Drink Distinct: Wines & Producers

A Place In Chianti History

If this photo of me with Paolo Cianferoni, the owner/winemaker of Azienda Agricola Caparsa appears blurry, it’s because he never stands still for a second. He talks a blue streak as well. But keep up and you can get a glimpse into why this remarkable man and his family produce utterly profound Chianti Classico.


Paolo is so knowledgeable about the history of this Tuscan region and its noble grape, Sangiovese that you might think his family has been producing wines for centuries. When in fact, his father bought the property in 1965.


And Paolo is as concerned about the future as the past. Like many estates, he farms organically and sustainably. But Paolo also is a strong advocate for conservation of this beautiful land. Yesterday, I saw on Facebook that he volunteered to be part of a trash collecting team on the roads of Radda. Maybe some of it is self-serving. He claims to drink a liter of wine each day, “so I must ensure it is good for me.”


As for quality, he is so particular about the composition of his wines that he sells two-thirds of his grape production and only works with his best crops.


Paolo’s 17th century cellar seems to house every imaginable vessel so he can constantly experiment. Currently, he is fascinated by the neutral effects of cement tanks.


I was mesmerized by this man and captivated by his wines. His dedication to tradition is admirable, which makes tasting across vintages a wonderful study in terroir. 


When the time came to determine which of his wines we would offer to our VDLT members, there was a clear standout. Not because we thought the quality was better than the rest, but because one wine - Caparsino Chianti Classico Riserva - from one vintage - 2011 - seemed to so aptly and beautifully represent this estate and the Cianferoni family.


We don’t usually hyper-focus like this,  but for now at least, a single offering. 100% new clone Sangiovese, which has been aging in bottle for more than 4 years after 2 1/2 years in large old casks. It is a wine of dichotomy - simultaneously profound and delicious and refined yet sauvage from the spontaneously fermenting wild yeast and bacteria.


You can taste the tradition, history and dedication in this wine from the noble farmer in Caparsino...and over the years, it will reveal even more.