Cafaggio sits in the famed Conca d’Oro in Panzano in Chianti. I’ve written about this incredibly picturesque estate in the past. But somehow, Cafaggio flies under the radar. It’s famed contemporaries, Fontodi and Castello dei Rampolla seem to attract more attention when Panzano comes to mind. Yet in its quiet, understated manner, the wines of Cafaggio remain remarkably consistent.
The estate has a long and rich history that dates to 1408. The property has changed hands several times since then; most recently in 2016 when a Trento based financial services company acquired the estate. They rebranded “Villa Cafaggio” to “Basilica Cafaggio” and as a result, some initial consumer confusion ensued. However, the winemaking team and the wines remain unchanged.
The property encompasses 65 hectares of which 40 are planted to vineyards. The remainder are devoted to olive groves, the winery and offices. A total of six different wines are produced with the focus on single vineyard, Cru productions. In addition to Chianti Classico, three separate Riservas are produced. Beyond that, single vineyard Crus of Merlot and Cabernet are also crafted. The subject of this article is the latter which stands out for its high quality to price ratio.
The 2015 Cafaggio Basilica del Cortaccio is a single vineyard, 100% Cabernet from a 4 hectare vineyard that was planted in 1989. Deep garnet with violet reflections, this organic Cabernet displays focused aromas of black plum, black raspberry, mint and toasted spices. On the palate, this is medium to full bodied but exudes an almost soft, elegant nature to its tannic structure. Flavors of black plum, leather and toasted spices mingle together in a very pleasing, drinkable fashion. The notes of leather remind me of my tasting of Il Pareto with Giovanni Folonari, whose Nozzole estate is not far from Panzano.
Cortaccio is vinified in stainless steel and then ages for 16 months in used French barrique. The wine rests in bottle for 6 months before release. At this price, this is hard to beat. 91 points. Find this wine and Support Tuscan Vines.
Is this 2015 a Cellar Sentinel? With an average price around $30, the link above makes a compelling argument. Especially given the excellence of the vintage.