1958 Barolo from Azienda Agricola Dott. G. Cappellano

Cappellano is one of the great traditional Barolo producers of our time, and their old wines are spectacular. It’s always a thrill to get fully mature Cappellano Barolo, but the haul we just got from Europe includes some particularly interesting bottles.


This most recent shipment of (amazing) Piedmontese classics includes nine bottles of Cappellano’s 1958 Barolo.  Three of them are in the traditional (Bordeaux) bottle of the time, with the classic label.  But we also got a few Cappellanos in the crazy, old, bottle shape that the Turin merchant, G. Troglia, used for the Barolos they bottled and sold (see below). The fills are great and I wish I had an excuse to crack one.

 


Like the Cappellano-bottled Barolos, these came with a Cappellano neck tag bearing a write-up on the history and service of Barolo.  But where the Cappellano-bottled tags are in Italian and French only, the tags on the Troglia-bottled wines are also translated into German and English; an interesting insight into Barolo’s local and export markets back in the ‘60s! (If you’re interested in the text of the neck tag, please see bellow).

 


We were curious to know how Cappellano’s Barolos aged when merchant-bottled, so we decided to check one out with dinner.  Short answer: great!

But the longer answer seemed worth sharing. At first, I was actually pretty worried. I pulled the cork (no problem, thank you Durand) at home and tasted a drop. The nose was musty-to-dead and the palate seemed shot. Even the color seemed off, super light. I decided to decant the wine off the sediment and see what happened.  And what happened was like magic.

The wine sat in the decanter while I washed the dried Barolo-precipitate from the bottom of the bottle and went to pack a bag for my flight the next morning.  When I came back to the wine, maybe forty minutes later, it had picked up color and the nose was showing a little something.  

I poured the Cappellano back into the bottle and took the train to dinner. We drank a couple of bottles of white wine and I told everyone not to worry, I’d tasted the ‘58… and brought a back-up. But while Jeff was getting his kids to bed we decided to check in on the Cappellano, which had been open, at this point, for “a few hours” – exactly as the neck tag recommends. And oh my goodness, there was no need for a back up!

The color was beautiful, the nose was perfumed, and the palate was incredible: seamless in the way fully mature wine can be, but still with a backbone of pure primary fruit.  A very special treat.  As I mentioned, this shipment from Europe includes a bunch of other special, fascinating and delicious wines. We’ll blog about a couple more, and be offering them by email soon.  So stay tuned…

 

As for these ’58 Cappellanos, we now have seven left, which we’ll be offering to email subscribers who are on our Italian or Rare Wine lists on Monday, August 3rd.  If you’d like to be on the list – or aren’t sure whether you already are, please drop us a note susannah(dot)smith(at)flatiron(dash)wines(dot).com.

In case you want the text of Cappellano’s 1958 neck tag, here it is in the English translation of the time:

In the XIX century, the Marchesi Falletti created and made the Barolo wine well known.  Its fame became greater and greater all over the world.  The Barolo wine is produce in a limited area of the Langhe Hills (Piedmont) the main centres of which are Barolo, Castiglione Faletto, La Morra, Monforte, Verduno, Perno, Serralunga nd Grinzane.  The Barolo wine is made with the grapes of the Nebbiolo vine and it is bottled after three years’ storage in barrels.  During this period it acquires a granate [sic.; garnet]-red colour with yellow-amaranth reflections and emanates a perfume similar to the violet on the surface and the withered rose at the bottom, with a dry velvety taste.  It is to be served at the temperature of the surrounding atmosphere, from bottles opened a few hours before as only in this way it can thoroughly reveal its characteristics and good qualities; it is the ideal wine for roast meats, game and such like. 

 

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