Size & Type
The 2013 Barolo Barolo Rupestris is insanely beautiful. Here the flavors are dark and intense. Black cherry, plum, lavender and menthol add to the wine’s sense of gravitas. The 2013 is endowed with serious power and intensity, and yet it has an element of inner sweetness that adds sensuality. In many ways, it reminds me of the 1989, which remains a tremendous Barolo. Powerful, explosive and tannic, the 2013 has much to offer.
Antonio Galloni – NR as per request from Cappellano
Out of stock
The 2013s are just as impressive as they have always been, while the 2012s are marked by a distinct red fruit profile and terrific aromatic freshness. 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.
Augusto Cappellano crafts wine of notable personality and character. A recent tasting back to 1935 (that is not a misprint) reinforced just how special these wines can be, although I should add the vast majority of those wines were made by Cappellano’s late father and grandfather. I will report on that tasting very soon. In the meantime, the 2012 and 2013 vintages are both strong here. The 2012s are softer wines that should drink well with only minimal cellaring, while the 2013s will need more time. In 2013 Cappellano opted for shorter fermentations than normal and little or no post-fermentation maceration because the skins were fragile. The 2013s are brilliant, understated Barolos built for cellaring. Since 2012, Cappellano has reduced the amount of time his wines spend in cask by a year in order to preserve greater freshness. Sadly, production remains tiny. Cappellano prefers that his wines not receive numerical ratings, hence their absence here.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous
The great deeds are not accomplished when sober
Heresy, challenge to homologation, return to the origins. In the second half of the 1980s, Teobaldo Cappellano put into practice what many regarded as folly, namely the decision to grow in the Gabutti vineyards some rows of ungrafted nebbiolo Michet, the system in use before the adoption of American graft after the diffusion of the Phylloxera. A “backwards evolution” to borrow Teobaldo’s own words, guided by the desire to somehow return to the true Barolo and to the idea of purity; but also, a homage to grandfather Giovanni who spent the final years of his life in Africa trying to understand whether the adoption of the new system was inevitable and in search of vines resistant to the new terrible parasite. Many bet on the failure of the enterprise, persuaded as they were that the Phylloxera would quickly attack the ungrafted vines: instead, those rows are still there, intact and healthy, proud as a hymn to bravery and utopia. Their gift is an “irregular” Barolo, seductive, of extraordinary complexity and intensity, which conveys the unmistakable imprinting of the Serralunga territory, without posturing and magic tricks.
Tradition noun Latin traditio -onis, literally «delivery, transmission», derived from Latin tradĕre «to hand over, deliver»]
During the years we have been sometimes added, for various reasons, to the ranks of the “traditionalists”. We believe that this definition is a limit only when it is associated with the deceptive term of “conservatives”. We do not reject it ‒ rather, we lay claim to it ‒ in its true meaning of delivery and transmission of lore and practices, indispensable values for progress and for that sort of “backwards evolution” my father loved to talk about.
In practice, these values translate into an activity respectful of the land and of its offerings: in the vineyard we work with an organic methodology (copper, sulphur in different ways, and no pesticides), in the cellar we limit our interventions to the minimum by reproducing exactly what the elder generations used to do, only with more refined tools.
The basic concept is that of ‘delicacy’, from the grapevine to the bottle: we prune with non-invasive techniques, we harvest with tools which preserve the integrity of the grapes, we stock our bottles in an underground cellar purposely built to guarantee the perfect ageing until shipping.
Who does not stand on one side or the other of the fence, is the fence himself
Vladimir Il’ič Ul’janov
Winemakers Cappellano have often been associated with the concept of “revolution” ‒ quite an oxymoron if one thinks of the established renown as “traditionalists”. And yet, tradition and revolution are two sides of the same coin ‒ a revolutionary or nonconformist attitude seems to be inscribed in the genes of the Cappellano patriarchs.
A grandfather, Francesco, so stubborn as to leave the Langhe to set up a wine business in Africa (specifically in the former Italian colony of Eritrea).
