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Country of Origin: Italy
Location: Serralunga d'Alba, Piedmont
People: Augusto Cappellano, Owner & Winemaker
Viticulture: Practicing Organic
|Cappellano Barolo Chinato (35.8 proof)||Login||AG 93|
Augusto Cappellano is the fifth generation of the family to produce wine from vineyards in Serralunga d’Alba. His great-grandfather, Filippo, acquired substantial acreage there and, in 1870, established the winery. At his death his son Giovanni, an enologist, continued his father’s work selling their wine to clients from Liguria to Piedmont. Giovanni’s brother, Giuseppe, was a pharmacist who created the family formula for their famous Barolo Chinato, a wine infused with a variety of “medicines.” Giovanni died in 1912 from a tropical fever contracted in Tunisia, perhaps while he was looking for vines that were not susceptible to phylloxera. Giuseppe then retired from his pharmaceutical chores to run the estate, and he decided to sell his grapes to the Gancia company, one of the major wine producers in the Langhe. Giuseppe passed away in 1955. Shortly thereafter, Augusto’s father, Teobaldo, who was born and raised in Eritrea, returned to Serralunga to revive the winery. He rebuilt the image of Cappellano. He also produced once again the extraordinary Barolo Chinato using the ancient family recipe. Augusto has now taken the reins and will place his special mark on the wines of this estate. The estate participates in a group known as Vini Veri, producers who share an ethic about viticulture and viniculture that is as much philosophical as it is about organic farming.
The four hectares of vineyards owned by the Cappellano family are principally in Serralunga d’Alba and are supplemented by a small parcel in the neighboring village of Novello from which Cappellano produces Nebbiolo d’Alba. The vineyards in Serralunga are situated in the Gabutti cru, which is on the western slopes of Serralunga at an altitude of approximately 300 meters. The land is farmed according to organic principles. The production of the wine is accomplished following the credo of Vini Veri: indigenous yeasts are relied upon, the use of sulfur is strictly limited, vinification is traditional (long fermentation, extended aging in large, old botti) and the wine is not filtered prior to bottling. The Barolo Chinato is produced by following the family recipe handed down generation to generation. The “medicinal” herbs and spices are ground using a stone mortar and pestle. Both the recipe and the process are family secrets.
"Augusto Cappellano's 2016s and 2017s are fabulous. The 2016s are every bit as magnificent as they were last year. In 2016, the personalities of the wines seem a bit inverted, with the Franco showing more power and the Rupestris leaning towards the ethereal side. With the 2017s, the wines go back to their respective roles. The Franco is elusive and beguiling, while the Franco is quite intense. Both 2017s are nothing short of magnificent. It's shame to not have tasted these Barolos at the winery, but, as I have written before, the lack of context actually serves to show just how special the wines are. Years ago, Baldo Cappellano asked me not to rate his wines, so all Cappellano wines show up on our database as NR."
"I had an opportunity to taste a number of Barolos on my most recent visit with Augusto Cappellano. The 2014s come across as delicate and a touch fragile, which is how they showed from cask. It will be interesting to see if the wines acquire a bit more body in aging. My impression is that they will always be on the lighter side of things. Because the skins were thin, Cappellano opted for fairly short fermentations, with no submerged-cap maceration, which he carries out only in exceptional years in which the skins are thick. On a personal level, there are few Barolos I enjoy reaching for more in the cellar than those of Augusto Cappellano. These remain some of the most compelling Barolos readers will come across. As always, Cappellano asks that his wines not receive numerical ratings. That hasn't stopped these wines from being as scarce as scarce gets, even in local shops."
Serious Eats: Barolo Chinato - The Ultimate Italian After-Dinner Drink
The New York Times: An Invigorating End to Thanksgiving
McDuff's Food & Wine Trail: True Wine - Cappellano, Serralunga d'Alba
Decanter.com: Cult Barolo producer Teobaldo Cappellano dies