About Carmignano, Tuscany
Wine production in Carmignano dates back to the Etruscans and later the Roman period. At the end of the 14th century, Datini wrote of buying Carmignano wine for a large sum for his cellars in Prato. In the 17th century, Redi praised Carmignano wine as worthy of Jove. Furthermore, Carmignano was designated by the Grand Duke Cosimo III de’ Medici (in 1716) as one of the four best areas for wine growing in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. The ‘Motu proprio’ Decree and ‘Bando’ laid down precise rules for production, set out geographical boundaries and regulated trade for the wines from these areas, thereby making up the first “D.O.C.” in the world.
Between the 19th and 20th centuries, the cellars of Marchese Niccolin’s estate (today part of Capezzana estate) produced and exported Carmignano. A period of decline followed and in the 1930′s the historic Medici Carmignano D.O.C. label was incorporated into the Chianti Montalbano D.O.C. For Carmignano producers, the return of the “Carmignano” denomination represented the recovery of their wine’s historic and territorial identity. It was a lengthy and difficult battle in which Ugo Contini Bonacossi played a fundamental role.
In 1975, the Carmignano D.O.C. was finally recognized, retroactively for mature wines, dating back to the 1969 vintage. In 1990, the D.O.C.G. label was granted, retroactive to 1988.
Wine jars and tasting cups found in Etruscan tombs dating to approximately 1,000 BC show that vines have been cultivated in Carmignano since Pre Roman times. More specifically, a parchment rent contract conserved in the Florence State Archives, dated 804, reveals that vines and olives were cultivated at Capezzana for the production of oil and wine as early as 1,200 years ago.
At the beginning of the Twentieth century, Count Alessandro Contini Bonacossi returned to Italy from Spain with his wife Vittoria and two children Augusto Alessandro and Vittorina. While in Spain he was highly successful in the antique trade and began what was to become one of the largest private collections of paintings, furniture, ceramics and statues.
After the war and with a University degree in farm management, son Ugo joined his father in reconstructing the winemaking business at Capezzana and gradually took over. From the very start he was a firm believer in the quality of the wines produced in this region and set out to improve his wines at a time when the majority of producers still sold their wines by weight.
Today, Capezzana is run by Ugo’s children; Benedetta, Beatrice, Vittorio and Filippo with his grandchildren Serena, Leone and Gaddo.
The Tenuta Capezzana estate is divided into three parts and incorporates more than 120 métayage farms, producing high quality wine and oil. Today, Capezzana is in the almost unique position of having bottles dating back to the 1925 vintage.
Capezzana is situated in northern Tuscany, in the commune of Carmignano in the province of Prato, 20 km from Florence, on the slopes of Monte Albano and close to the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines. The location describes the uniqueness of its climate, the altitude (approximately 200 m above sea level) is such that daytime temperatures in the summer are high, where as nights are cool, due to the winds off the Apennines. These conditions ensure healthy maturation of the grapes, which are generally one to two weeks ahead of other Tuscan wine-growing regions.
The Tenuta Capezzana estate comprises 670 hectares, of which approximately 100 are vineyards and 140 olive groves. The estate is home to a Renaissance Villa with adjacent farm, historic cellars beneath this complex (which date to the 16th century), a modern olive mill and a huge “Vinsantaia” (where Vin Santo grapes are dried), above the cellar. The “Tinaia” (fermentation cellar), was built in 1938 by architect, Giovanni Michelucci.
CAPEZZANA CULINARY CENTER & VINSANTERIA
Visits are organized upon reservation and include a guided tour of the olive press, the grand underground wine cellars and the “Vinsanteria” (Wine Bar). The Capezzana estate also offers wine tastings daily and weekly culinary courses. Their chef educates on the fundamentals of Tuscan cuisine and assists participants in the preparation of special recipes, part of their most ancient culinary traditions.