Maybe it is the “Prosecco effect” but there are definitely many Champagne producers offering their bottles at really incredible prices. Will the myth of the most famous bubbles in the world resist?
By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Toscana, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne
If we consider that the grapes for Champagne cost 6€ per Kg and the production costs about 9€ to which taxes must be added, it is difficult to understand how a bottle of French bubbly can be sold at 10 Euro. But it happens. We must consider that these wines cannot be sold not bottled, it must finish its time on yeasts in the production area until the degorgement and the capping with the traditional mushroom shaped cork. So the large distribution chains buy in bottle from the wineries. However there is a short cut: the sales “sur latte” , when the wine is still on the yeasts and before the recapping. A system that is useful to give liquidity to wineries and get the less prestigious cuvées out even if with a great sacrifice in price. Obviously, these quantities of wine, that generally bear a label of a chain of supermarkets, are qualitatively worse, and because of their low prices, damage the Champagne reputation.
Spumante or Champagne
For this reason Toubart of the Syndicate des Vignerons, said to Wine Searcher “Champagne’s strength is that it is a beverage that is consumed on special occasions; because of its relatively high price, it has always been a rarity, to be treasured. Price dumping endangers this, it can turn Champagne in to a commodity>>
.How can we say he is wrong, in fact the price too is a message. However the idea of getting rid of shop owners and distributors fearing to end up like Cognac where 4 buyers control the entire brand, does not seem applicable. Read more…
Excellent reviews regarding our Casato Prime Donne Brunello 2012 from Wine Advocate, Jancis Robinson, James Suckling and Vinous
The two Brunello 2012 produced by Donatella Cinelli Colombini are really liked by all and are among the best ever produced at Casato Prime Donne. This vintage, labeled a 5 star one, has divided the International press, the only sure thing is that its extreme pleasantness, which will make restaurateurs happy as already after a few moments from the uncorking of the bottle, it presents complex aromas and pleasing sensations
The two Brunello from Casato Prime Donne are born in the coolest side on the Montalcino hill, where in 2012 a great heat wave arrived. The fact that we are in a cooler area, the preparation of the soil, and that in winter we grow beans between the rows, while in July and August we do frequent ploughings, have permitted the production of high quality Brunello.
Here below you find the ratings by Monica Larner from Wine Advocate – Robert Parker Jr and then following those of other wine critics.
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO 2012 PRIME DONNE 94+
Shows floral notes of pressed violet or red rose petal that distinguish it from its peers. Those delicate tones are very much in line with Sangiovese despite the hot growing season. Background notes of cassis dried plums and spice fill in the rear. A dry mineral note that recalls polished river stone or crushed granite also appears. This wine boasts a terrific bouquet that is infused with elegance and grace. The mouthfeel is polished and streamlined. The persistence is slightly shorter than 2010but this wine more than makes up for this thanks to the high quality of its aromas. Anticipated maturity 2018-2030. Read more…
There are many reasons to use an organic regime in the vineyards in an environmentally friendly way, I am though doubtful about the elimination of sulfites from the cellar
By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne
The main reason to cultivate a vineyard in an organic or biodynamic way is the grape growers love for his plants and his wish to see them in a perfect equilibrium. In a way a similar sentiment as for a child. To have healthy vines, able to react to the sun and to the adversities of the climate and so can give grapes of superior quality, this should be the second motive. In fact a study carried out by the prestigious University of California Los Angeles UCLA (it has 3 Nobel Prize winners among its past students) upon a sample of 74.000 wine tasted by Wine Advocate-Robert Parker, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator revealed that the average rating on red wines made with organic and biodynamic grapes is 5,6 points higher with respect to the rest. An advantage that decreases by 1,3 points for white wines. A powerful sign that ought to be considered with attention by those who aim at producing excellent wines.
