The Rare Wines of Tuscany's Il Carnasciale

The Cult of Caberlot

In today’s wine-thirsty cyberspace it is rare you come across something totally new and unique, a wine made from a grape variety you did not know existed and even less likely that it could be considered one of its country’s great wines. Introducing the cult that has become Il Carnasciale:

In the 1960s Remigio Bordini discovered a unique clone growing in Veneto, a vine clearly from the Cabernet family that also betrayed distinctive Merlot traits. Wolf and Bettina Rogosky were looking for something special to grow on their tiny 2.5ha Tuscan estate 420 meters above sea level, and this Cabernet Franc / Merlot mutation, known as Caberlot, was the perfect fit. The first plantings were made in 1985 and the first wine was made in 1988, but barely a decade later Wolf sadly died. However, his wife Bettina, their son Moritz and winemaker Peter Schilling have since ensured great success for the estate, earning Il Carnasciale a cult following.

Stylistically, the wine is far from being “Super Tuscan.” Delicacy and freshness is favoured over power and body. After fermentation the wines are aged for 22 months in 70% new Burgundian oak barriques. The blend for the second wine, Carnasciale, is then finalised, bottled and released, whilst the Caberlot, also then bottled, is kept in the cellars for a further 18 months. The winemaking is sensitive and allows the dry, rocky, windy terroir of Il Carnasciale to reverberate through the wines. Though as elegant as these are, they do not lack intensity, something that a very refined and youthful 1989 tasted at the estate last year will attest to.