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James Suckling Cavaliere della Stella d’Italia

Magnum party with 200 great big bottles to celebrate James Suckling, who has been nominated Cavaliere della Stella D’Italia for having promoted Italian wines the world over

James Suckling Cavaliere della Stella d'ItaliaBy Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

<< I am deeply honoured and touched>>  wrote James Suckling after having received the diploma of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia from the representative of the Italian government in Hong Kong. Recognition much deserved for he who has promoted the knowledge of Italian wines all over the world and especially in Asia for thirty odd years. <<I Hope to be doing it for twenty more years with wines always better>> he said welcoming wine producers from all over Italy come to celebrate him. Among them were Antonio Rallo and Francesca Planeta from Sicily and Anna Abbona (Marchesi di Barolo) and Stefano Gagliardo from Piedmont, but the larger group was certainly from Montalcino, the land that maybe  Suckling loves most and the territory that more than any other he has contributed in promoting.

James Suckling magnum party

James Suckling magnum party

The MAGNUM PARTY took place at the Acquolina restaurant in Terranova Bracciolini, near Suckling’s Tuscan home. It has been the most choral and exclusive party of the Italian wine world, with a selection of wines worth of the host and with the possibility of tasting about 200 larger sized bottles of stellar quality. Tables among the olive trees, Australian DJ who came especially for the event and many very famous personalities from Italian wine. Read more…

Wine tours: ours beat the rest

Casato Prime Donne and Fattoria del Colle in Tuscany: here are the most captivating wine tours. Last novelty the bottle that every tourist can personalize

Great wines, unique and historical locations, multilingual and enchanting staff …. will be enriched with a small but delightful opportunity: visitors will be able to personalize bottles with a name and image of their own choice. An extraordinary opportunity, something that no other winery offers: visitors will be able to personalize bottles with their names and images however they like. A unique opportunity that allows wine lovers to create their own Brunello di Montalcino or their own Chianti Superiore DOCG to use during an important lunch or as an exclusive gift. After having stuck on the new label the staff will ensure that the bottles can travel by inserting them in special wine skins (to put in your luggage) or shipping them to your home through a courier.

Fattoria del Colle wine tours in the winery

Fattoria del Colle wine tours in the winery

Donatella Cinelli Colombini has two wineries – Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti that produce small series of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino Chianti Superiore and Doc Orcia. The entire range is on sale in both wineries. The ratings by the most important specialized press are excellent and go between 88 and 97 out of one hundred. So these are boutique wineries, of small dimension but of international fame. To visit them is editing, and increases your knowledge but is also great fun.

At Fattoria del Colle there are three wine tours

30 minutes GUIDED TOUR AND BRIEF TASTING € 6 per person

For Fattoria del Colle the itinerary regards the belvedere parka round the swimming pools, the San Clemente chapel, the historic halls of the 16th century villa, the winery with its barrel ageing area, the Vinsanto loft and the Brunello infernotto. At the end an informal tasting of Chianti Superiore DOCG.

50 minutes ITINERANT TASTINGS 18 per person

wine tours at Fattoria del Colle

wine tours at Fattoria del Colle

4 tastings: IGT Toscana Bianco Sanchimento, Orcia Doc “Leone Rosso”, Orcia Doc “Cenerentola” and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG all produced in Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wineries.

The tastings take place along an itinerary next to the Chianti and Orcia vineyards to return to the 16th century San Clemente chapel and then proceeds inside the Colle Villa to the armorial hall where the second tasting takes place. The visit continues with the historic kitchen, the billiard room and the bedroom that once belonged to the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Fattoria del Colle Osteria di Donatella

Fattoria del Colle Osteria di Donatella

In the winery guests enter the barrel area where the Orcia Cenerentola wine is aged and this wine is tasted here. After visiting the Vinsantaia and the Infernotto with old bottles of Brunello the tour concludes with a tasting of Brunello. The second and last tasting are accompanied with diced pecorino and local sausage.


