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94, 94, 94, 94… Yet again we are awarded 94/100 for our Brunello wine

This is the fourth time that our Brunello wine has been awarded 94/100 from the prestigious American magazine the Wine Spectator. In its issue dated 31st August our 2006 Prime Donne wine is described as follows:- “there is richness and strength here, with an underlying hint of base minerals. I can detect black cherries and black currants. It is well balanced and demonstrates a good potential and refinement. It will be at it’s best between 2013 and 2027”. Bruce Sanderson has described this wine in a sensual way almost as if he is describing a desirable woman, which is particularly appropriate as this is exactly who the wine is dedicated to.

Brunello 2006 Prime Donne

Brunello 2006 Prime Donne

I am particularly pleased to see that all of my Brunello wines this year have achieved good ratings and that this is a continuing trend. Both the Wine Spectator and the Wine Advocate have awarded them similar marks. 92,92,92 from the the Wine Advocate, and 94, 94, 93 from the Wine Spectator (marks awarded for the 2006 Brunello, Brunello Prime Donne Brunello 2006 and Riserva 2005).

This is not true for all the producers. In general, the larger wine producers did not received consistant votes for their produce and have a large range of differing votes awarded to their wines. Instead, our production and results are growing in a harmonious and homogeneous way.

The 2006 vintage is the first true harvest of my new vineyards in Montalcino. The vines which I planted in 2006 were four or five years old. Due to their age the Vines have still not yet achieved their full potential or produced their best quality grapes. Our winemakers, led by the Agronomist Folco Bencini, tend the vineyards with the same care and attention that they would dedicate to nurturing their own children. Last Friday 20 mm of rain fell in half an hour and we also noticed with dismay that a few hail stones fell. The following day everyone rushed to the vineyard and we only calmed down and stopped panicking when we realized that nothing was damaged, not even the leaves.

These young vines are our wealth and our future. If, in the coming winter, we have a dry month without rain, we are

Casato Prime Donne Winery in Montalcino

Casato Prime Donne Winery in Montalcino

planning to plant 3 hectares acres of new vineyards on the hill overlooking the Casato Prime Donne house. When the new vineyard begins to produce grapes we will uproot the large vineyard the “Vignone” which was planted by my grandfather on the lowest part of our property. It is the only remaining original old vineyard left, all the others have been replanted. In a few years time we will be able to be truly competitive at all levels and then we will really start to have some fun!

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

A springtime picnic with Rosso di Montalcino

The Rosso di Montalcino 2008 from Casato Prime Donne is perfect for welcoming the springtime  first relaxing moments outdoors

Rosso di Montalcino 2008 - Casato Prime Donne

Rosso di Montalcino 2008 - Casato Prime Donne

After months of rain and cold we all wish to take off our winter clothes and spend a few hours outside with an excellent wine and a good book.
The Rosso di Montalcino 2008 from Casato Prime Donne has a great intensity of taste typical of those wine produced on the Brunello hilltop, and at the same time is extremely pleasant and drinkable.
The Rosso in fact stays only one year in barrel, which is actually less than half the length of the Brunello ageing, this makes it more easily understandable and more immediate in its pleasantness.
In Montalcino, 2008 was a 4 star harvest for many aspects apt for the production of wines for short ageing in barrel.
This is the first Rosso di Montalcino by Valérie Lavigne, Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s new winemaker.
An important touch comes from Barbara Magnani the cellar master, whose importance and authoritativeness have grown.
Casato Prime Donne is the first winery in Italy with an all female staff. Here the presence of tonneaux and barrels of various dimensions and of oak of various origins, in climatized rooms at around 18°C, enables us to choose the best container for each vintage and for every phase of the ageing of the wines.
2008 had a dry winter, the spring was very rainy with violent rainfalls, and the summer was very hot with little difference between the minimum and maximum values of temperatures. The temperatures did decrease rapidly half way through September.
The Sangiovese harvest (the same grapes as for Brunello) took place from September 16th to October 20th. The grapes were hand picked and reached the winery in 20Kg crates. To begin with dry ice was used to cool the grapes; mid September on the other hand we had to turn on the heating system for the vats so as to facilitate the beginning of the fermentation. Vinification: in stainless steel temperature controlled vats for 16/18 days. The peculiarity of this fermentation was that it was quick to begin and very hot, which Barbara Magnani curbed using the cooling system.
Quantity produced: 23.000 bottles. Colour: very intense ruby red. Aroma: complex, intense, with fragrant elements and clear notes of wood berries and spices. Taste:  intense, full, persistent, the evident richness in tannins is well balanced by the alcohol Analysis: alcohol 13,5 %Vol.; Tot. Ac. 5 g/l; Vol. Ac. 0.53 mg/l; Extract 28 g/l; SO²   Tot 102 mg/l. Matching dishes: noble meats, aged cheeses, dishes with little fat but rich in flavour. Way of serving: Room temperature (18-20°C), use tulip shaped crystal wine goblets. Home ageing: 7/8 years after the harvest. Keep the bottles lying down in a cool and dark place.

