Challenge between kings of wine: Caprai and Hofstätter compared

Evening event in the vineyard at Mazon, including blind tastings and unexpected sensory journeys

09 July 2020
Montefalco (PG)

The 'King of Sagrantino' Marco Caprai and the 'King of Pinot Noir' Martin Foradori Hofstätter exchanged friendly blows over blind tastings and goodies from their personal cellars.

The deus ex machina of the Arnaldo Caprai winery in Montefalco (Umbria) and the representative of the fourth generation at the helm of the estate in Tramin-Termeno (Alto Adige) decided to compare territories, winemaking techniques, indigenous grape varieties and winemaking philosophies in an evening dedicated to sommeliers, wine enthusiasts and experts. Among the protagonists of the event was also sommelier and wine writer Raffaele Fischetti.

The meeting was held last 9 July in a territory that is anything but neutral, namely the Barthenau estate in the heart of the Mazon plateau, among the Pinot Noir vineyards of the Hofstätter house.

It was precisely the demanding red grape variety that was the focus of the 'blind' confrontation: if Hofstätter played his ace with the Barthenau Vigna S. Urbano Pinot Noir, Caprai responded in the goblet with his Malcompare, 100% Pinot Noir from the Signature Line, one of the wines born with the collaboration, in 2015, with Michel Rolland, an expression of a continuous drive for experimentation and innovation that is based on a profound and tireless work of research and enhancement of terroir. The vintage was for both 2016which marked peaks of excellence for both wine-growing areas.  

Always 'blind' too on the two declinations of Sauvignon. La freshness and intensity are those of the ups and downs of Montefalco for Caprai's Sauvignon and those of High mountain vineyards for Hofstätter's Oberkerschbaum Sauvignon which originates from a plot on the farm of the same name in Pochi di Salorno, between 750 and 800 metres above sea level. The vintage was the 2018with its hot and dry summer, which led to an early ripening and a consequent challenging harvest that nevertheless paid off.

In the goblets two producers' experiments blindly: a very personal label for Hofstätter who opens the doors of his private cellar with an amphora-aged Gewürztraminer, the result of an experiment never put on the market, vintage 2009. Caprai amazed instead with the Ice Wine Umbria IGT 1996 (blends of Sauvignon Cheney Viognier and Chardonnay Muscat) The two producers, who have always been committed to identifying their estates with their respective territories, have also chosen to shine the spotlight on the labels that best tell the roots of their viticulture: Steinraffler VineyardLagrein the native of Hofstätter and, inevitably, the choice of Caprai focusing on Sagrantino di Montefalco, a variety that has embroidered the rolling hills of the Umbrian town for over 400 years and for which this winery deserves credit for having recovered it and brought it to a new renaissance. For the occasion, we tasted the Sagrantino of the Signature Line, the acclaimed (and much sought-after), Spinning Beauty.

Few other wineries in Italy and around the world are immediately identified just by mentioning the name of the denomination to which they belong, like Arnaldo Caprai, itself a symbol of Sagrantino di Montefalco. A unique reality, synonymous with Italian excellence, capable of creating wines that are out of the ordinary in terms of depth, elegance and longevity: not only reds, but also whites. The credit for this adventure that began in the late 1970s goes to Marco Caprai, Arnaldo's son. It was he, in fact, more than anyone else who believed in the richness of Sagrantino, reinterpreting it in a modern key, through the most innovative production and business management methods, which have enabled him to win the favour of the public and critics all over the world. Not to be outdone by the whites: Arnaldo Caprai's Grecante, 100% Grechetto, managed to conquer Wine Spectator's Top100.
A great company, Arnaldo Caprai, that guards a green soul, considering issues concerning sustainability, protection and safeguarding the environment as fundamental. The point of observation always remains the same: trying to behave in harmony with natural evolution cycles, preserving and enhancing the territory in which it operates. This is why the company decided to create an Environmental Management System that complies with international regulations, developing a voluntary territorial protocol of environmental, economic and social sustainability of the production process.
It is in this unparalleled context that wines of unforgettable substance are born, complex and elegant, capable of narrating the best of an entire region, Umbria.


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