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Peposo, in a recipe the story of the heart of Tuscany

This is one of the tastiest and easiest meat dishes in Tuscany, but it is also one with a beautiful story. This is the recipe belonging to the  “cocciari” in Petroio



Delicious advice from Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Petroio (Siena), a special little hamlet  10 km from Fattoria del Colle, and is well known for its production of terracotta objects from Renaissance times. Vases, jars. flower boxes, ….artistic objects but also construction materials like roof and flooring tiles just like Impruneta nearFirenzewhich, though, is more famous.

Two territories which make the most of the great amount of clay in their underground to create red terracotta objects in Impruneta and amber coloured in Petroio. Two territories who have the Peposo recipe in common,  this is a very tasty stew that used to be cooked in the terracotta furnaces and



gave the furnace masters the energy for their very tiring job. It seems that the invention of the Peposo dish is somehow bound to the construction of the dome of the Duomo di Firenze and to the enormous physical effort required by the architect Filippo Brunelleschi of the furnaces in  Impruneta. History or legend, it doesn’t matter Peposo is now bound to the most beautiful dome ever built in the world and to the red bricks used to build it.

Superfluous to say the red wine is the base of the preparation, and the serving at the table. I advise Cenerentola DOC Orcia made at Fattoria del Colle with autochthonous grapes –Sangiovese and Foglia Tonda-.

Ingredients for 4 people:

800 gof beef muscle, 8 garlic cloves, a large glass of wine, a spoon of tomato conserve, salt and pepper, some sage and bay leaves.




Cut the meat as if for a stew. Put it in a casserole dish with the whole cloves, the conserve diluted with hot water, a spoon full of black pepper grains, a whole glass of wine and some salt and pepper. Add water until the meat is covered then cover the dish and put in the oven. Cook the Peposo for  2-3 hours on a moderate setting if necessary add more arm water. At the end the meat must be very tender.

Serve very hot on slices of toasted bread. It is possible to prepare the Peposo in a pan on the stove but however it is necessary to cook it for a very long time.

Grape harvest is finished and we are waiting for the 5 star

The 2012 vintage has been incredible; Donatella Cinelli Colombini went from pure terror because of the drought to full scale enthusiasm for the extraordinary Brunello grapes picked.

Donatella with grapes

Donatella with grapes

A cold winter, with snowfalls which blocked people in their homes for a whole month, but also a dry winter where even the snow left very little humidity in the soil.

So, the 2012 summer has been preceded by a long period of about 12 months of dryness with rare showers, and that means with half the usual amount of 700 mm of rainfall which we usually get in this part of Tuscany. This is where it starts to get interesting! From June onwards 3 months without a single drop of rain with temperatures above average but most of all a sky that was always so clear, so the hours of sunlight were always very many every day. This type of situation has greatly troubled the grape growers. The trimming of the shoots were modest and the leaves nearest the clusters were left to protect them from the sun. The vineyard was hoed so as to maintain the humidity underground, the clusters were thinned out twice so that in the end there really were very few.

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An anticipated grape harvest for Brunello and Doc Orcia

In Donatella Cinelli Colombini vineyards the clusters are scarce and it will have to be further diminished with the “green harvest” so as to help the thirsty vines

Fattoria-del-Colle-inspection in the vineyards-Valérie-Lavigne

Fattoria-del-Colle-inspection in the vineyards-Valérie-Lavigne

To be sure this grape harvest with be anticipated and scarce! What is still to be seen in the level of quality which will depend on the rain foreseen for the end of August. The vines are thirsty. Especially where there is more soil skeletal and a better position. So the change in climate is completely turning over the classification of best vineyards and in 2012 the best grapes will come from the vines planted in soil which is rich in clay and with less exposition to the sun.

For Donatella Cinelli Colombini this means a small revolution. So at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino more expectations from the “vignone” – the only old vineyard on the farm – and in the Sant’ Antonio Vineyard while the new splendid vineyards of Sangiovese on the hill begin to show the first

Sangiovese grapes

Sangiovese grapes

traces of stress through lack of rain. At Fattoria del Colle the Foglia Tonda variety is in serious difficulty and some of the grapes have already been removed to help the vines resist the drought. Much better for the Sangiovese and even better for the Sagrantino, which seems indifferent to all climatic problems. The hydro-stress is more accentuated at Fattoria del Colle than in the Brunello area, especially in the “poggione” vineyard.

The colour changing of the grapes ( from green to blue )  will determine how many and which clusters to remove with the green harvesting. The green grapes are cut. There are few clusters but to help the grapes in the extreme climatic conditions registered in 2012 it will be necessary to diminish some more.

culling-foglia-tonda vineyard

culling-foglia-tonda vineyard

<<Nature always gives back what it has taken away >> says the proverb, so if there is a reduction in quantity then there should be relative increase in quality, and as there is a foreseen lessening in quantity of about 20% with respect to the norm, then this year the quality should be extraordinarily high. Let’s hope so!



Doc Orcia communicates via mobile phone

The Strada del vino Orcia is the first with a QRcode signposting. With the new generation mobile phone one will be able to aim at the image on the signposts and receive information regarding wines and locations

Doc Orcia insegne e depliants

Doc Orcia signs and brochures

A small step forward for the denomination born in the year 2000 in one of the most beautiful agricultural territories in the world: the Val d’Orcia and the Crete senesi.  A land of soft hills where the vines are alternated with woods, olive groves, and on lower grounds field of grains. Fattoria del Colle is in the Doc Orcia territory and produces two wines from this denomination: Leone rosso and Cenerentola, the second of which is made with only Tuscan grapes – Sangiovese and Foglia tonda -.From this year onwards Doc Orcia will also have the “riserva” type, which must have at least one years ageing in oak barrels, and a type called “Sangiovese” with a maximum of 10% of other local grape types like Colorino, Canaiolo, Malvasia Nera and Foglia Tonda. These decisions underline a production strategy regarding quality and identity; a strategy which honours this young, small but very competitive denomination.

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

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