Oak's influence: Capanelle's Solare

On Friday my wife and I had a vertical tasting of Capannelle’s Solare, '14, '16, '18, and we were really trying to understand the oak impact. Solare is a 80/20 blend of Sangiovese and Malvasia Nera. IMO the '16 had the best structure/complexity/potential, but the '14 was more drinkable now. Because it was a very bright sunny day in their garden it was beautiful to see the orange color flow in ruby/garnet pour–not in the 18, visible in the 16, very apparent in the 14.

The vinification was in large Slavonian oak conical vats.
The maturation is 18 months in barrique–I don’t have good notes on this because the cellar tour focused more on the CC Riserva process–but I think it was 20% to 25% new french oak.
'18 spec sheet: https://web.capannelle.it/en/shop/solare/
Their TN: “Intense dark ruby colour with purple rim. On the nose aromas of raspberry, cherry, tobacco and dark chocolate. Mineral palate with smooth and elegant tannins.” I agree.

We had a good discussion with our host (not the winemaker) but she couldn’t really help answer whether the tobacco smell came from the grape through the process of maturing, or if it was imparted by the wood.

The WF tasting wheel guide to tertiary notes (independent of grape variety) has tobacco in general aging and cigar box in oak aging.
Screenshot 2024-04-22 093649

@larry_schaffer in 2013 said “there is no consensus at all” on what an “oaked wine” means. (In our tasting the aromas were more easier to discern that the taste. We got the tobacco, leather, cigar box, a vanilla/butterscotch. In the '14 I noted smoke aroma.) Other posters agreed in was a confusing, complicated topic and that “oak flavors” can come from yeast, seeds, stems, and that the European and American palates might differ.


Our host response to % new oak:

In our cellar we use barriques and tonneau of french oak, both medium toasted.

As I told you also during the tour of the cellar, during the aging we do not only use new oak. The wine ages 33% in new oak, 33% in second passage oak (2 yo), 33% in third passage oak (3-4 yo).

This is a choice of Simone Monciatti, our wine maker, to give the wine the right amount of tannin and antioxidants without distorting the floral and fruity taste of the wine.