English version Vines and wines

Bordeaux 2017 vintage, limited but good

The Bordeaux 2017 vintage reserves some surprises to the wineries: limited grapes, excellent ratings but maybe a decrease in prices

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne

Bordeaux 2017 vintage Chateau Margaux

Bordeaux 2017 vintage Chateau Margaux

For Bordeaux 2017 the  en-primeur sales, 9-12 April, show an avalanche of excellent ratings regarding the main Bordeaux chateaux. But after a serious decrease in production because of the frost last year, the 2017 harvest is requested at lower prices by the great  négociants who buy wines from the harvest from wineries to put them on the market in 3 or more years time.

I have just been to Bordeaux and I have seen the vineyards just pruned. The vines that were damaged by the frost were well evident and I am sure that they will produce scarce grapes in 2018 too. A situation that worries greatly the wineries where the cellars contain less barriques than usual.

At Millésima, where I went to present my wines that have just been inserted in their portfolio, I met the CEO Fabrice Bernard. He is one of the BIG buyers at the  en-primeur auctions because Millésima is famous worldwide for having in its catalogue bottles from the greatest Bordeaux chateaux, that have been held in only two cellars:

Millésima-Bordeaux-prestigious wine store

Millésima-Bordeaux-prestigious wine store

the one of origin and his. Bernard’s words have a certain value in the market and he declared to Wine Searcher “I’m expecting prices to come down by 20 to 25 percent” .

The decrease in price reflects the French system of handling the petite vendange – the less perfect vintages. They decrease the price while we, in Brunello, decrease the quantity. In Tuscany we increase the production of  Rosso di Montalcino and leave only the best to the flagship wine. The result is a greater fluctuation in volumes of Brunello but a better consistency in the price and maybe even in the quality. Read more…

Cenerentola Doc Orcia, a wine with a crown

2016  old style harvest that excites wines lovers and puts a crown on the Cenerentola DOC Orcia label

A vintage this 2016 to be framed: depth, complexity, and finesse, and  longevity, characteristics that only a slow ripening of the grapes can give to a wine.

The Sangiovese, main variety used in Cenerentola DOC Orcia (together with Foglia Tonda), produces grapes that are meteoropathic, so can go mad and ruin if the climate is adverse. Its skin is made up of few layers of cells so it needs the help of the sun to express itself at its best. For this reason in the high hills of Southern Toscana, where the climate is dry but cool, Sangiovese has its ideal habitat and reached levels of excellence impossible elsewhere in the world.

Foglia-tonda-donatella-cinelli-colombini-225x300

There were surprises regarding the harvest date too: the vines had sprouted a good 15 days earlier than usual, and everyone, including us, thought that the harvest would have been precocious one. On the contrary already when the veraison happened (changing of the colour of the grapes from green to blue) the calendar of the vegetation cycle was already aligned with the traditional one, then the ripening proceeded regularly and slowly. In 2016 for the first time in a long time, the clusters reached the time of harvest at  a snail’s pace with a mass of sugar in the berries growing slower than the poliphenolic ripening, that of the noble substances in the skins. In 2016 the first semester of the year was very rainy, the soil was hydrated in depth creating reserves for the hot months, but also disturbing the flowering to such a point that the number and dimensions of the clusters  was drastically reduced. Then a topsy-turvy summer arrived. With hot days –over 35°c- alternated by storms of great violence, and the wine producers have been really scared that the hail would arrive. Those who like us were saved from the calamity, have had one of the best harvest man can remember. Read more…

The life of a wine producer: Donatella and her time

Donatella’s race with time, wine producer, wine blogger, president of various associations with an ambition to enjoy the wonderful territory where she lives

Donatella- University- of Pisa-teaching -wine-tourism

Donatella- University- of Pisa-teaching -wine-tourism

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fattoria del Colle – Trequanda, Casato Prime Donne, Montalcino

The worst day is Monday, and the most frenetic periods are those before and after trips abroad. Very long days with one interruption after another.

