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The Montalcino pilgrimage to Riga

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The Brunello wines, myself and all the other producers from Montalcino arrived in Riga on Monday evening at 10.30pm after a day of wine tasting in Vilnius and a 4 hour bus journey.

Riga – the Brunello producers - relaxing

Riga – the Brunello producers - relaxing

We were very tired following a very busy day but we had been invited to a pub to celebrate the birthday of Alessandra Mililotti Ciacci, an important member of the Mocali wine producer family. How could we say no! So we went en mass! The Mocali company was established in 1950 by Dino Ciacci, who was one of the original twenty-five founders of the Consorzio of Brunello di Montalcino. From him the Company has been passed down to his younger relative Tiziano Ciacci who is the current owner and husband of Alessandra.

She is a wonderful vivacious woman, she has a very sunny disposition and is very friendly and she was very keen to celebrate her birthday with all of us in the pub. We all had a lot of fun because we found a strange kind of table football game in the pub – it was like table football, but with hockey players in place of footballers. All of us had a great time playing on this game, both men and women, working up a great sweat and having a lot of fun. With lots of sips of beer as the goals were scored one end and then the other. After that it was the turn of the Pool table and there were even more outrageous performances during that tournament. How we all laughed!

The next day we returned to being serious wine professionals when we presented the seminars during which we explained about the territories in which our wines are produced and the wines themselves. The hall was almost full with lots of delegates and journalists interested in the Brunello wines. The tasting was less crowded than that of Vilnius, the day before, but we did make some good contacts. The facial features of the inhabitants of Riga are not typically Russian but seem to be more similar to those of Scandinavian people.

Riga-Brunello Seminar-Maggio2012

Riga-Brunello Seminar-Maggio2012

After the wine tasting there was another situation which caused a lot of fun, there were only two rooms for us to get changed in: one for the women and one for the men. By 6pm we were back on the bus on our way to Tallin. The ‘school trip’ atmosphere continued with everyone swopping more fun stories, anecdotes and jokes. For those who have enjoyed seeing the images of the people from the Comune of Montalcino which are currently to be found on the internet it is all thanks to Bianca Ferretti, Fabian Schwarz’s wife who was there with us. Congratulations Bianca, good job!
Violante Gardini Export manager for Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Switzerland: the Nation of Brunello lovers

In Switzerland the ratio between the number of bottles sold, and the country’s population is the highest in the world, that is to say that the Swiss are the biggest fans of the Brunello wine in the world


Brunello-Trade Mission in Zurich - C. Eder D.Cinelli Colombini S.Campatelli

Brunello-Trade Mission in Zurich - C. Eder D.Cinelli Colombini S.Campatelli

For this reason the producers of Montalcino feel very at home in Zurich. Every 3 years the Brunello Consortiumorganizes an important tasting in Switzerland, and it has been a runaway success. In the work shop we had 40 wineries and their wines, this means 1/5 of the wine producers, and about 60% of the total Montalcino production. In the great hall we had 600 dedicated workers together with our Swiss fans. At the 2 seminars, which were conducted masterfully by Christian Eder, we had 160 important decision makers present. So pretty much a turnout which is almost double the number which attend a normal tasting organized by producers. The superb lunch, which was created for 40 guests, started with a multi-sensory experience crafted by Filippo Bartolotta. There were photos, music, detailed explanations, and of course the tasting of the Brunello wines all of which created a very evocative experience which surpassed the guest’s expectations.. Vinum, the most read wine magazine in Germany was a partner and co-organizer of the event. Read more…

The grape harvest at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino

Sangiovese – Brunello 2011? At Casato Prime Donne <<the grapes are better than last year>> says Valérie Lavigne the wine maker

Donatella Violante Valerie Barbara

Donatella, Violante, Valerie, Barbara

The forecast for our 2011 harvest are very good. The cellar master Barbara Magnani and the agronomist Folco Bencini are optimistic most of all about the resistance of the Sangiovese vineyards at Casato Prime Donne regardless of the great African heat at the end of the summer.
Valérie Lavigne’s opinion is even more positive << our Brunello grapes have really surprised me, they are even better than last year because the ripening has been more   homogeneous>>.
First day of harvest at Casato Prime Donne was September 15th, 10 days sooner than the traditional Brunello calendar.
At Fattoria del Colle Merlot, Foglia Tonda (which has demonstrated that it greatly suffers from droughts) and some of the Sangiovese for Chianti and Doc Orcia wines have already been picked. Apparently the Fattoria del Colle vines have suffered the heat and lack of rainfalls more than those at Casato Prime Donne. In fact the lager quantity of clay in the soil in Montalcino has been a decidedly favourable element this year.
The grape harvest is quicker because of the lower quantities of grapes. About 30% less than last year.

