and now for something completely different…

Over the last two weeks I’ve been out and about in the trade in Sydney and Melbourne pouring two very unusual wines. So different that I could safely announce “I’m about to pour you a glass of something made from a variety that you have never tasted before”.

The wines of Podere Il Carnasciale have never before been available in Australia, indeed given their scarcity they are difficult to find just about anywhere in the world. The vineyards are planted to a single variety, or hybrid, known as ‘Caberlot’. If you guessed Caberlot sounds like a cross between Cabernet and Merlot, you’d be right!

Here’s a comment from Antonio Galloni on the wines: “Over the years Il Carnasciale has acquired cult status among readers who crave the finest Tuscany has to offer, and rightly so. These are some of the most unique wines from Italy. The tiny production is typically snapped up by those in the know, but the wines really do merit the effort required to find them. “

Established in 1986 by Wolf and Bettina Rogosky, Podere Il Carnasciale is situated in the Valdarno valley, east of Chianti, thirty kilometres from Arezzo and sixty kilometres south of Florence. The devastating frost of 1985 presented the Rogosky’s with an opportunity to replant their small estate with vines instead of olives. In consultation with Vittorio Fiore, they set out to produce a wine of truly unique character. Caberlot was first identified in the late 1960’s in an abandoned vineyard near Padua (Veneto) by agronomist Dr. Remigio Bordini. While the grape has the organoleptic characteristics of Cabernet Franc, its ampelographic profile is closer to Merlot, resulting in a wine that combines the aromatics and structure of the former with the fruit of the latter.

The first vineyard, a mere 0.3 hectares, was planted in 1986 and today there are just 2.1 hectares under vine. Work in the vineyard is carried out with utmost respect for the land, entirely by hand, with the yields from each parcel, and actually each day of picking, fermented individually. The malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel followed by ageing in 70-80 new barriques for 22 months; one third each Allier, Vosges and Troncais oak.

Prior to bottling, a tasting of each barrel is conducted to determine the most complex wines, built to age, Il Caberlot, from the more approachable wines, to be labelled Carnasciale.

Il Caberlot is bottled manually and unfiltered in magnums only, which are aged a further 18 month before release and Bettina hand numbers about 3300 magnums.

Carnasciale, having seen the same vinification and care as Il Caberlot, is a true second wine and released after six months ageing in bottle. Depending on the vintage, there are between 3-4000 bottles of Carnasciale.

Wolf Rogosky passed away in 1996, but Bettina and son Moritz, together with winemaker Peter Schilling, continue to craft one of the world’s most singular wines. We are proud to have a small allocation for Australia, along with their stunning Extra Virgin Olive Oil, beautifully presented in a ceramic flask.