Caparsino Chianti Classico Riserva is in a league of its own. “Others use notes or paint, I use nature.” The wine is 95% Sangiovese. Cianferoni points out the richness and acidity of Caparsino as fundamental elements necessary for the wine to age. Caparsino shares its name with the house Cianferoni lives in on the property. “It is a wine for wine lovers, with great complexity and strong emotions.”
Paolo Cianferoni says his riservas benefit from 15-20 years of ageing. But they are fundamentally meant to drink. “It is great with beef, simple bread and olive oil. The wine is to provide just a little happiness, not to get out of your mind.” Caparsa’s cellar is stone, old and cold, with minimal technology. Everything here is deliberate. Fermentations begin with wild yeasts, and for the reds, last about 12 days. Cianferoni uses 10 hectolitre large barrels to age his reds. “Wood has many risks. Small barrels dry too much the wine. And the extra tannin (from small barrels) can be toxic.” He likes a complex mix of Slovenian, American, Hungarian and French oak for his big barrels.
TENUTA CAPARSA, PAOLO CIANFERONI, Radda in Chianti
Certified organic by CCPB
The vineyards here are truly in the heart of Chianti, a perfect location, radiating out with the cellar as their centre. The best vines are situated a few hundred metres farther up the hill from the cellar (450 metres above sea level) and are heavily planted with Sangiovese. Small amounts of Canaiolo, Malvasia Nera, Colorino, and Trebbiano are also grown.
Respect for nature and balance with the larger environment are core principles at Caparsa. Sixty percent of the estate’s land remains forested for biodiversity. “Herbicides simplify a vineyard,” Cianferoni has stated. Chemicals have an undeniable dulling impact on a farm’s products. Making wines this thrilling has to be done naturally. Cianferoni is in the process of selecting and replanting portions of his old vineyards with plant stock culled from his oldest vineyards: massale replanting. He believes these 46-year-old vineyards produce wines that are rustic at first, yet are innately very age-worthy.
The vines grow in gallestro and alberese soils. The roots must work hard to derive life from this rocky ground, fight to reach the abundant water deep under the surface. Cianferoni appreciates the struggle of his vines. “When life is too easy it becomes boring, and you kill yourself” he said. We need toil to sustain us, and so do vines.
Cianferoni bottles once per year, an average of 20,000 bottles. “If I stay small I control everything.” He ferments in concrete.