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Rarely does a winery manage to blend past and present with such elegance as Tenuta Capezzana. The magnificent estate located in the town of Carmignano, not far from Prato, offers breathtaking views on the Tuscan capital lying just to the west, while the sun-soaked vineyards used for its prized wines account for roughly 50% of the DOCg’s production today. Over the centuries, Tenuta Capezzana passed through a line of owners related with such famous names as Medici, Bonaccorsi, Bourbon, Cantucci and Rothschild until finally, in 1920, the property was purchased by Conte Alessandro Contini Bonacossi and has been lovingly run by successive generations of the family ever since.
Although pre-Roman archaeological finds suggest the lands around Carmignano have served for growing grapes and olives for some 3000 years, the earliest written reference to winemaking activities dates back to a parchment record from 804 A.D. conserved in Florence’s Archives. Interestingly, one of the most noteworthy milestones in Carmingano’s history may have been in 1716 when the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Cosimo III de’ Medici, awarded this and 3 other wine growing districts in Tuscany special mention for the production of outstanding quality wine. His edict protected the names of wines grown here from being used elsewhere, effectively making Carmignano one of the world’s oldest wine appellations. Centuries later, in 1932, Carmignano was annexed under the Chianti label to the Tuscan winegrowing area that extends between Florence and Siena and the Grand Duke’s recognition of the wine’s unique qualities seemed doomed to remain a mere footnote in a glorious and noble past. But Conte Contini Bonacossi wouldn’t have it. Through painstaking effort and the family’s undying belief in the land’s natural vocation to produce superb and, most importantly, distinct wines of character, the DOC and DOCg titles were reinstated on the vintages of 1969 and 1988 respectively. Accordingly, the wines must contain a blend of at least 50% Sangiovese grapes, along with a maximum of 20% Canaiolo Nero and up to 20% Cabernet Sauvignon/Franc.
Today, the Bonacossi Contini family is profoundly aware of their good fortune in having inherited land with ideal soil and climate conditions for growing both grapes and olives. Considering Tenuta Capezzana’s impressive line of 12 award-winning wines as well as olive oil, however, one has to give the family credit for matching such a blessing with dedication and expertise which they’ve carefully handed down from generation to generation for nearly a century.
Here is a brief look at a selection of three of their iconic wines:
Villa di Capezzana
In 2016, to mark the 300th anniversary of the Grand Duke Cosimo III’s edict of 1716 granting the denomination to Carmignano, Tenuta Capezzana presented its first ten-year specially-aged limited reserve of ca. 3000 bottles of Villa Capezzana 2006. The family intends to continue in future to offer a limited number of ten-year aged reserve bottles alongside the current year’s production of the same wine.
Grape Varieties: 80% Sangiovese, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Tasting notes: An intense, opaque red, the bouquet reveals dark fruity notes, a whisper of mint and a slight woody scent of oak. It is an elegant, medium bodied wine presenting good acidity and freshness with smooth, well balanced tannins on the finishing end of the palate. Older vintages offer a hint of spicier scents and creamy coffee mixed with black cherry and black currant, while maintaining a pleasantly fresh, round balance.
UCB – Ugo Contini Bonacossi – IGT
This wine is named in honour of the family patriarch, Ugo Contini Bonacossi who designed and planted this parcel of vineyard with Sangiovese grapes, alternating specially selected roses at the head of each row.
Grape Varieties: 100% Sangiovese
Tasting notes: delicate yet distinctive, highly refined but strong like the man whose name it bears, this wine expresses a rich, baroque but elegant bouquet with Bulgarian rose and powdery notes. Hints of red fruits mix with mustard and cardamom, while tobacco overtones blend with spicy tannins. The wine’s overall energy and elegant brilliance reflect the life-long labor and pride of this noble farmer.
Vinsanto di Carmignano
This sweet wine, produced in very small quantities according to strict tradition, is Capezzana’s top award-winning wine, consistently receiving highest ratings from wine magazines around the world.
Capezzana – Riserva DOC
Grape Varieties: 90% Trebbiano, 10% San Colombano
Tasting notes: intense golden hues gleam as a complex bouquet of candied fruit exudes notes of apricot and orange peel, along with floral scents of yellow blossoms. Warm, complex and opulent palate of candied fruit with lingering, smooth, fruity aftertaste.
In line with the spirit of these iconic wines and in homage to the land they owe their distinctive characteristics to, the younger Contini Bonacossi generation have launched a group of promising organic wines, both red and white, which have already begun to win favour among international wine critics. Similarly, a good deal of pride goes into making Tenuta Capezzana’s award-winning delicate, fruity olive oil, which is cold pressed in the estate’s own mill and served in the family restaurant or at special events, banquets and celebrations hosted at the winery.
Indeed, the Conti Bonacossi family takes pride in preserving and enriching Tenuta Capezzana’s winemaking history, and it’s truly the fruits of the family’s dedication, along with the spectacular natural beauty of Carmingnano that make this Tuscan winery a must-see for today’s wine enthusiast.
If you’d like to take a tour of this historical wine producing estate, contact us today!