The reasons to choose a regime that respects nature are also dictated by the desire that one has to live in the midst of the vineyards . Without touching the situations where there is true pollution such as those shown on the France 2 Cash Investigation program in February 2016 in the Bordeaux area, where the analysis carried out on kids hair revealed the absorption of prohibited and cancerous substances, there is a new awareness regarding the environment that pusher all of us to live in a healthy ambiance. Environments which have been put at risk by farming practices where chemicals are used even in a controlled manner such as the “lutte raisonnée”.
In the same way, whoever practices organic farming, realizes that it is not enough for u s to be able to deliver a natural environment to future generations, we must do more. Copper is a polluting metal, its use in the Vineyard must be diminished. It is on the other hand necessary to learn how to use mushrooms, mating disruption, increase in the predator population already present I the environment to create biological to reinforce the plants’ “immune defenses” and also turn to other natural methods like using seaweed. Read more…
Passito 2105: a sweet masterpiece born from a vineyard that is 50 years old, that is cultivated organically and that grows thanks to Carlo and Barbara’s attentions
An exclusive production to which Carlo Gardini, Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s husband dedicates assiduous care and attention together with Barbara Magnani the cellar master. The Sanchimento vineyard from her the Passito grapes come is nearly 50 years old and it is the oldest at Fattoria del Colle. This age gives the wine elements of finesse, complexity and minerality.
This is an artisan Passito made with a lot of passion and nothing else. Carlo and Barbara fuss over the crates where the Traminer grapes are put as if they were baby cribs. They move them according to the sun, they shelter them inside if it rains and they check every cluster every day to be sure that the natural drying proceeds perfectly. A very big job for just 120 litres of production, justified only by the great passion that the pair has for sweet wines.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini does not share their enthusiasm, quite the contrary for her a wine must have a nice intense ruby colour, so she does not take part in the tastings where Carlo and Barbara taste Sauternes, Tokay moulded wines and Passito from all over the world. Fortunately not everybody feels the same as Donatella and their efforts have been rewarded by 93/100 for the 2013 production from the important US magazine “Wine Advocate”.
The Passito comers from deep and well drained soils, from quaternary era, characterized by clay in also in conglomerate form. The Traminer vineyard is cultivated in organic regime. It is next to the Chapel at Fattoria del Colle, 404 m above sea level. Read more…
On April 1st I met the Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, who charmed me off my feet. I assure you it is not an April fools, quite the contrary here I tell you all
By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Toscana, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne
We producers we called to meet at 6 pm, but the royal couple arrived two hours later. Allegra Antinori, Jacopo Biondi Santi, Leonardo Frescobaldi, Vittorio Moretti from Petra, Giuseppe Mazzacolin from Felsina, Giovanni Manetti from Fontodi …. All ready to serve bottles that were impeccably presented by the sommeliers of FIS Fondazione Italiana Sommelier duided by Franco Ricci in person. The setting was spectacular: Villa San Michele, a terrace over Florence with a facade decorated by Michelangelo. The panorama is similar to that seen from my home, where in the 14th century Giovanni Boccaccio set the scene of the “Ninfale fiesolano”, on the other hand maybe my view of Florence is better, but I do not have the exquisite elegance of the halls of this exclusive and romantic hotel. Maybe it is because of this luxury that Prince Charles and his wife Camilla have chosen it for
Donatella-CinelliColombini, FrancoRicci-Sommelier-FIS-AllegraAntinori- JacopoBiondiSanti-Leonardo-Frescobaldi-VittorioMoretti-Petra-GiuseppeMazzacolin-Felsina-GiovanniManetti-Fontodi
their Italian stay.
I was expecting a somewhat sad character, someone frozen by etiquette but surprisingly Prince Charles was delightful, with a stupendously British “sense of humour” and an ability to mingle with people fruit of a life dedicated to his nation. He is an extraordinary ambassador for the United Kingdom, people love him. When I told him that my Brunello Riserva came from a winery staffed only by women he laughed thinking about how it might be cosseted but he was incredible curious about the organic regime in the vineyards <<is it difficult here for you? And how do you cure diseases?> he wanted to know. Read more…