harvest - Archive - Cinelli Colombini

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2015 a Dream of a Harvest

This was a real triumph, a wonderful harvest. In all my life I have never seen anything similar; all the clusters were perfect, ripe, small and perfectly sound, from the first to the last.

Harvest 2015 Brunello Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Harvest 2015 Brunello Donatella Cinelli Colombini

In the Brunello region this harvest beats even the great 2010 vintage, and news coming from the rest of Italy is good too.

2015 Harvest - Assoenologi data

2015 Harvest – Assoenologi data

To be on the safe side I wrote little about the 2015 harvest. I kept my fingers crossed and I waited until all the grapes had reached the cellar. It was over in a flash: 7-9 September merlot, 21 -30 September Sangiovese, Foglia Tonda and Sagrantino. A big team of 18 youngsters went up and down the vine rows scissors in hand. Red baskets filling the bins ready to be taken to the cellar at Casato Prime Donne and Fattoria del Colle. Also quick, so quick that Barbara the cellar master had trouble keeping up with grapes arriving on the sorting table. A harvest amid music, many pickers had on headphones as if they were jogging. Maybe this is what accelerated the rhythm. This is something worth thinking about, even though the music isolates and stops the chitchat full of jokes, taking the Mick and camaraderie which for centuries has been the life of grape-picking.

1.600 quintals 160 tons of grapes, not even that much. In my 33 hectares an average of 46 quintals per hectare, so 4,6 tons. Read more…

Going towards the 2014 harvest, hoping in a sunny September

Healthy grapes, slight delay compared to the past few years, harvest foreseen between September 20th and October 5th for Brunello, straight after the picking for  Chianti and Orcia wines

 

Harvest-2014-August-Sangiovese-at-Fattoria-del-Colle

Harvest-2014-August-Sangiovese-at-Fattoria-del-Colle

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The vines, notoriously intelligent plants, are asking themselves if we are not transforming them in camels. First the vintages 2012 and 2013 that were as dry as a desert, and now a 2014 which, until July, resembled the beginning of the Great Flood. Finally in August the sun arrived, only two storms during the whole month. According to statistics 1,5°C more than the last decade of the 20th century and minus2°C with respect to the average temperatures from the year 2000 onwards. The nights are cool and during the day temperatures range between 28-33°C. Ideal temperatures for the aroma synthesis. The first grape analysis posted by the Consorzio del Brunello regarding clusters picked on August 26th are very positive: the “technological” ripening so the forming of sugar, is still far away, but the evolution of the noble substances in the skins – poliphenols– is ahead. Read more…


A mystery regarding Italian wine we import South African bulk wine by the litre

The worldwide wine market for 2013 will reach 35 billion Dollars with an increase of more than 5% with respect to 2012, due to the massive increase in prices for cask wine

 

bulck wine shop

bulck wine shop

Read for you by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The scarce productions from the 2011 and 2012 vintages have created a great increase in prices which in the exportation of wines has originated 5 billion dollars more business.

InItaly, after the surprising increase in the 2012 harvest foreseen of 40 million hectolitres and then resulted in 45,6 there is another surprising fact:South Africahas sold 14 million litres of cask wine during the first semester of this year. Our nation was originally an exporting nation of cask wine and we had double hulled vessels for transportation, while now we import vast quantities, especially fromSpain.

The Spanish send wine from the cask toFrance,GermanyandItaly. Even though our nation

bulck wine

bulck wine

has bought less of it than usual (- 39%) it results in being a good client. The Spanish wine can be blended with the Italian, originating “Vino della Comunità Europea” with a low price and destined to every day use. A completely different situation for the wine coming from South Africa which seems to have disappeared. Nobody knows where it has gone, but for sure the change from a small amount to such an immense amount does surprise.

Will the 2013 harvest be the last of the 20th century?

