Friday, June 09, 2006

Capezzana Ghiaie della Furba 2000 – Supertuscan at a reasonable price

Recently we have been trying various wines, both old favorites and new entries. Producers are continually refining their processes and attempting new mixtures of grapes and vineyards. Remaining with the tried and true can mean missing out on a marvelous vintage or a price quality relationship. Generally wines that are new to the market will have lower prices as will wines produced by unknown vineyards but this does not mean that they are any less than quality than their more famous competitors. This does not mean that all wines that fall into this category are great deals and. more often than not, the price is inline with the quality of the wine.

It is rare that we have been surprised by the quality of a wine. We are passionate about wine. Before opening a bottle we have done a great deal of research about the producer, the grape, the vineyard and the climate for the year the grapes were grown. Our usual prowess in determining the quality of wines has been pleasantly questioned by the most recent acquisitions to our repertoire of wines.

Not that Capezzana is a young producer. No, the vineyards were first planted in 1804. The current owners, the Bonacossi family, have been in Carmignano since 1920 and the father ran the company for over 80 years. The wines of the Capezzana vineyards only received the recognition of DOC in 1975. This has been a reason of contention and the wines had not been widely accepted.

Ghiaie della Furba was a table wine, good quality, marvelous flavor and complexity but still a table wine. In 1979 the family decided to remake the wine, taking it from a table wine to a structured and complex wine. These characteristics are the makings of a fantastic price quality relationship. But is this mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah a good wine.

We thought the wine would be good, better than an every day Chianti, but not something we would go out and look for. Popping the cork I immediately knew we had underestimated this wine. The cork was long and subtle. You say, “What does this matter?” The quality of the cork is indicative of the wine. Often medium quality wines will be ruined if the cork dries out or cracks. A mellow, smooth aroma oozed out of the bottle.

We should have decanted at least ½ hour but we were intrigued by the lack of tannins. Raffaella broke out the balloon glasses. This immediately told me that she was also thinking this was an interesting wine. I poured ¼ glass and set it there on the table. Five minutes should be long enough to let the flavors settle. This was just enough time to check email before sitting down for dinner. When I returned, convinced we would raise our glasses together, there she was, glass in hand, sipping on the almost empty glass.

She shrugged her shoulders, smiling slyly, when she heard me protest and simply responded, “You were busy and the wine smelled really good!”

I grabbed my glass swirled just a tad to release the aroma, took a deep whiff, and took a healthy amount into my mouth. A wonderful fullness and body spread from my tongue, to the palette. As I moved the liquid discreetly, no swishing allowed, the body encompassed the inner cheeks all the way back to the throat. I felt like the kid in the Willy Wonka movie as the flavors became evident and transposed into something else. Bing cherries, dark chocolate with a hint of mint to finish and then a closure completely unexpected the wine produced distinct, but pleasing, tannins completely cleaning the taste buds and preparing them for the next round.

Ghiaie della Furba is truly a wine of grand class and noble extraction. Most likely it will age well in the 10-15 year range and all this structure and complexity at a reasonable price. This wine is a pleasant surprise and has earned a place in my cellar.

Grape: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah

Color: Deep and Intense Ruby Red.

Bouquet: Intense fruit flavors with a hint of spices.

Flavor: Full bodied and fruity, Bing cherries, Chocolate and wild berries. Encompassing with a distinct finish of tannins.

Alcohol Content: 13.5 %

Serving Temperature: 18-20 c.

Decanting: ½ hour.

Pouring: No special conditions.

Glass: use a clear wide bellied, deep, stemmed glass. This will allow the wine to continue to breath and will release its aroma as you move the glass toward your mouth. This will allow the wine to continue to decant.


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Blogger Anthony Lemons said...

Great to see your blog again. How have you been?

1:45 AM

Blogger Peace said...

Hi David, it's been sometimes since I last visited your blog. I love yr new look, esp the sunflowers... so refreshing and nice. : )

7:30 AM

Blogger Travel Italy said...

Well, I guess I should take this to say that I have not been writing things that kept your interest. I will have to do better. In any case I am extremely content that you have stopped by.


9:20 AM


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