price. Delicious.
Barolo Pie Franco 1999, Cappellano – More easy, which seems odd, has an airy saline character, fuller but with more acidity too, red berry fruit, a confusingly good wine espcially when up against its, theoretically anyway, younger brother above.
Barolo Pie Rupestris 2001, Cappellano – Briney, serious, saline nose with great red fruit, a stunning nose. Palate doesn’t quite live up to the nose but that was always going to be hard to do. Classical.
Barolo Pie Franco 2001, Cappellano – Grip, the nose is muted but the tannin is great and very moreish indeed, this is a chewy wine, a little like Monfortino is when compared to Francia. I have no doubt whatsoever that this is a bit of a star in the making.
Barolo Pie Rupestris 2004, Cappellano – Sadly Corked
Barolo Pie Franco 2004, Cappellano – I like this but it is quite savage, quite full on, very focused and tight, hard to judge which when tasted alongside the 2001 makes good sense.
It was a splendid evening. The wines were great and when you consider that older single bottles can be a tricky area in terms of condition then it was particularly good. Many many thanks to Mr S for his generosity!
A few more images: