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Sassicaia’s unstoppable success

After the 1st position in the TOP 100 by Wine Spectator then the  100 /100 from Robert Parker. The San Guido star shines brighter and brighter

 

Sassicaia

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

As well as clever they are very kind, they are humble, they speak and act with extreme simplicity and reserved, as true aristocrats are.

It is in fact the very  austerity, elegant in many ways, but where there is no trace of ostentation, that makes the competitors mad, <<how can they have all that success without doing anything at all>>is the surprised comment from all the rest.  Hence, a little bit of jealousy , and the word nothing that includes many things: no “shoving” to get to the limelight, no pharaonic events, no self celebrating books, and above all no media overexposure of the bottles or the people …. The only great thing , it seems like, is  the increase in value of the bottles and this has been emphasized by Liv-ex the luxury wine portal. A growth, in recent years, that has beaten some of the great French chateaux.

 

Sassicaia-Priscilla-Incisa-della-Rocchetta-Académie-internationale-du-vin

TENUTA SAN GUIDO IN BOLGHERI

Sassicaia is born in a winery called Tenuta San Guido and it is a legendary place for many reasons. There is the row of cypresses told of by Nobel Prize winner for literature Giosuè Carducci “ che a Bólgheri alti e schietti van da San Guido in duplice filar, quasi in corsa giganti giovinetti”.

Here one finds the stables Razza Dormello Olgiata, where the super horse Ribot, one of the most prestigious champions of all times.

Also here is the first nature oasis in Italy, created by Mario Incisa della Rocchetta who was also the first president of the WWF.

In this sequence of excellencies one also finds the first wine able to beat French bottles challenging them with their king of varieties Cabernet Sauvignon. It was in 1978, in London, that the wine critic Hugh Johnson, at that time without rivals for fame and authoritativeness. He organizes for the first time for the Decanter magazine a blind tasting of the best 33 Cabernet Sauvignon in the world. And surprisingly the Sassicaia 1975 won.

The Wine Advocate in Zurich with 600 wines

Zurich is a city of bankers, of luxury that is not on show, the European city where wines costs the most and where I have just been as one of the 255 wineries chosen by Wine Advocate.

 

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Monica-Larner-and-Donatella-Cinelli -Colombini-wine-tasting-WineAdvocate-RobertParker-2019-in-Zurich

In the Wine Advocate -Robert Parker wine tasting the Italian team was the largest, with 53 wineries all along the external perimeter of the hall. For many wineries the owners were present personally. From Montalcino there were 12 of us, 20% of Italian wineries, a very high number that indicates the consideration of Brunello by the most important wine magazine in the world.

Matter of Taste – fine wine experience

The Matter of Taste – fine wine experience reunites 600 excellent wines from all over the world chosen among those that have obtained 90/100 or more from Robert Parker-Wine Advocate. In the tastings you are really spoilt for choice. On the Saturday I concentrate on the Spanish bottles where I find too much oak, although in their opinion this muscular imprint helps them to sell.

I am fascinated by the immense quality potential of the Portuguese and Chilean wines and I am completely taken by the Eolo wine, obtained from a vineyard planted in 1912 in the Trivento winery. Sunday was dedicated to tasting South African wines (where I enjoy a taste of an excellent De Toren 2010) that I know very well thanks to my 6 trips, unsuccessful, to find a partner with whom to create a winery.

I taste around ten Bordeaux remaining impressed by the oak, although well  amalgamated, make them apt as  “vin de garde” that will remain for years and years in the investors cellars. I pick up again with Champagne and discover a real gem where freshness balance an oxidative stile: it is called Femme (name that makes it very dear to me) and is by Duval LeRoy.

Zurich-sunset-23-february-2019

Then am intrigued to find bottles about which I have written in my blog, like the Argentinean Catena Zapata Malbec with its label full of skeletons and nude women. It’s like meeting up with old friends. And then we find friends in flesh and blood, like Elena Fucci with her husband Andrea, Paolo Bianchini who tells me how he managed to get Alex Zanardi to come to Benvenuto Brunello, Tamara Maccherini who now works for Regaleali

Wine Advocate- Robert Parker tasters

Many of the Wine Advocate-Robert Parker tasters were present including the chief Lisa Perrotti-Brown Master of Wine who is responsible for the Bordeaux and Napa wines. Then Monica Larner, who tastes Italian wines, Stephan Reinhardt, reviewer for Switzerland, Champagne, Loire, Germany, Alsace, and Austria, and William Kelley, taster for Burgundy.

They consequently guide stellar master classes. What is stunning is their young age: Reinhart with his total white hair has a handsome face that makes him similar to an actor or a model, Kelley looks like a teenager and is described by Monica Larner as a genius with a prodigious memory because he can quote without hesitation the vertical tastings of all the wineries.

Calaf and Brunello become a chocolate masterpiece

Calaf, the prince in the Turandot by Puccini, gives its name to the dark chocolate pralines containing drops fine wines such as our Brunello

Calaf from the Turandot, in chocolate

Calaf-e-Brunello-DonatellaCinelliClombini

Calaf-e-Brunello-DonatellaCinelliClombini

Calaf is a series of 9 pralines in dark chocolate filled with drops of Brunello, Amarone, Fiano di Avellino, Passerina del Frusinate, Malvasia, Passito di Pantelleria, Primitivo and Taurasi. Obviously the Brunello is one produced by Donatella Cinelli Colombini.

Every bon bon is packaged, as if it were a jewel, in single boxes, or in a box set that contains the whole series of 9-18 chocolates.  On the outside there are drawings from the beginning of the 20th century, a clear exotic inspiration that recalls the protagonist of the Turandot.  Calaf is in fact a Chinese prince that succeeds in transforming into a woman in love, the beautiful but bloodthirsty Princess called Turandot. This old fable became famous because of the music written by Giacomo Puccini and never finished by the composer because of his passing. For this reason, during the first performance in (1926) at the Teatro Alla Scala, the Maestro Toscanini interrupted the representation at the point where the composer had left it, and refused, even in later occasions to perform the completed version by Franco Alfano.

Calaf and the fine wine and love pralines

 

Calaf-praline-with-Brunello

So Calaf is a love hero. He who puts his life at risk to have the woman he loves. And it is this romantic character that Nadia Pagliuca, born in Campania but now living in Tuscany that inspired her to create a high end series of exclusive chocolates.

To open her boxes is an aromatic experience even before becoming a taste experience, because the aroma of the bon bons is so intoxicating. Each box can per personalized and become a present unlike any other.

Calaf is the second of Nadia’s projects in Tuscany. In 2012 she opened “La Confetteria Firenze” with the support of a famous confectioner from Sulmona. Here, in this partnership, the first Chianti filled bon bon was born, and inevitably it became a constant presence at weddings in Tuscany. The new Calaf project regards Nadia Pagliuca together with a group of family members and friends with whom a series of pralines, where chocolate and fine wines are mixed, has been studied and tested.

Foglia Tonda is a new star of the Tuscan vineyard

Forum regarding the old grape variety called Foglia Tonda with wines from 9 wineries. Donatella Cinelli Colombini and Gianni Fabrizio tell the story and the characteristics

 

Foglia-Tonda-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

On Friday February the 1st at Fattoria del Colle, in Southern Tuscany, the Foglia Tonda grape variety will make its debut into wine society, where there is a comparison between great winemaking in front of great wine critics. Donatella Cinelli Colombini, host and initiator of the rediscovery of this old Sienese grape variety abandoned more than 100 years ago and now once again of interest to the market and to the experts. She together with another 8 colleagues will tell the story and give a tasting of wines based on Foglia Tonda variety.