120 minutes TOUR, TASTING AND TRADITIONAL LUNCH €34 per person

Guided tour of the historical halls in the sixteenth century villa (kitchen and armorial hall) the San Clemente chapel and the winery with its barrel ageing, the Brunello infernotto and the Vinsanto loft.

In the Osteria at Fattoria del Colle, in the liberty style dining room or in the veranda looking over the vineyards.

An elegant setting finely furnished. The lunch consists in 4 courses accompanied by Chianti Superiore DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC served in crystal wine goblets.  The menu includes zuppa di Trequanda or pappa col pomodoro, maltagliati with duck sauce or pappardelle con sugo toscano prepared with wine, tagliata di bue chianino reared in the nearby pastures with roast potatoes and salad,  ciambellone with apples or whipped ricotta.

At Casato Prime Donne there are 4 wine tours Read more…

Orcia Doc Cenerentola puts on her crown

Cenerentola becomes a princess with the 2015 harvest. A five star harvest with quality levels never reached before for Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s Orcia Doc wine



Cenerentola becomes a princess with the 2015 harvest. This is the happy finale after a long journey, lots of trials, lots of hopes and a great dream. It was in 2000 that Donatella Cinelli Colombini fell in love with a Sienese grape variety that was practically extinct: Foglia Tonda. A vigorous and rustic variety that in the poor Tuscan vineyards a century ago did not get thinned out with green harvesting and consequently did not ripen. But Donatella together with her agronomists has found the way to make the vines less productive and bring the clusters to perfect ripening. They also learnt which are the best soils and expositions for this variety that, if cultivated in humid areas with little sun well expresses its objections.

In the cellar too there have been many experiments and not all lucky ones. Now the Foglia Tonda variety is picked for last, it ferments and ages alone, for at least 12 months in 5 hectolitres French oak tonneaux, this is when it joins the best Sangiovese made at Fattoria del Colle.



In its sales Cenerentola’s story is all uphill, like all other wines based on rare autochthonous grape varieties.

It is different and 15 years ago journalists’ appreciation didn’t go to more territorial wine making. Then what was rare become trendy, the autochthonous, like what is natural, and so Cenerentola began to find more and more important and better and better ratings from the great experts. Read more…

Assistance for European Wine producers and international envy

700€ per hectare and 0,15€ per litre of wine, this is the assistance for European Wine producers that the rest of the world looks at with envy,without considering the off-set

Assistance-for-European-wine -producers-for-exportation

Assistance-for-European-wine -producers-for-exportation

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

It is well known that abroad the assistance for European wine producers and farmers is looked upon with suspect, as if they were a disturbance to competition but in a dishonest way. And wine is one of the products to be questioned.

A few years ago, to be able to export, all wineries were forced to send to China a declaration stating what contributions had received. It all ended when Europe accepted the commercialization of Chinese solar panels.

The last episode of this saga is the article “How Much Government Assistance Do European Wine Producers Receive?”published by the Journal of Wine Economics by Kym Anderson from the School of Economics in the Adelaide University and by Hans G. Jensen of the Institute of Food and Resource Economics from the Copenhagen University.

These two academics have estimated the European aids to be an average of 700€ per hectare and 0,15€ per litre of wine so roughly a nominal tax rate of about 20%of costs.

Assistance-for-european-wine-producers-for exporting-to Brazil

Assistance-for-European-wine-producers-for exporting-to Brazil

An enormous amount 2,341 billion per year, of which France alone gets about one third of the total (830 million Euro), Italy and Spain about a fifth each 570 the first and 405 the second) while all the other nations are under 100 million Euro.

If we go and see these total we realize that the vineyards with most contributions per hectare are the Austrian ones .They get 2.400 € so more than double everyone else. After this initial help the aid per hectolitre of wine is superior in Austria with respect to every other European nation: 370€. In this list we find  Slovakia in second position then Slovenia, Check republic, Portugal, France and Bulgaria all above the European  average of 145€, while we in Italy are below with 140€. Read more…

Richness and poverty in front of Moet et Chandon

How long must you work to be able to buy a bottle of Champagne? In Italy you need the equivalent of three hours of work but in Nepal a month’s salary is not enough

Success-Glamour_fixed_310x310By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Doc Orcia, Fattoria del Colle

The image of a world divided between rich and poor is evident even in the quantity of work that is needed to buy a luxury product such as  Moët & Chandon: in nations that are more economically developed it is affordable by the a vast majority of the middle class and in places like  Kenya, Ghana or India practically nobody can afford it.

