Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano, Piedmont

Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano is revered as one of Serralunga d’Alba’s founding fathers, and after whose family the largest square in the village is justly honoured: ‘Piazza Cappellano’. Founded in 1870, the Cappellano family led by lawyer Filippo owned 150 ‘giornate’, or 60 hectares, around the village. His son Giovanni developed the family estate, renovating the vineyards and finding the time to build two hotels in Alba. For his ‘travails’ Giovanni’s vineyard was awarded bronze at the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition, which enabled him to developed sales (of grapes?!) in a French market devastated by phylloxera. Giuseppe, Giovanni’s brother, graduated as a chemist. Consequently he leaned more towards the more pharmaceutical side of wine production, inventing none other than Barolo Chinato; a fortified ‘aromatizzato’ wine that combines fine Barolo and spirit steeped in twenty herbs.

Unfortunately Giovanni died in 1912 of a disease contracted while in Tunisia searching for phylloxera resistant vines. Giuseppe took over the running of the family estate. The responsibility was then passed down to Francesco Augusto Cappellano, an enologist, and then to his son Teobaldo, who returned from life in Eritrea to scale down the estate during the 1960s and to focus on high quality Barolo and Barolo Chinato; the latter at that time facing competition from mass-market imitations.

Augusto Cappellano succeeded his father Teobaldo in 2009, renovating the cellars and focussing his energy on the great vineyard of Gabutti, from which their two Barolo wines: the more generous ‘Rupestris’ and the rare, ungrafted ‘Piede Franco’ wines are derived. Vinification is naturally traditional, using cement and slavonian botte grande. And of course he continues to continues in the family tradition of hand-making their original Barolo Chinato.

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