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Is it time for High Altitude Wines?

1.200-1500 meters up, a race upwards. Once it was called heroic viticulture, now it seems that high altitude wines are the new frontier against global warming

 

High-altitude-wines -Val d'Aosta - Morgex - Cave du Vin Blanc - Nicola del Negro, wine- maker- and-sales-manager. check -"Piagne" -vineyard with Priè Blanc grapes

High-altitude-wines -Val d’Aosta – Morgex – Cave du Vin Blanc – Nicola del Negro, wine-
maker- and-sales-manager. check -“Piagne” -vineyard with Priè Blanc grapes

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Toscana, agriturismo .

Let’s start from Wine Searcher and from a very interesting article by Wink Lorch that I suggest you read, for its reflections regarding High-Altitude Wines, of which producers talk always more and more.

Altitude signifies freshness: the average temperatures are lower and so the alcohol is low and the acids increase resulting in fine and elegant wines. Also often in high altitude there is a big difference between day and night temperatures with exceptional results in the synthesis of the floral and fruit aromas.

Altitude signifies intensity: in high altitude the sunlight is stronger and with more  UV-B rays. This fills the grapes with antioxidants, the grape skin gets thicker and takes into the wine quantities of tannins, excellent anthocyanins. These increase the intensity of the fruit and the ability of the wine to age.

High-altitude-wines-Cave Mont Blanc,

High-altitude-wines-Cave Mont Blanc,

The direct testimony of those who have vineyards over 1000 meters in height on the Etna , such as Santa Maria la Nave, confirm all of this and bring the attention on the less pollution in the air and the better ventilation.

Altitude means contrast to global warming: in the traditional grape growing regions maintaining the right alcohol-acids equilibrium is getting more and more difficult because of the warmer temperatures. The high altitude vineyards can be a valid alternative. Read more…

Champagne and its discounts: suicide?

Maybe it is the “Prosecco effect” but there are definitely many Champagne producers offering their bottles at really incredible prices. Will the myth of the most famous bubbles in the world resist?

French bubbles

Champagne

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

If we consider that the grapes for  Champagne cost 6€ per Kg and the production costs about  9€ to which taxes must be added, it is difficult to understand how a bottle of French bubbly can be sold at 10 Euro. But it happens. We must consider that these wines cannot be sold not bottled, it must finish its time on yeasts in the production area until the  degorgement and the capping with the traditional mushroom shaped cork. So the large distribution chains buy in bottle from the  wineries. However there is a short cut:  the sales “sur latte” , when the wine is still on the yeasts and before the recapping. A system that is useful to give liquidity to wineries and get the less prestigious cuvées out even if with a great sacrifice in price. Obviously, these quantities of wine, that generally bear a label of a chain of supermarkets, are qualitatively worse, and because of their low prices, damage the  Champagne reputation.

Spumante or Champagne

Spumante or Champagne

For this  reason Toubart of the Syndicate des Vignerons, said to Wine Searcher “Champagne’s strength is that it is a beverage that is consumed on special occasions; because of its relatively high price, it has always been a rarity, to be treasured. Price dumping endangers this, it can turn Champagne in to a commodity>>

.How can we say he is wrong, in fact the price too is a message. However the idea of getting rid of shop owners and distributors fearing to end up like Cognac where 4 buyers control the entire brand, does not seem applicable. Read more…


To produce fine wines you must be single

Long hours, especially at harvest time, stress and hard work are the disadvantages for lady wine makers but there can also be problems with partners for both genders

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, agriturismo, Toscana, Fattoria del Colle

Wine-makers-women-Eileen-Crane

Wine-makers-women-Eileen-Crane

An article on Wine Searcher regarding sexism makes clear the problematic of conciliating careers and professional ambitions with a normal life as a couple. The problem exists for both men and women wine makers but the latter to face enormous difficulties.

Certainly 30 years ago it was worse: suppliers gave “girly” calendars, and any women who progressed in this career got comment such as  <<she must have gone to bed with the boss>> but still today women’s wages are less than their male colleagues. <<There is a boy’s club feel in many wineries, and hiring women changes that>> says Eileen Crane with reference to those exclusively male contexts where one talks of football or about women together with the malolactic fermentation or autochthonous yeasts. Read more…

Medals in competitions, too many and some for counterfeit wines

English wine competition reward up to 70% of wines with medals while the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles carries out tests to catch those who falsify bottles

The Italian jurt at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

The Italian jurt at the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

 

A very interesting article by Wine News underlines the excessive number of medals of the English wine contests. According to OIV there should be less than 33% whereas the various contests by  “Decanter” awarded medals to 70% of the participants   and <<“The Drinks Business”, regardless of a jury made up practically of only Masters of Wine, actually awarded in one go medals to 90% of the Champagnes>> state ironically Wine News. A situation that could be connected to the price to be paid for every one of the 16.000 bottles in the first of the competitions mentioned and that was put into evidence by “La Revue du Vin de France”.

Medals from the International wine competitions -International-wine-challenge

Medals from the International wine competitions -International-wine-challenge

The  “Vinalies Internationales” seem to be much more rigorous, they give medals to 29,8% of the 3.500 competitors and the  Concours mondial de Bruxelles gives recognition to  28,2% out of  8.000.

Although the advantages go quite rightly to the sole winners of these competitions every medal, if well used, with commercial actions and with vip clients, can give an increase in wine price between  10-15% and an increase in winery reputation. Read more…


Brunello di Montalcino 2011 surprisingly great

General stupefaction over the  Brunello di Montalcino 2011 that is liked just as good, if not more, than the legendary 2010 vintage

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Brunello di Montalcino 2011 and 2010 tasting with Luciano Pignataro

Brunello di Montalcino 2011 and 2010 tasting with Luciano Pignataro

It all began on January 22° when Luciano Pignataro, genial and transgressive as ever, publishes an article “Brunello di Montalcino: la 2011 è meglio della 2010. (Brunello 2011 is better than 2010- Blind tasting of 44 samples”.

The group of tasters is of very high level: Fabio Casamassima, Luciano Di Lello, Antonio Di Spirito, Daniele Moroni, Gianmarco Nulli Gennari, Andrea Petrini, Giuseppe Picconi, Luciano Pignataro, Stefano Ronconi, Fabrizio Russo, Maurizio Valeriani.

Informal location, chequered tablecloth and what seems to be quite a joke is instead a real touch of genius. Because among the general bewilderment these Brunello, from a 4 star vintage,2011,  with no expectations from the market, result on average better than the 2010 vintage, that so celebrated by critics and buyers all over the world.  All the better known Brunello included, even Biondi Santi . Only in 8 cases, including mine and that of the best known winery in Montalcino, did the 2010 beat the most recent, but however the differences were really minimal and the level in general very high.

Brunello 2011 and Brunello 2010 tasting with Luciano Pignataro

Brunello 2011 and Brunello 2010 tasting with Luciano Pignataro

To confirm this opinion come, on January 29th, the ratings by Walter Speller super – tater from the very well known blog by the Master of Wine Jancis Robinson. In this case we can compare the Brunello “selection” 2011 and the riserva 2010 or rather those wines for which every winery strives to do their best. Here too the opinions are very close, and considering that Speller liked the Riserva 2010 very much, he said to MontalcinoNews <<it is rally a quality Riserva it was years since there had been such quality >> Read more…

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