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Corks and wine oxidation

Maybe corks are more magical than we thought, and as they change in time they preserve the wine. UC Davis University will study them for 100 years

Cork - Fattoria del Colle infernotto-

Cork – Fattoria del Colle infernotto-

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

<<An experiment that maybe will last more than life on earth>>commented  W. Blake Gray while talking to Wine searcher about the study going on in the major US agriculture university, the awesome UC Davis from where the majority of great American winemakers come out from.

To carry our an experiment that lasts 100 years is in fact something very difficult to understand in our society based on rapidity and now. It actually quite reminds one of the empiricism of the 18 hundreds, but that might be why it is well suited to a type of closure, that in the XVIII century, was perfected: the closure for glass wine bottles .The experiment starts from a mystery: why the oxygen that penetrates through the cork, one milligram per year, does not oxidize the wine?

cork-and-old bottles

cork-and-old bottles

We might think that it is the sulphur dioxide that gets inserted in the bottle (generally 20-25 milligrams per litre) that protects the wine, but it is in fact the oxygen that uses it up during 5-6 years, and so 10 years and more later there is nothing left to defend the nectar, as explained by professor Andy Waterhouse author of this intrepid research project regarding cork closures and wine oxidation. Read more…

Brunello Riserva 2012 five stars

Brunello Riserva is an extraordinary wine because it can last for decades. At Casato Prime Donne it is produced only in the best harvests

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012

The production of Brunello Riserva depends on the climate, the rainfall and the sun, mostly during August and September. It is possible to know right from the tasting of the grapes, this is when the picking dates are chosen. If in the vineyards there are Sangiovese grapes of extraordinary quality then it is possible to produce the Brunello Riserva.

That is the reason why it is made only in certain years and the quantity differs every time, even though it is always a small production. These productions are in fact always less than the requests by collectors and wine lovers from all over the world who wish to store these bottles in their cellars for important events.

The grapes nearly always come from a vineyard called Ardita on the highest point of Casato Prime Donne. This plot where the best clusters come from is delimited with red flags, the 5-7 hl French oak barrels where the Brunello Riserva ages for about three years are also flagged with red heart.  Small signs that help the grape growers and the cellar staff remember where the small masterpiece is born, this masterpiece that needs constant care and attention until bottling time.

Brunello Riserva is made for a lengthy ageing. This means that it must have a tannic and acidic structure able to preserve it in time. To balance these characteristics and make it pleasing even when young it is necessary that there be richness in fruit (polyphenols) that give aroma and balance the power. The Brunello Riserva 2012 has all these characteristics.

 

Type: dry red.

Production area: Tuscany, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne.

Vintage characteristics: Cold and dry winter with lots of snow. Very hot summer until September when the rain showers slowed the ripening of the grapes allowing the sugars to build up in the berries at the same rate as the growth of the extractable polyphenols.

Grape type: 100% Sangiovese (Brunello).

Grape harvest: from September 12-14th. Small clusters with regular ripening. Grapes seeds completely lignified. The harvest was manual, with a careful selection of the grapes, after two women on the sorting table discarded the defected berries.

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini- 2012-harvest

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini- 2012-harvest

Vinification: In stainless steel truncated cone shaped vats, each individually temperature controlled and open on top, so as to vinify without the use of pumps. The alcoholic fermentation went regularly with spontaneously low temperatures. It lasted 16 days and was then followed by 20 days of maceration.

Barrel ageing:  5 -7 hl small French oak tonneaux produced by 5 artisans who assure manual production. The type of oak, charring and dimension of the barrels has been specifically chosen based on the character of the wine. There has been no filtering before bottling.

Read more…


Donatella’s 2017: a rich year with a scarce harvest

With my best wishes for 2018, I am sharing some pleasant memories of 2017, that has been a really fantastic year, even though the grapes were scarce

New Year at Fattoria del Colle

New Year at Fattoria del Colle

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

2017 ,the year that has just finished, was one with fewer grape clusters but with great commercial successes. The Casato Prime Donne winery in Montalcino Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda sell wine in 37 nations and the wines from our vineyards is just about sufficient to cover all the requests. Actually for some wines like Rosso di Montalcino, Cenerentola DOC Orcia and IGT Drago e le 8 Colombe, we have sold the wines from two vintages finishing all the stock while the Brunello 2012 was rationed so we could reach Christmas. Our increase in sales shows a wonderful + 17% considering that Violante’s sales office had no Riserva to sell.

Cenerentola 2017-2018 New Year's eve at Fattoria del Colle

Cenerentola 2017-2018 New Year’s eve at Fattoria del Colle

This success is clearly also to attribute to the quality of the wines (well done the cellar girls!) and some is due to the vineyards, where a daily care of the plants – a return to old winter pruning systems and the organic regime – have permitted the production of excellent grapes even in vintages, such as the last, where the climate went a bit wild. The 2017 grape harvest was scarce especially at Fattoria del Colle where the soil is sandy and where the wild boar and deer have had a feast. After fencing off the vineyards in Montalcino next to be fenced off will be the vineyards in Trequanda.

The country inn and the restaurant went well too with a + 55% and even better the winery sales that are now a good 15% of the wine business. Read more…

Brunello 2013, an old style vintage

A Brunello that is elegant, complex, deep and harmonious, that will last decades. After the barrel ageing the Brunello 2013 results extraordinary
In 2013 the ripening of the grapes was slow and the harvest took place at the end of September. An “old style vintage”, as described by Attilio Scienza famous and esteemed Viticulture professor at the University in Milan.. He was the first to understand the quality potential of the vintage.
Lower summer temperatures than the previous years, soil rich in water and a long vegetative cycle are what characterize the 2013 vintage, and are those that traditionally make wines that last , that are complex and memorable.

Brunello 2013 Casato Prime Donne

Brunello 2013 Casato Prime Donne

This characteristics are associated with another element that is just as important: in 2013 the rain disturbed the flowering and so the number and size of the clusters was inferior to usual. The scarce vintages are nearly always the higher quality ones.
To begin with, however, not everybody foresaw the exceptionality of the Brunello 2013, that, subsequently, after the barrel ageing has demonstrated to be of extraordinary complexity, elegance and finesse. A similar situation to the 1999 vintage, that started slowly and then was acclaimed one of the best vintages of the 20th century. Read more…


Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is a masterpiece wine

A Supertuscan for those who love Tuscan cuisine but also something more multiethnic, Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is appreciated by the young and by those who love small masterpiece productions

2015 is a 5 star harvest, 2015 is a lucky year because the vineyards remained miraculously unharmed while all around all sort of things were going wrong: in Torrita hailstones as large as tangerines, water bobs flooding the nearby Buonconvento. But in the vineyards small perfect clusters were ripening, more beautiful than we had seen for a long time.

THE NAME

The Il Drago e le 8 Colombe symbolizes the 8 women who work in the winery at Fattoria del Colle –together with Casato Prime Donne in  Montalcino these are the first in Italy with an all female staff- and the only man who can influence the productive choices : Carlo Gardini, husband to Donatella Cinelli Colombini the owner.

dragoTHE SECRET

The Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is a Supertuscan, which means it does not belong to any DOC appellation but is a “masterpiece” wine, a small production  born for the creativity and wine making passion that’s has enabled Donatella Cinelli Colombini to experiment in Trequanda with Sagrantino, variety from the nearby Umbria.

The Sangiovese, Merlot, and Sagrantino grapes used to produce this wine are born in Fattoria del Colle. They are cultivated following the organic regime with great manual care. Harvesting is also done by hand, at different times: firs the Merlot, then the Sangiovese and the Sagrantino for last. Read more…

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