The grape harvest

The grape harvest

The Consorzio del Brunello had diminished the production per hectare to 6 tonnes of grapes and probably the lower amount of clusters is also because of the pruning done at the beginning of July. The “green harvest” diminishing of the clusters has helped the vines a great deal to be able to withstand the great heat from the second half of August and September as did the difference in temperatures between night and day.
The lower yield also depends on the size of clusters which are smaller than usual, and the size of the single grapes is also smaller. However the clusters are beautiful, open and loose.
The most positive element is that the grapes are perfectly ripe; there is not one cluster anywhere with some mould.
the quality that will result depends a lot on the choice of the clusters. The clusters and parts of clusters that have dried grapes must be eliminated. Allowing them to go into the vats would mean that the sugar content of the must would go up and the wines produced would be too alcoholic. The removing of dried grapes takes automatically along a selection table that has a vibrating mechanism for this reason. The rest is removed manually by the two people constantly present at the table.
At this moment the analysis of our Sangiovese-Brunello show a potential alcohol of more than 13° vol, acidity around  7,30, an abundance in phenolic richness, which however will only partially be extractable. The grape seed are lignified, that means that they will not release green tannins.

So, to conclude we are expecting a good harvest, especially in Montalcino and in the older vineyards.
The 2011 vintage will probably have “Mediterranean” characteristic, so it will be very pleasant and round in the mouth and on the nose it twill be characterized by nuances of ripe fruit

Brunello wine and it’s conquest of Brazil

A group of the top 32 wine producers from Montalcino, led by the Vice-President of the Consortium Donatella Cinelli Colombini, have been in Sao Paulo, the economic capital of South America , in order to introduce their Brunello wines personally to Brasil.

Brunello wine producers at  Terrazza Italia

Brunello wine producers at Terrazza Italia

The wine has been presented to the press and the local wine producers and experts: Banfi, Barbi, Camigliano Canneta, Capanna, Caparzo, Caprili,Castelli – Martinozzi, Castello di Romitorio, Col d’ Orcia, Collemattoni, Corte Pavone, Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fanti, Gianni Brunelli, Il Poggione, La Gerla, La Magia, Le Chiuse, Mocali, Poggio di Sotto, Poggio il Castellare, Salvioni, Sassodisole, Siro Pacenti, Talenti, Tassi,  Tenuta di Collesorbo , Tenute Friggiali and Pietranera, Val di Cava, Verbena, Villa Le Prata, were all represented.

Brazil is country which is a member of the BRIC  – it is one of the major countries of the world which is currently experiencing an  economic boom –  out of the south American countries is one of the only ones which has  a strong and influential Italian presence. In the Sao Paulo area alone there are 16,000,000 inhabitants of Italian descent.

Our Brunello wineries were visiting San Paulo with the specific aim of expanding their exports and promoting their own image, which is already very well known and respected in the area. In Brazil,  Brunello wine is  synonymous with quality, it has great prestige value and is considered to be very exclusive . Many people know the wine well, but never before they had the opportunity to taste and compare so many of the Brunello wines  all together at their leisure. And it is precisely attaining the public’s awareness and their personal opinions that these important Tuscan wineries intend to devote their attention to: they will be concentrating on impressing their importers, the sommeliers, the press and the leading public opinions.

Market in San Paolo

Market in San Paolo

The program of this trade mission to Brazil was very intense: it  lasted 5 days and as well as promoting the wine it also helped to educate the producers from Montalcino in the details of the Brazilian market ecomony and included a visit to the huge upmarket supermarkets which are major centres of culinary excellence for Brazilain customers with greater spending capacity. The Consorzio del Brunello  had never  before undertaken a trade missions such as this to Brazil and for this reason, the schedule was very full and was designed to hit all the strategic market segments of Brazil. Two of the tastings have been reserved exclusively for the Sommeliers from Sao Paulo and Campinas, there was one  evening with the specialist wine press, one workshop for the importers and one for the retailers, a wine tasting for the Friends Association of Wine and 3 educational seminars with video and data information. The preparation of this trade mission to Brazil has required months of work in order to plan and prepare this detailed  program – in collaboration with ICE and Enoteca Italiana –  especially in the preparation of the Brochures, Wine tasting information leaflets  and the production of the two Videos, which have also  been made available in Portuguese.

San Paolo

San Paolo

In the South American countries import taxes multiple  the price of bottles of wine tenfold which is why they are perceived by  the public as being luxury goods. Because of this it is necessary to ensure that the public perception of the Montalcino wines is that they are of the highest quality as it is important  to capture the interest and admiration of the 200,000 super-rich and the middle class who have a large spending capacity and who reside almost entirely in the areas of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

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