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:
I wonder if the 2011s from Cappellano might turn out like your 1990? The 1967 Barolo certainly can be very good, indeed the bottle I’ve had (double-decanted for 9 hours) was more impressive than a memorable bottle of the 1971.
Just opened the 2012 Barbera Gabutti last night, which demonstrated how Cappellano’s Barbera is special in its own right.
Thanks for the comment. Never had the Cappellano Barbera – I love the good Barberas.