A father, Baldo, who returned to Italy with his family and with the dream to restore the family vineyard from scratch. He purchased back a plot of land in one of the most prestigious crus in the Langhe ‒ Gabutti. He re-established the production of Barolo Chinato with the old recipe, and realised his father’s old dream of an ungrafted vineyard.
A bit crazy, dreamers, reckless. Visionary, brave, precursors. These words and many more were used about them, this ‒ and much more ‒ can be inferred from their family history, only briefly sketched here. These traits best characterise those personalities which bring about change and revolution. We like to believe that this tiny seed of folly, suggestive of a brighter future and of a dream worth fighting for, is now endemic and permeates me as well as all the wonderful people who have made the vineyard reach this day. We strongly believe that the right motivation, fuelled by a fire, is necessary to make life worth living. Call it a cause, call it utopia. This pursuit makes us happy and, hopefully, also active and productive parts of this world-system.
If I dare to use the word, ideologically I am certainly an anarchist. I believe that I am civilised enough to grant myself a degree of self-rule.
Fabrizio De André
I would like to indulge with memories now because the term “anarchy” is inseparable from my father. I grew up together with the vineyard, and both of us were grown by a free and responsible man. Free to express concepts and elaborate projects against the mainstream views; free from the human calling to follow the flock for the sake of comfort and safety. Responsible for he was always animated by unyielding respect for the others and by the innate attitude to side with the weak. Anarchy and sociability, freedom and responsibility. For a child as well as for a company, growing up in the union of the opposites means to put a philosophy into practice, to take it as a model beyond the mere theory. My father bequeathed to us a sort of anarchic thinking and independent attitude which prompted us to even question (or re-think) his own work, lest we fall into the trap of a diverse yet equally undesirable homologation. What remains, unforgettable, is an approach to life ‒ and to winemaking ‒ which signifies what really matters to us: it is unthinkable to follow a random dogma, in particular when it is nothing more than a momentary fashion. We are interested in the meaning. A good produce, the true expression of what the land and the season give, combined with the wisdom necessary to pursue harmony and pleasure. We are devoted to the ethics of land and man, we believe in humankind and in Nature, but we start from small to think big. Do not look for us on the big stages, rather expect to find us in uncommon places, in unexpected situations which may let us share a glass of wine and a part of the journey.
To Wine “Guides” humblyspeaking:
In 1983 I asked the journalist Sheldon Wasserman not to publish scores for my wine. Not only did he not publish the scores in his book “Italian Noble Wines” he also wrote that I had asked not to be in the “classificatios” in which a comparison becomes a divise numerical term rather than expressing shared human toil. I have not changed my mind: my tiny farm producing 20,000 bottles of wine a year interests only a small number of customerfriends. I believe in freedom of information, even if the judgement is negative. I think of my hills as an anarchical arena, with no inquisitors or opposing faction’s, whose inner richness is stimulated by severe, thoughtful critics; I strive for a community that can still express solidarity with whoever has not been so wellrewarded by Mother nature.
Wishful thinking? Allow me to dream.
The Garbutti Vineyard is in Serralunga roughly in the center on the western border with Moneforte d’Alba. It’s contours run continue into the Cru’s of Parafada and Lazzarito.
If you have a Barolo MGA subscription you can check out more details of the Gabutti Cru here.
The 2015 Barolo Piè Franco is ethereal and elusive, as the best vintages of this wine tend to be. Freshly cut flowers, dried herbs, spice, sweet red cherry and kirsch are all beautifully lifted here. Silky tannins add to an impression of total grace in a very pretty, nuanced Barolo that is so captivating. All of the elements just come together effortlessly in the glass. The 2015 is a classic Piè Franco built on nuance and understatement.
*At the request of Cappellano his wines are never scored by critics
Where in the world does the magic happen?
CAPPELLANO DR. GIUSEPPE SNC Via Alba, 13 12050 Serralunga d'Alba (CN)