Wednesday, September 28, 2022

MacCurtain Wine Cellar and Tuscany’s Capezzana, with a quartet of stunning reds, combine to spread a warming cheer on a miserable wet night in the city.


MacCurtain Wine Cellar and Tuscany’s Capezzana (with a quartet of stunning reds) combine to spread a warming cheer on a miserably wet night in the city. 

It wasn’t just the wine on Tuesday. There was a warm welcome from Sean Gargano and his crew at the Cellar. They also came up with some excellent small plates. Even tried to keep the summer going with a delicious Pet Nat (from the Veneto).

Sean, co-owner with Trudy Ahern,  did emphasise that wine always comes first here, that the food is secondary. In fairness, though, the food we were served was top notch and quite appropriate to the wines.

Soon, we got down to the serious (not really!) business of tasting those wines with gentle guidance from Pierpaolo Guerra of Capezzana who was accompanied by Marcus Gates of importers Liberty Wines.

Sweet potato

First up was their “baby wine, the everyday drinking wine”, the Barco Real di Carmignano 2019, a youthful, light and easy drinking blend of Sangiovese (75%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Canaiolo and Cabernet Franc. Pierpaulo explained that French grapes have a very long history here as we sipped this aromatic and fruity wine with a spicy finish. 

Barco Real is called the “Baby” because the fruit is sourced from slightly younger fruit and also spends less time in oak than the Villa di Capezzana 2018 that we would meet next. This was certainly a little more serious, full bodied with a concentrated finish and a slight touch of peppery spice. Again it is a traditional blend, this of Sangiovese (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon.

By the way, all their wines (even their superb olive oils) are organic. Sean made a point of this as organic is “very important to us” at MacCurtain Street Wine Cellar.

Speck and Macroom Mozzarella

Sean makes a point
Next on the list was the Ugo Contini Bonacossi 2016 from a vineyard where conditions are ideal for growing Sangiovese, the only varietal in this excellent wine. It has aromas of cherries and a touch of spice, red fruit abound on the palate and the full bodied beauty has a lengthy finish.

We finished with the Ghiaie della Furba. This 2018 had a tough growing season but all ended well. The yield was lower than normal (down 40%) but the quality was excellent. And so was the fruit and spice from the oak in the aromas; it was full bodied and balanced in the mouth and again a long and fruity finish. 

It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Syrah (35%) and Merlot (25%). Not quite a Bordeaux blend but a good one!

Mortadela (left in sandwich) and Spicy Sausage

The Capezzana estate, 24 km north west of Florence, is owned by the Conti Contini Bonacossi family. The family is mentioned in a contract dating back to 804 AD, written at the time of Charlemange. So they have been there a long long time and now a new generation is firmly in charge and,  going by these wines, making an excellent job of it.

In contrast to the ancient vineyard, the MacCurtain Wine Cellar is just a baby, a few months only. But already you can see that Sean and Trudy have give the intimate venue quite a personality. Look out for similar events in the months ahead!

Rainy night out. Red wine in

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