New Producer: Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano

New Producer: Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano
Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano, situated in the beautiful village of Serralunga d’Alba, might be the best Barolo producer you’ve never heard of.

The Cappellano name has been associated with winemaking in Barolo since the 1870s, however the real history of the estate, as far as modern-day Barolo is concerned, began in the 1970s with the late Teobaldo Cappellano. Striking a deal with Otin Fiorin, the former owner, and whose name now appears on every Cappellano bottle in tribute, ‘Baldo’s’ first purchase was two parcels of vines in Serralunga’s Gabbuti vineyard.

In the early 1990s earthquake damage forced ‘Baldo’ to replant a small plot and, riskily, he opted for the low-yielding Michet clone on original European rootstocks - perhaps the first and only Barolo grower to do so post-phylloxera. The resultant wine became Pie Franco and the established, undamaged vines on American rootstocks (now 70 years old) were hence designated Pie Rupestris.

Winemaking at Cappellano is proudly traditional. Extractions are gentle and maturation is carried out in large casks for four years with minimal racking before bottling without filtration. Their Barolo Chinato is made to an historic family recipe – in this case, a 2010 Barolo base wine, fortified with 96% Grain spirit, steeped in 20 different herbs for a month before pressing and the addition of sugar. It’s a real fireside drink, all winter spices and comfort.

Rupestris 2011 is suave and acquiescent with a beautiful floral nose. It is imbued with vibrant, shimmering red fruits: cherry stones, plums and raspberry, with nuances of blood-orange, tar and camphor. Tight, fine-grained tannins frame the wine, although the overriding feeling is one of mid-palate sweetness, sensuality and pure finesse. Pie Franco tends towards darker fruit; bittersweet cherries, mint, and velvety, compact tannins with more acidity and tension overall - needing more time as a result. Total production is miniscule; just 8000 bottles of Rupestris and a mere 1500 bottles of Pie Franco (equivalent to one cask).

So, how has Cappellano flown under the radar? Well, part of it at least, is down to Baldo’s 1983 stance against wine scores. To this day, now under the direction of his talented son Augusto, the estate never submits wines for review and insists no scores are published, believing it a phenomenon that causes division between growers. Scores or no scores, one thing is for sure; we love these wines and are very excited to be offering them for the first time.

Please note that there is currently no stock available