The arrival of internet has worsened the situation multiplying contacts and making holidays practically eclipse. I receive around 80 emails a day and I send off about 30. I have a very small portable computer that goes everywhere with me a, so I reply to the post even when I am away and have one wine tasting after the other and one appointment after the other. In fact when I am on the other side of the world some people seek my attention like a child pining for its mother and they write to me constantly, and in the end I reply quite curtly. After I am sorry and it takes me days to get the rapport back to normal, but I hate it when people deprive me of time when I want to think , sleep, and do things….. making me feel trapped.

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-Malta

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-Malta

This is how my holidays on my beloved isle of Gozo get reduced to three hours a day, because there is a problem, that to be solved from there takes lots of time. It is practically impossible because in the countryside there is no tradition in making appointments. Cellar staff, grape pickers, sales and tourism staff all come into my office and demand immediate attention, especially my lovely husband and volcanic daughter Violante. Read more…

Wine for dogs, with some ethical doubts

Wine, beer, tea for cats and dogs. Drinks for animals are on the up, rigorously without alcohol. For those who want to drink in the company of their pets

Wine for dogs

Wine for dogs

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, agriturismo pet friendly, Fattoria del Colle

As all pet lovers know cats and dogs cannot drink alcohol, if they do there are great risks for their health. However they adore biscuits, snack etc that pet shops sell in small extremely expensive packets. So, I making the most of the fact that pet owners go mad and buy whatever is liked by their pests the American company Apollo Peak has created a section called Pet Beverage with white , red and sparkling wines. The products have fun names such as mosCato charDOGnay …and include also special tasting glasses for our four legged friends.

Wine-for-dogs-Apollo-Peak

Wine-for-dogs-Apollo-Peak

What is most incredible is the success, products that someone like me dog lover and wine producer, would never ever buy. This is what their message more or less says: you come home tired and you want a cuddle and glass of wine, why not share this pleasure with your cat? Ok, only that the so called wine for cats and dogs made with fruit juices and organic aromatic herbs (among which cat grass), contained in an 8 oz bottle, costs around 10 dollars. Sometimes more than the wine in the owner’s glass. Read more…

My red lion (Leone Rosso) that has been roaring for 400 years

Leone Rosso Doc Orcia a wine that gives pleasure and tells the story of Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s heretic ancestors who built Fattoria del Colle

Leone-Rosso-2015-Fattoria-del-Colle

Leone-Rosso-2015-Fattoria-del-Colle

The rampant lion is engraved at the entrances at Fattoria del Colle , on the ceilings, and on the majolica blazons it is an evident presence and symbol of the long history of this place. It is the emblem of the Socini, or Soccini family, Donatella ancestors who built Fattoria del Colle in 1592. The Socini was a Sienese family of jurists and thinkers, that were rich and prestigious until, Lelio (1525-1562) and Fausto (1539-1604) Socino became important characters in the protestant reform and most of all very much opponents of the dogma of trinity. Still today their names are written in every book on philosophy, but by the church they were considered heretics and so they were forced to escape abroad and brought their family to ruin. In 1919 Donatella’s great-grandfather Livio Socini bought Fattoria del Colle back, quite by chance. Donatella got the estate fro her dad Fausto Cinelli in 1998 and has dedicated to the Socini family the wine she has produced there, “Leone Rosso DOC Orcia.

THE  DOC ORCIA WINE REGION

Fattoria-del-Colle-villa-ceiling

Fattoria-del-Colle-villa-ceiling

The appellation ORCIA was born in the year 2000 in Southern Tuscany, in a vast hilly region that reaches as far as the Crete Senesi going towards Monte Amiata. An area that includes 12 villages, where once the spring frosts damaged the vines one year out of three, and consequently discouraging wine production. Since the beginning of climate changes these frosts have practically disappeared, the last one was in 1997, while the cool climate with practically cold summer nights helps the production of high quality grapes because the ripening is generally slow and regular while the acidic content of the grapes and of the wines is a particular characteristic of the DOC Orcia appellation and a guarantee of longevity.   Read more…

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