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Caparzo Sangiovese 2003
Bouquet: Full and persistent, reminiscent of violets, raspberries and pomegranate.
Palate: Warm, dry, generous and well-balanced.
Recommended with: Red meat, pasta dishes with sauces, sharp cheeses, and vegetable soup.
The name of the estate apparently derives from "Ca' Pazzo", as shown on some ancient maps. The estate covers an area of 190 hectares, 54 of which are vineyards, 4 are of olive groves, 87 of which are wooded and 45 of which are to be planted with new vines. Caparzo is the only estate-bottled producer of Brunello di Montalcino to have estate vineyards on all five sides of the hill of Montalcino, ensuring that no matter what climatic challenges effect one side, the other vineyards will more than compensate.
Caparzo, with owner Elizabetta Angelina Gnudi, and winemakers Massimo Bracalente and Francesca Arquint, aims to make top quality products using meticulous and traditional techniques, while at the same time applying a modern outlook in its commercial relations with efficiency and capability. More than thirty years have passed since the first vines were planted and the first steps in wine-making taken. In this period, Caparzo, bolstered by its background in the Brunello tradition and the different terroirs of the area, has proved its ability to produce wines with a creative flair and spirit of innovation that achieves top standards in quality.
One of the most iconic Italian regions for wine, scenery and history, Tuscany is the world’s most important outpost for the Sangiovese grape. Ranging in style from fruity and simple to complex and age-worthy, Sangiovese makes up a significant percentage of plantings here, with the white Trebbiano Toscano coming in second.
Within Tuscany, many esteemed wines have their own respective sub-zones, including Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The climate is Mediterranean and the topography consists mostly of picturesque rolling hills, scattered with vineyards.
Sangiovese at its simplest produces straightforward pizza-friendly wines with bright and juicy red fruit, but at its best it shows remarkable complexity and ageability. Top-quality Sangiovese-based wines can be expressive of a range of characteristics such as sour cherry, balsamic, dried herbs, leather, fresh earth, dried flowers, anise and tobacco. Brunello expresses well the particularities of vintage variations and is thus popular among collectors. Chianti is associated with tangy and food-friendly dry wines at various price points. A more recent phenomenon as of the 1970s is the “Super Tuscan”—a wine made from international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, with or without Sangiovese. These are common in Tuscany’s coastal regions like Bolgheri, Val di Cornia, Carmignano and the island of Elba.
The perfect intersection of bright fruit and savory earthiness, Sangiovese is the backbone variety in Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Elsewhere throughout Italy, it can make inexpensive wines for daily consumption ranging from inoffensive to deliciously easy. On the French island of Corsica, under the name Nielluccio, it produces excellent bright and refreshing red and rosé wines with a personality of their own. Sangiovese has also enjoyed moderate popularity in California and Washington State over the last few decades.
In the Glass
Sangiovese is a medium-bodied red with savory flavors of tart cherry, plum, tomato, fresh tobacco, anise, thyme, oregano, and dried earth. High-quality, well-aged examples will take on notes of smoke, clay pot, leather, gamey meat, potpourri, and dried fruits. Corsican Nielluccio is distinguished by a subtle perfume of dried flowers.
Sangiovese is the ultimate pizza and pasta red—its high acidity, moderate alcohol, and grainy tannins create an affinity with tomato-based dishes, spicy meats, and anything off the barbecue.
Although it is the star variety of Tuscany, cult-classic “Super-Tuscan” wines may contain no Sangiovese at all! Since the 1970s, local winemakers have been producing big, bold wines (with price tags to match) that are typically monovarietal or a blend of one or more of several international varieties—usually Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, or Syrah—with or without Sangiovese.