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Delhi Wine Club
Co-Capo of Carpineto

Posted: Monday, 15 October 2012 11:54

Passing By: Co-Capo of Carpineto

October 15: Antonio Zaccheo, owner of the Greve in Chianti-based wine group Carpineto, was in Delhi for a couple of days last week to visit his importer Ace Beveragez and some of the F & B customers when Subhash Arora met him at an exclusive dinner last Wednesday at the Diva Restaurant where he shared the Carpineto Code and wines like Dogajolo, Chianti Classico Reserva, Farnito and Vin Santo with an exquisite dinner.

When I meet him for dinner at Diva Restaurant, the first thing Antonio clarifies up front is that he is  the co-owner of the company he and his partner Giancarlo Sacchet founded together in 1967 in Greve, Chianti. ‘Our passion and mission was to produce a world-class red wine from the Chianti Classico appellation, that would be easy to drink and when demand increased, we would take up the production gradually, keeping the prices always reasonable.’  It is strictly a family run winery with both daughters of Sacchet and Antonio’s son and daughter involved in the wine activities. While Antonio looks after sales and exports and meeting customers, Giancarlo focuses on the winemaking.

This approach was a radical departure from the industry at the time when most Chianti was still produced in the traditional winemaking style, he says. Carpineto recognized the untapped potential of the Tuscan landscape to produce great wines. ‘By applying modern viticulture and winemaking techniques, we dramatically exceeded the quality standards of the day,’ he adds.

The 2.5 million bottle company (over 20,000 cases) was not hit too much by recession except in 2008, because of the export reliance of the company - it exports 90% of the production. ‘We cannot handle sudden boom either though we are now aiming for 3 million bottles. We have been planning grapes for this growth for the last couple of years. Our philosophy is that even if we do larger numbers, quality must remain the same. Quality is a religion for us,' he says while admitting that they buy about 10% of the grape requirements.

This is the second marriage and alliance for Carpineto in India; Sanjay Menon of Sonarys was the first importer (the Italian Wine Guide 2007, co-authored by me, listed Sonarys as the importer who imported wider range of wines including the Super Tuscan Farnito and Chianti Classico as also Dogajolo, the young Super Tuscans).

The Red Dog

Undoubtedly, the most popular and one of the best value-for-money Super Tuscans coming out of the Montepulciano winery - the biggest out of the four wineries they own now is Dogajolo (pronounced ‘though-ga-yyolo’) - the company sells 700,000 bottles of the red wine, known popularly as the ‘Dog’ in the USA because of difficulty in pronouncing the label . About 200,000-250,000 bottles of White Dogajolo are produced. ‘About 95% of our production is red wine since that is the established superior variety of our region. But since the Red became so popular, we decided to make the white blend also because of the demand from our customers,’ says Antonio.

The Rose cousin has also been released from this year. The Dog may not have become extremely popular in India so far but it is about to celebrate 20 years next year. Customers around the world would see the bottles being specially labeled. It will perhaps have become an extremely popular Italian brand in India by then.

An interesting packaging for the Red Dog is the 3 liter bottle - the double magnum. It looks very impressive and attractive with the colourful label on it. Rather than coming out with a fancy story about the origin, Antonio is quick to share,’ Our Dogajolo became so popular that  one day we thought that the label that looked so attractive  would look even better on a double magnum bottle. We started making small quantity in this packaging which has become extremely popular throughout the world. As confirmed by Sandip Parsan, director of Ace Beveragez, they have already imported 4 times their initial estimate and are now air-lifting more of these bottles to meet the sudden and unexpected demand.

Commendable Carpineto Code

The genesis of an affordable yet delicious wine like Dogajolo is in the Carpineto Code. Both Antonio and Giancarlo are so committed to quality that Antonio carries with him a 4-page small flyer that he gives me too; it describes exclusively what they call the Carpineto Code (Codice Carpineto in Italian and Carpineto Stil in German are in the same flyer). The code is simple yet tells all about their wine-making philosophy:

·  Bouquets and Flavours that are clean, yet well defined
·  Absence of aggressive perceptions
·  Smooth and velvety sensations not due to residual sugars
·  Longevity and High digestibility

The Code shows extremely well in both the White Dog and the Red. White is so smooth and clean that it tastes like ‘mother’s milk’.  A blend of Chardonnay, Grechetto and Sauvignon Blanc, it has floral aromas, medium body and is pleasantly dry. It is a fruity wine with fresh acidity that makes you salivate with a ‘Yeh dil maange more’ feeling. I had to firmly stop the waiter from pouring me more after three glasses as I wanted to taste the Red Dog and the other three wines following - The Chianti Classico Reserva 2007, Farnito 2007 (100% Cabernet) and the deliciously sweet and balanced Vin Santo 1995.

The Red Dogajolo 2010 was similarly a very well rounded wine with velvety texture and without aggressive tannins even though it has been in new oak for over 4 months, according to Antonio. This young Super Tuscan is already drinking very well but will age well for the next 5 years or so, according to him. The other reds will age for 10-20 years depending upon the vintage.

To achieve the objectives of the code the company follows certain production codes which are also a part of the Carpineto Code. ‘No use of additives is made and we follow the organic wine laws,’ he says.

Staying Young

‘Wine is everything for me; it is not business but a lifestyle for me. It keeps me young’, says the 68-year old who travels throughout the globe to market his wines. He was in New Delhi for a couple of days on his way home after visiting Japan, Korea and Thailand. This was his second visit to India, the first being over 7-8 years ago when Sanjay Menon was the importer, he tells me. ‘All our export markets are growing slowly and steadily.’ It must be a matter of pride for Carpineto that their Farnito is the best sold Italian Cabernet in Canada. ‘We sell in all the provinces and it has also been chosen as the Best Italian Cabernet in Canada.’  It’s no surprise that Canada is their biggest export market - a rare feat considering that sales in different provinces have to be made through independent monopolies. North America, then Germany, Switzerland and Australia are good markets too, though he admits that China is a difficult market.

We don’t have to travel all-year round to stay young but we certainly can keep fit and healthy by drinking a glass or two (I must warn you to stop at three… ok, four occasionally) of the affordable Dog daily. Even Chianti Classico qualifies for once-a-week wine. I am not sure how far Antonio and Ace are willing to promote Farnito, the excellent Super Tuscan-a bit expensive but a ‘Best in Class’ wine.

If you would like to share some of his experiences, you may visit their website or contact Antonio Zaccheo, co-owner of Carpineto, directly at

Subhash Arora


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