Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Taste of Tuscany: Winery Tour and Tasting at Capannelle - Gaiole in Chianti, Italy

Wine Barrels at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

This is the fifth post in my Taste of Tuscany series.

Right now, I'm sitting in my room at my B&B in Napa and letting the glorious California sunshine stream in through my windows. The door to my private little patio is open and the song of the birds and the smell of the flowering jasmine are floating in. This is a lovely, lovely place, and I can't wait to tell you more about my trip to Napa when I get back!


Garden at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

The quiet charm of Napa and the sheer proximity to all this fantastic wine brings me right back to my honeymoon trip to Tuscany. After hearing Elena (our hostess) rave about it for several days, Stephen and I paired up with another couple staying at our B&B and headed to Capannelle, a small winery about 8 miles (13 kilometers) to the north, for a tour and tasting.

Valentina, our tour guide at Capanelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Not being familiar with the area, we completely missed the little road we needed to turn onto to get up the hill to the winery. In fact, we drove past the road several times before I finally spotted the sign pointing us in the right direction. Getting turned around meant that we were a little late for our scheduled tour, but Valentina (our tour guide) was extremely forgiving and assured us that we weren't the first people to get lost.

Wine Barrels at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Wine producing at Capannelle dates back to 1974, when Raffaele Rossetti, a 40-year-old businessman from Rome, decided to purchase the 16th-century farmhouse in the heart if the Chianti region. Since then, the exterior of the farmhouse has been restored to highlight the beauty of the original architecture while the interior has been renovated to give the building a modern feeling.

Wine Barrels at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Rack of Wine Bottles at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Wine Barrels at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Because of the size of the winery, Capannelle produces a limited number of bottles, only 80,000 per year. They divide production between a Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG aged in barrels (25,000 bottles), a Solare IGT aged in Barriques (30,000 bottles), a Chardonnay IGT aged and fermented in Barriques (10,000 bottles), and a 50&50 in collaboration with Avignonesi di Montepulciano (15,000 bottles).

Wine Vault at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Wine Vault at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Wine Vault at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

If you have a ton of money to throw around, then you can rent space in the wine vault to store your personal bottles. People from all over the world had bottles in there, which was really cool to see.

Box of Wine Corks at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

After our tour, we headed upstairs to allow Valentina to lead us through a tasting of Capannelle's wines. There are several wine flights to choose from, so you can tailor your tasting based on your personal preferences.

2009 Chianti Classico from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

2009 Chianti Classico from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

2009 Chianti Classico from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

We all started with the 2009 Chianti Classico to get an understanding of the signature wine of the region. A sip (or several) of wine and then a tasting of fresh cheese to see how the flavor of the wine develops when paired with food. Truly, truly extraordinary.

2006 Solare from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Stephen Tastes the 2006 Solare from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Stephen Tastes the 2006 Solare from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Stephen Tastes the 2006 Solare from Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

Stephen was a huge fan of the 2006 Solare. Love that smile. :)

Empty Little Soldiers at Capannelle in Gaiole in Chianti, Italy - Photo by Taste As You Go

We also tasted the Chardonnay and the 50&50 before our time at Capannelle was done. Judging by the number of "empty little soldiers" that we lined up on the counter afterward, it's not surprising that we left the winery a little buzzed.

If you're planning on visiting the area, then definitely try and make an appointment for a tour and tasting at Capannelle. The entire staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable, and you could tell that they all loved doing what they do. They made us feel right at home, which made it really hard to say goodbye.

Capannelle
Localita Capannelle 13
53013 Gaiole in Chianti, Italy

For more from my Taste of Tuscany series, see:


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