. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: The End Day XII

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The End Day XII

Once again "Il Bel Paese" gave us another gorgeous day - bright sun and fresh air. After breakfast, we met with Luciano and head towards Il Carnasciale.
The story of this winery started in the mid 1980s, thanks to Bettina Schnabel Rogosky and her husband Wolf. It is the story of the Caberlot, which is not a blend, but a specific grape. The grape was first discovered in the 60's when agronomist Remigio Bordini came across a unique clone growing in Veneto.
That clone appeared to be a genetic modification of Cabernet Sauvignon, but it was also showing the characteristics of Merlot. That clone was "adopted" by Remigio, and was grown and cultivated under his care for over 20 years before finding its home in the Chianti region, more specifically in Bucine, near the Fattoria di Petrolo under the shadow of the Galatrona tower.
After a good 15 minutes on dirt roads we passed by the Petrolo estate, and shortly after we saw the "Podere" entrance. Peter Shilling, the winemaker, welcomed us with his marked German accent, and to the side, there it was, shining under the sunlight; the Caberlot field (picture on top), 10.000 plants on one hectare of land for a production of less than 1500 magnums.
The house/winery is very small up to the point that Peter was joking about having barriques stored under his bed. In reality you can spot the barrels almost everywhere around the cellars, as you can see from picture.
To the right is a photo of the main floor, where the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks, and below that floor is the barrique room, although the barriques are placed wherever there is space for them.
The racking system is made so that the barrels can be turned for the "batonage," and to maximize space (they can hold three rows of barrels). While we were tasting different vintages from the barrels, Peter told us that the estate uses the help of Vittorio Fiore as consultant, that their yields are ridiculously low and that they had to decline a Caberlot request from the former Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi the year before. The plants were planted in 1985, after a long bureaucratic journey, so for good luck, they buried a bottle of 1985 Sassicaia in the field.
The winery also produces the "Carnasciale," a younger brother of the Caberlot made from younger vines of Caberlot. It was bottled for the first time in the year 2000, and we had a bottle of the 2004 after the cellar tour.
One thing I can say about their wines - I've never tried a single-varietal wine that tasted like a Bordeaux before these. They are amazing products with an amazing history.
It was time to leave this little piece of paradise to go visit Theophil, probably the smallest winery in the world.
Peter helps Theophil to produce his wine, a blend of Sangiovese and a little bit of Merlot. Theophil Butz is a Swiss graphic designer (or "inspirator," as he defines himself on his business cards). He bought his house with few rows of vines, and restored it. The cellars are next to the living room, and everything is on the same level. He has 1 small stainless steel vat and 2 barriques for a total production of 300 magnums, which are store behind the barrels in the wall.
Theo opened a bottle, and we tasted it. The wine was very harmonious and elegant, filled with fresh cherries and leather flavors. He opened a 2004 ,which is both the first bottling and the current vintage - I must say that we enjoyed it a lot, and I'm currently working on having the wine imported.
In the picture on the left, you can see Theo in the light blue shirt, Peter in the middle, and Luciano "I' Frasca" on the right, talking (most likely) about politics after we finished the wine.
Sadly it was time to leave, and on the way back to Rome, Piers and I exchanged some thoughts on the trip. We both concurred on the exceptional quality of the wines we'd tasted during our journey, particularly how good the first releases had been; the Castello di Vicarello, Tenuta Vitalonga and Theophil wineries will have a very bright and successful future.
I would like to end this diary thanking everybody we met for the exquisite hospitality they provided, in particular: Gigi Maravalle and Il Frasca for giving us a place to stay; Roberto Cipresso and Billy for the wonderful time in Montalcino, as well as Fabio Giannotti of La Fornace, and Caroline and Jan of Pian dell'Orino; Peter and Theo for showing us some wines that are impossible to find and making them available for my store; Marina for the great meal at il Boccon Divino; and il Frasca once again for the amazing food he prepared for us.
Grazie a Tutti


Anonymous said...

Caberlot is a fantastic wine and if there is any justice left in the world it will take NY by storm.

"Theophil" is unknown to me but the idea of tasting it hunts my mind to an almost compulsive extent :-)

I have googled my eyes into sore spots in order to find more information about it, but alas!

So my pleeding goes something like this : Is it possible to buy this wine on-line from a winedealer in Europe? or would it be possible to ship it from NY to the frosty realm of hell - called Scandinavia ?

If you have any idea of what the price pr bottle will be when the wine hits your shop I would be gratefull.

Pardon for spelling, gramma and style.

Greetings from Copenhagen.

Peder Byberg.

De Vino said...

Hey Peder,
You can definitely have the wine shipped from all over Europe. You might find the Caberlot at Peck in Milan. Shipping from here it's tricky I sell the Caberlot for $ 350 and the Theophil for $ 150.
The Theophil is not exported but if you can email me your info I'll ask them if they can ship some to you from Italy.