The analysis of the work to be done to become owners of a bottle of these noble French bubbles arrives from JWE Journal of Wine Economics, a periodical magazine that, together with very interesting studies regarding the cost of production (in the last number they were talking about the incidence costs of barriques), solicits the wine world with research of socio- economic character and regarding scenario..

It is like the case of the list that I saw on the web, together with the index of the last taj-mahal-India-number. It lists 71 nations for which the average salary has been compared with the price of a bottle of Champagne Moët & Chandon. So we see that in Luxemburg Switzerland and New York an hour’s work is enough.  In Italy about three hours work and the percentage increases to more than a day in Poland, Argentina, and Croatia, to reach a week of labour in the Philippines or in Ukraine. In these nations buying French bubbles become an impossible dream as salaries are below the level or survival like in Kenya where 15 days would be necessary, in Ghana 16.

So if in a first moment this type of survey makes you laugh, the comparison between a luxury product such as Champagne and the cost of labour, brings one to reflect on more profound things such as considering wine and the enormous difference that separates consumption in various parts of the world. What is amazing is the distance between the two Asian- India and China – in the land of the Maharaja nearly a month’s work is necessary to buy a bottle of Champagne and in the land of the dragon it requires only two days. Both nations were very poor and are now characterized by large social differences but in India poverty is obviously more widespread while in China salaries and consumption are both evolving rapidly.

Here is the list from Cronache di gusto

  • Luxemburg – 0,11
  • Switzerland – 0,12
  • USA, New York – 0,17
  • Holland – 0,20
  • Germany – 0,21
  • USA, California – 0,22
  • Norway – 0,23
  • Australia – 0,23
  • USA, Texas – 0,25
  • Singapore – 0,27
  • France – 0,27
  • Denmark – 0,27
  • Hong Kong – 0,28
  • UK – 0,29
  • Ireland – 0,29
  • Belgium- 0,30
  • Austria – 0,31
  • Sweden – 0,32
  • Japan – 0,33
  • Spain – 0,33
  • Island – 0,36
  • New Zealand – 0,37
  • Italy – 0,38
  • Canada – 0,41
  • Finland – 0,44
  • Cayman Islands – 0,47
  • Portugal – 0,53
  • Israel – 0,56
  • Malta – 0,64
  • Check Republic – 0,66
  • South Korea – 0,70
  • Slovenia – 0,72
  • Taiwan – 0,78
  • Greece – 0,80
  • Estonia – 0,80
  • Lithuania – 0,89
  • Slovacchia – 0,98
  • Poland – 1,13
  • Argentina – 1,13
  • Bahamas – 1,19
  • Hungary – 1,28
  • Barbados – 1,29
  • Croatia – 1,42
  • Thailand – 1,45
  • Trinidad & Tobago – 1,45
  • Malaysia – 1,60
  • Russia – 1,64
  • Romania – 1,66
  • Mexico – 1,70
  • China – 1,71
  • Chile – 1,76
  • Bulgaria – 2,10
  • Uruguay – 2,11
  • Costa Rica – 2,29
  • South Africa – 2,69
  • Macedonia – 3,39
  • Brazil – 3,45
  • Serbia – 3,53
  • Peru – 5,41
  • Philippines – 6,25
  • Ukraine – 6,82
  • Ecuador – 7,28
  • Indonesia – 7,97
  • Nigeria – 8,27
  • Vietnam – 9,85
  • Moldavia – 11,71
  • Kenya – 15,41
  • Ghana – 16,65
  • India – 21,31
  • Nepal – 32,39
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