Foglia Tonda: tracing wine history in Tuscany

Donatella Cinelli Colombini - Foglia Tonda

Donatella Cinelli Colombini - Foglia Tonda

The Foglia Tonda variety has a very ancient origin. One can find traces of it in the treatises of the mid 19th century. It originated in Tuscany, particularly in the South of the Siena area, precisely where we are now. Its cultivation was abandoned owing to the type of pruning with a renewable vine-shoot (guyot or upside down), which produced quantities of grapes resulting in lower quality wine.

It was salvaged by our estate in an effort to appreciate the grapes of our territory, by changing the type of pruning: we now have spurred cordons on the vine.
In summer at the time of the veraison (that is when the bunches of grapes change from green to red) the bunches that are not good either because they are too compact or too big or not coloured enough, are cut off and thrown away so that the quantity of grapes per plant remains very low, thereby maintaining the quality.
The wine that is obtained has a great body, and a richness of colour with high alcohol content, and blends perfectly with Sangiovese. The Foglia Tonda has this name because its leaf is rounded with edges, without too many irregularities on the surface, quite the opposite to Sangiovese. The wine produced is Cenerentola Doc Orcia,a blend of Sangiovese and Foglia Tonda
The Foglia Tonda as we mentioned, is an autochthonous variety and as such very rare. There is in fact no nursery that produces these plants for the creation of a new vineyard which means that the propagating of these grapes is entirely in the hands of our skilled workers who practice the very old and at the same time current art of: grafting.
We have chosen 2 vineyards in two different areas where the grafting takes place. In February and March the grown vine is cut at a height of around 30/40 cm from the ground and a horizontal split is made into which small pieces of shoots are inserted with two buds of Foglia Tonda taken from  “mother plants”, after which the split is stuck together with mastic and the graft is then protected by tying some paper with sand in it around the plant.
Once the graft has taken – I can assure you it is no easy task, you can try, but above all don’t graft a grape vine with an apple or a pear tree shoot, let’s not create monstrous hybrids!!… I was saying once the graft has taken, the vine will develop with great speed during the spring and summer supported by the strength in the roots of the adult vine and will give its first grapes already in the following autumn.


Wine log. In Brunello land’s, waiting for the 5 stars

Once again Montalcino proves itself to be a wine producing region of excellence.

The favourable climate, the hilly land full of stones,the choice of producing fewer grapes, but most of all the presence of top rate technicians and grape pickers makes Montalcino a territory able to bring grapes to perfect ripening before the arrival of the autumn rainfalls.

This year the thinning out of grapes just before their changing of colour helped the vines bring to ripening the clusters left on the plants. This operation together with the diminishing of the leafage, which uncovered the grapes, accelerated the last part of the vegetative cycle.

At the end of September all our best vineyards were ready, at the same time. We were expecting this acceleration and so we increased the amount of pickers. Even the administration staff gave a helping hand, standing at the sorting table where they removed the odd bits of stem that escaped the de-stemmer.

Last week, on October 5th, our 2010 harvest finished.

An easy harvest of extraordinary quality.

It began on September 13th with the Traminer and the Merlot; on the 21st the pickers entered the Sangiovese vineyards for the Brunello. On September 27th theFoglia Tonda was picked, and after the Sangiovese for the Doc Orcia and for theChianti, and finally the Rosso di Montalcino and for last the Sagrantino.

During the harvest there has been only one great rainfall on the night of September 18th when 50mm of water fell at Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda and 30 at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino.

The mist and the autumnal showers arrived at the end of September. The grapes were very sound and small. The future Brunello had potential alcohol of 14% vol, acidity around 7, extractable poliphenols for about 600 mg/lt and well lignified seeds. The 2010 vinification is characterized by longer macerations than usual. The must and then the wine have remained in contact with the skins from 18 to 25 days.

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