Scarce harvest, late, excellent quality, which has kept us running, due to the fact that, after years, we have had to weave through sunny and rainy days

 

Sangiovese for the Brunello vintage 2013 Casato Prime Donne

Sangiovese for the Brunello vintage 2013 Casato Prime Donne

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini
Finally the 2013 harvest is finished. Normal quantities at Casato Prime Donne while at Fattoria del Colle the drought which made us loose last years produce has reduced this year’s quantity too.
For the first time after years we saw the ripening proceed slowly with the sugars and the acids evolving at the same rate as the polyphenols in the grape skins. But there’s is a difference with what used to happen 20years ago when late harvests occurred, coinciding with the autumn showers. The botrytis appeared in the vineyards where it arrives every year, and there it stayed. The news vines remain miraculous untouched, where it was as if we had Cabernet instead of Sangiovese, with its skins make of double the cellular layers compare to our main variety. Maybe the new clones have a thicker skin or maybe the bad weather when the flowering took place reduced the dimension and number of grapes making them loser, smaller and so much better at resisting the rain … what is important is that we brought home grapes which are perfectly sound, right to the end. Twenty years ago this would have been impossible.

I have a doubt: do I have a special divine protection or am I just lucky? I had picked most of the grapes, including the “super” stuff for Brunello, those for Cenerentola Orcia Doc and for the Il Drago e le 8 colombe IGT, all before the great rainfall on October 5th.We began harvesting on September 18th with the Merlot and on September 26th for Brunello. The grapes at Casato Prime Donne were ready with lignified seeds and perfect analysis. The fourth good harvest in a row, it seems like a dream!

At Fattoria del Colle things are more difficult. The grapes were behind in

Brunello Montalcino harvest 2013

Brunello Montalcino harvest 2013

theirripening and two vineyards had attacks of botrytis so we had to pick it before it went mouldy. <<Patience>> said Barbara Magnani the cellar master <<it will make a wonderful wine to be sold by the litre>>. In the cellar at Colle there are though 300 hl of really super wine and with these we will do wonders.
What has been surprising is how the Foglia Tonda and Sagrantino grapes have resisted. Perfect clusters, no trace of mould or dismembering of the skins <<the Sagrantino is indestructible>> comments Efisio Luche head of the grape pickers <<even the deer don’t eat it.>>.
What will the 2013 wines be like? Long lasting, deep, round, but there will be few of them. For the third year in a row the yield has been low, even though last year was worse. We are nowhere near the production of 2010.


Sensorial analysis of the grapes let me teach you how it is done

You must put three grapes in your mouth at the same time, to then analyze separately the grape, the pulp, the skin and the seed. And it does not cost anything

 

Grape tasting Valérie Lavigne’s hands after tasting

Grape tasting Valérie Lavigne’s hands after tasting

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The first to promote a sensorial analysis of the grapes were Rousseau and Delteil of the ICV inMontpellierin the year 2000 (read “Corriere Vinicolo” about this and other techniques). Their method is still today the best known and used. It is based on a form with 19 descriptors to which the taster gives a vote from 1 to 4 where the best grade is the lowest. For certain points the numbers grow and in others they decrease, because it is evident that the grapes will be readier at harvest time while being less acidic and sweeter.

The first parameter on the grape requires a visual exam and to touch the grape to evaluate the consistency, colour, aptitude to be separated from the stem. Evidently the healthiness is an element that needs careful evaluation.

Then follows the tasting of 3 grapes at the same time. They must be examined separately, in this order pulp, skin, and seeds. Of the juice we must under stand: the separation skin/pulp, sweetness, acidity, herbaceous and fruity aromas. Evidently the acidity and herbaceousness must be as scarce as possible while the other elements must be more abundant.

On the skin the exam regards 3 elements which must result high (aptitude to being crushed, tannic intensity, fruity aroma) and 3 elements which must result scarce; acidity astringency, herbaceous aromas

After having tasted the seeds one must spit them into the hand. It’s awful to say but that is

Montalcino 2013 harvest grape tasting

Montalcino 2013 harvest grape tasting

exactly the technique. Astringency (as little as possible) aromas and tannic intensity must be tasted, then one seed must be crushed between the teeth and then spit them out to visually examine them, in colour and the aptitude to be crushed. The seed for great wines is well lignified, it has no green stripes and it breaks up easily.

The sensorial analysis of the grapes requires previous instructions from am expert guide, but the first steps can also be carried our by someone who is self-taught going to the Vineyard at harvest time.

Producers and wine makers use more and more this method of grape tasting especially to choose the right moment to pick each field and it potential quality. The laboratory analyses are also very useful of course to evaluate the technological and polyphenolic ripeness of the grapes but the tasting become more important year by year.

Don’t wait then, come and taste our grapes, the harvest at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and at fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti are in full swing.

 

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