The Mountain Times

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Italy's most sought after wines

Among the thousands of different wine grapes in Italy, there are only few that most people know, like Barbera, Nebbiolo, Montepulciano, Pinot Grigio, and most importantly Sangiovese with its many different clones.

And there are a few that are so rare, they hardly ever make it to the American table. One of these is an oddity called 'Caberlot'.
Until 2005, this Tuscan wine existed only by name for American wine lovers. Bottled exclusively in magnum, only two 'Enotecas' (wine shops or tasting rooms) out of a thousand or more in Tuscany get any, and restaurant allocations are limited to some of the most exclusive restaurants in Florence or Paris. There are some wine clubs in Florence where each member can buy one magnum per year, a privilege handed down from generation to generation. And not until 2005 after years of requests and negotiations were a few cases sent to the United States Caberlot is a very unique clone with a fascinating story.

Named "Caberlot," the grape has characteristics of both Cabernet and Merlot, hence its name. Caberlot's discoverer, the agronomist Remigio Bordini, has allowed the vine to be planted just one place outside his nursery: at a Tuscan estate called 'Il Carnasciale'. The vineyard lies atop a rocky, south-facing hillside above Tuscany's Arno River. To limit yields it is planted at a very low 4,000 vines per acre and pruned to a scarce five clusters per plant. And local lore tells of a buried bottle of Sassicaia under the first planted vine.

Since the first vintage in1988, Il Caberlot has been a huge cult wine in Europe, its scarcity driven by the vineyard's small size and the great demand among wine aficionados. When the original owner, Wolf Rogosky, passed away in 1996, his wife Bettina carried on the work with her winemaker, Peter Schilling. With time, more vines have been planted, but production remains miniscule. The wine is still bottled by hand, and is held for two years before release. Each bottle has a hand-numbered label.

In 2000 a second wine was introduced, made from younger vines and named "Carnasciale". Il Caberlot is known for an extraordinary perfume, sleek texture and great elegance. With nuances of Graves, Pomerol, and Il Carnasciale's unique terroir, it ranks among the planet's most singular wines. Carnasciale is a perfect example of a second wine. It mirrors its sibling perfectly, on a slightly smaller scale.

It is one of Italy's most sought after wines. Only available in magnums with approximately 1500 cases produced, and if you're able to find a bottle, it'll probably set you back by $300 or more. All class and elegance with layers of black currants and blueberries, and prominent mineral notes, in one word: Caberlot! A unique and rare cult wine.