‘Ugo Contini Bonacossi’ Capezzana, Tuscany, Italy 2013

‘Ugo Contini Bonacossi’ Capezzana 2013.jpg
‘Ugo Contini Bonacossi’ Capezzana 2013.jpg

‘Ugo Contini Bonacossi’ Capezzana, Tuscany, Italy 2013

49.95

You won’t find ‘wine merchant’ in a list of the world’s most dangerous jobs, which is unfair, because we’re constantly being bowled over or knocked sideways. It’s an occupational hazard that we take in our stride, despite having our socks blown off almost daily. Yellow socks, of course. Standard issue.

So, there we were, tasting the new releases from some of Italy’s most talented winemakers, including Biondi Santi, Massolino, Bruno Rocca, Pieropan, Conti Costanti, Fontodi and Isole e Olena - an absolute cornucopia of delights - and socks were flying left right and centre, but when we reached this wine, a new kid on the block making its debut among such august company, we were expecting a diminuendo. A rest before the next crescendo, but we were fools to think so, because this turned out to be the most exciting wine in the room. It had grandeur, depth, complexity, finesse and something innately Tuscan. Not only that, but it had a moving story too.

The Capezzana winery has been owned by the Contini Bonacossi family since 1920 and in 1945, Ugo Contini Bonacossi, took the helm. He raised the estate from a sharecropping enterprise into one of the most important properties in Tuscany. Sadly, in 2012, Ugo passed away, but the family decided to honour his memory by creating this new cuvee, sourced from the last vineyard he planted, which he had tended with so much love and care that he planted roses at the end of each row. Serena Contini Bonacossi, Ugo’s granddaughter, told us this story with tears in her eyes and it reminded us that wine isn’t just a drink to those who make it, it’s history and family and love and pride.

The wine comes from the Carmignano appellation and is a pure Sangiovese, but in a brilliant piece of Italian bureaucratic self-harm, it can’t call itself a Carmignano DOC, because of the very fact that it’s made purely from Sangiovese. According to DOC rules, Carmignano must contain at least 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, so although it is made from nothing but the most noble Tuscan grape variety, it can only be designated as a humble IGT (Indicazione Geografica Typica). That’s of scant interest to anyone interested in the contents of the bottle, so let’s move on.

There’s a nobility to this wine that brings to mind some of the great Brunellos from this vintage. Glorious, high-toned aromas bring a sense of grandeur, evoking perfumed cherry skins, polished wood, tomato leaf and loose tea while the palate weighs in with deeper notes of plums and roast tomato and even a little blood and cold embers, but those faintly ‘gothic’ notes are mollified by sweet spices from the portion of new oak (one third). It’s like an autumn festival in a glass and we highly recommend it as an alternative to the finest Brunellos. Yes folks, it’s that good! 14% alc. Drink now, peaking between 2020 and 2025 and tailing off gracefully by 2030.

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