Il Caberlot vertical – during WWS 2012 (Villa D’este, Lake Como): A hint of Loire cab franc but only a slight green note, black pepper, earth, mineral, incense, lavender, blackberry and cassis. Excellent concentration, unctuous yet silky palate and good acidity. Still primary. Although ripe nose and round palate the overall expression is pretty cool.
Opened 12 hours before being served and then splashed into a decanter 30 mins before serving, this wine was poured into Zalto Burgundy glasses and accompanied a Dean Fearing recipe of Beef Tenderloin marinated 30 hours in Black-strap Molasses with Keller's creamy rich White Truffle Risotto. The wine was truly amazing with hints of spicy dark cabernet-like fruit and was without doubt the WOTN of the 7 wines drunk this particular evening. This wine is only available in magnum and double magnum and can easily rest in a cellar for decades.
A masterpiece! The nose is so complex and fully packed of dark mature fruit, white pepper, thyme, sage and subtle gentle violets - the floral component adding a lot to the complexity. The palate is clean and structured and above all provides a very nice integration between its different components. The Caberlot is easily mistaken for a Cabernet blend, but there is a "rough elegance" making it very unique. This wine will continue to evolve for a decade or two, but surely it provides immense pleasure tonight! (My WOTN despite not getting the "highest" score this wine came very close to being a true revelation!)
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Through years of trial, tribulation, exploration, error, wonderment and over 1,000,000 words transcribed to keyboard, I'm allowed a certain open door in the vinous world and most of that results in the ability to offer you a cache of the unusual and undiscovered. In that spirit, today’s vertical is a privilege and an honor for me to offer and I’ve saved it for a time when good tidings come in many shapes and sizes.
Today, that shape and size is a magnum – three magnums to be precise.
Il Caberlot may be the most famous Italian wine you’ve never heard of. Exceedingly rare, precious and unique, this singular wine is produced from the only vineyard of its type in the world (planted with the Caberlot grape) - it is only produced in magnum and the winery parts with every bottle they have in the blink of an eye. Having tasted vintages back to 1990, it is worth every penny for us to acquire and for you to experience.
First discovered in Northern Italy 40-50 years ago, Caberlot was identified as a bizarre mix of Cabernet Franc and Merlot – almost as though Haut Brion fused its elements into one vine. It has remained in isolation, in the nursery of Bordini and has been planted only once – at Il Carnasciale atop a miniscule one acre plateau on their Tuscan property (thus the rarity). As legend goes, the first plantings of Caberlot were intermingled and buried at Il Carnasciale with an unopened bottle of 1978 Sassicaia – telling indeed. Produced by the amazing Bettina Rogosky (now with the help of Peter Schilling and the poetic Moritz), Il Caberlot is a living legend.
As far as vintages are concerned, 2006 and 2007 are the most noteworthy overall campaigns in Tuscany since 1988 and 1990. The interesting fact for Il Caberlot is the rarity and worth of the 2005 – a vintage the winery (and those that have tasted it) believe could be among the finest they’ve ever produced.
How do I properly describe this wine? It isn’t easy, even for someone as verbose as I. The wine cannot be placed as anything but itself – spice and the wild hillside mix with a green, Franc-like note that often pervades in early youth but don’t be fooled – this is more terroir than worry and time turns Il Caberlot into a crisscross of wine humanity that touches the nerve and the soul while expressing a supreme elegance and utterly specific slice of Mercatale that its neighbors fail to achieve. James Suckling has described this aromatic as “lemongrass” and that is quite on-point For me it is closest to a wonderful fresh bowl of Tom Yum (with kaffir lime leaf, coriander and Thai basil) inhaled with a touch of Ricola and serpentine red fruit woven in for good measure. You will undoubtedly find other dimensions in Il Caberlot but that is exactly what motivates Bettina in each vintage – to deliver something that is singular to everyone that tastes it.
As far as reviews, so much has been written about Il Caberlot that the list is too long to re-print (you can look up WS, WA, etc along with any number of European journals). In addition, I would check community notes on all Il Caberlot vintages to get a broader idea of the style. In the end, if you purchase First Growth Bordeaux, Masseto, La Ricolma, Solaia, et al, this wine deserves its rightful place in your cellar as it has the uncanny potential to eclipse all but the very few. It is also a renown blind wine in a tasting of heavy-hitters.
I realize Il Caberlot is expensive but so so is 2009 La Mission Haut Brion? This is one wine where the discussion of pricing makes me wince as its educational potential serves to eclipse our ordinary reservations with wine cost. In addition, the US has some of the more attractive tariffs on Il Caberlot in the world (granted, we only receive a handful of 1.5’s) – individual magnums routinely command $300-400+ in Europe, and they increase in value quickly (the 2004 has already eclipsed and so on).
This vertical parcel is directly from the cellars at Il Carnasciale with their personal good tidings and wishes for a wonderful new year. They have never before offered a three bottle set in this fashion, which makes today’s offer even more interesting.
EXTREMELY LIMITED – only a few dozen magnums are exported to the US every year...
Il Caberlot Magnum Vertical (3 x 1.5lt – Il Carnasciale) - 1 x 2005 1 x 2006 1 x 2007
(please note: this is not Carnasciale “Il Carnasciale”, that is in the range. In addition, while you may be able to piece together each vintage of this vertical, it would not be with this level of cellar-direct provenance which is the most important element of all)
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This parcel is set to depart from Mercatale – it will arrive in early February (please check OARS for local pick up after Feb 15th). It will ship during the Spring shipping season.
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Jon Rimmerman Garagiste Seattle, WA
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