• Cappellano Barolo:  Pié Rupestris & Pié Franco

    Cappellano Barolo: Pié Rupestris & Pié Franco

    For many, the wines of Augusto Cappellano need little introduction. Yet they deserve as much text and praise as we shower Barolo's other heroes, Roberto Conterno, Beppe Rinaldi, and Maria Theresa Mascarello. Today's offer does revisit what was the very anticipated, highly lauded 2013 release with new quantities available. But, the impetus for this email is something else.

    2006 was a Barolo vintage that, in my estimation, has flown way under the radar. For classic-leaning palates it might only be rivaled in the decade by 2001 and 2010.Today's list features 24 bottles of Cappellano's 2006 Barolo Pié Rupestris. 

    Antonio Galloni of Vinous got right to the point: "Two thousand six is one of the most powerful, structured vintages of the last three decades."

    Focus on the structure. Even young, the 2006's held a special place with me for their unapologetic raw Nebbiolo features. It was like naked Barolo, without unctuous, rounded fruit to hide behind. I've always found the the snap of tannin and flicker of austerity totally hypnotizing. It was a vintage that just screamed of a rare authenticity of place from day one, and spoke to a long, slow evolution ahead.Today, especially from the traditionalists like Cappellano, these wines are starting to enter their drinking windows.

    Cappellano is best known for crafting ultra-traditional and soulful Barolo with a natural focus on the western slopes of Serralunga d'Alba. Here in the Gabutti cru we see the darker side of Nebbiolo within the greater Barolo zone. However, Augusto Cappellano's organic approach and low sulphur regimen endow these wines of stature with a delicate and sensual side that stands apart from his contemporaries.

    Cappellano is also known for insisting that critics who taste at the cantina do not publish scores for the wines. Although these are among the top Barolo produced in Piedmont each year, you will never see ratings for these wines - Another philosophy at this estate that I admire a great deal.

    With only four hectares the demand for these wines far outweighs supply. The Piè Franco from pre-phylloxera own-rooted vines is also located in the Gabutti cru, but shows a more lifted and ethereal side as compared to the Pié Rupestris. The whispers heard on this ultra-rare bottling surround the belief that this is what Barolo tasted like before American rootstocks were forced to be grafted to the majority European vines.

    The Barolo Chinato is, in many ways, the most esteemed product at Cappellano. The tightly-held secret family recipe has been passed down for generations. The wine is infused with a special ratio of spices, herbs, and other earthly components and ground by hand using a stone mortar and pestle.

    Cappellano Barolo Chinato
    Terrific on its own, but I'd be remiss if I didn't include some other recommendation's from importer, Neal Rosenthal:
    As an aperitif: 4 parts gin, 4 parts Campari, 2 parts Chinato, a touch of ice plus a slice of orange.
    - As a “thirst quencher”: cold sparkling water plus 10% of the volume in Chinato with the juice of a freshly squeezed lime accompanied by a slice of lime.And, Augusto Cappellano reminds us: don’t forget the pleasure of drinking the Chinato accompanied by the best chocolate one can find!
    Posted by Alexander Rosen