 

FOGLIA TONDA FORUM – HOW IT WAS ORGANIZED

<<We found 18 wineries producing Foglia Tonda and 9 of them, from all over Tuscany have replied to our invitation. The forum allows a group of experts and influencers to get to know the Foglia Tonda characteristics better, within its terroir and style differences>>explained the famous taster and journalist Gianni Fabrizio. He will guide the tasting of three of the wines presents obtained with only  Foglia Tonda , where some aged in an amphora will give the possibility of better understanding the fruit, ad two blends will give the possibility to consider the potential of Foglia Tonda as a partner for  Sangiovese, main variety in Tuscany. The other 4 wines will be served directly by their producers with an around the table setting.

 

Foglia-tonda-forum-2019

PARTICIPANTS OF THE FOGLIA TONDA FORUM

Podere Sequerciani (Gavorrano GR), Podere Ema (Grassina FI), Mocine (Asciano SI), Il Castellaccio (Castagneto Carducci LI), Donatella Cinelli Colombini Az.Agr. (Trequanda SI), Mammuccini Droandi Nuova Agricoltura (Montevarchi AR), Podere Anima Mondi (Casciana Terme PI), Santa Vittoria (Foiano della Chiana AR), Poggio al Vento Mascelloni (Castiglion d’Orcia SI).

A great Brunello 2013 riserva Casato Prime Donne

2013 was a vintage that started low key, and that later convinced experts and consumers all over the world. In the Riserva versions it aims to get to the top of the ratings

 

2013 harvest Annibale the dog

This had already happened in the past when the 2009 bettered all expectations and so became one of the cult vintages for Brunello.

The 2013 vintage had a rainy winter and a cool summer, a typical climate for long lasting and important Brunello. Shortly after the harvest the wine did not seem so special but after the time spent in barrel it finally revealed its extraordinary elegance.

The Brunello stars

To understand what happened let me tell you how the stars get awarded to Brunello vintages. Long ago the evaluation of vintages was done by expert wine journalists but in 1992 the Consorzio del Brunello decided to do it itself, with rigorous and above all objective criteria. From that moment onwards, every year, its asks the Montalcino wineries, for a sample of the new vintage just born. It has all samples analysed and then reunites a panel of technicians made up of the best wine makers. Their opinion is expressed in stars: 1 star for a bad year, 5 stars for the excellent ones.

During the presentation of the new Brunello, half way through February, the President of the Consorzio reveals the number of stars that have been attributed to the new vintage. This rating is portrayed on a ceramic tile positioned, each year, on the facade of the Old Town Hall in Montalcino and also on our fermentation room facade at Casato Prime Donne.

Harvest-Brunello-2013-sorting-table

This method has been criticized during past years; the amount of 5 stars vintages has increased greatly with the climate changes, and some vintages, especially after barrel ageing, reveal qualities that are much

superior to the expectations.

This is exactly the case of the 2013 vintage, that obtained at the time just 4 stars. But after its barrel ageing it has been judged, by many of the best tasters, as superior to the 2012, that in fact had had a better rating.

The more expensive the wine, less certainty there is about the alcohol content

There is a widespread habit of writing on the label an alcohol content percentage that is not quite exact but closest to the value considered ideal for high quality wines. Let see who puts the true or false alcohol content on the label

Chilean vineyards

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne

The most sincere are le Portuguese, those that cheat the most are the Chileans for red wines and Canadians for whites

True or false alcohol content on the label

What is surprising is that this trick regards only wines on sale at more than 40$. But, in order; this information had worldwide coverage thanks to Wine Searcher but originally came from the  Journal of Wine Economics which published a study regarding 91.000 analysis carried out by LCBO Liquor Control Board of Ontario.  In other words it was the state monopoly for the sales of alcohol in  Ontario to do the study.

Malbec Argentina

Sweet wines and Rieslings were not included.

The  LCBO analyzes  all the wines that it distributes and in the course of 18 years has collected a data bank without competitors in the world. This information  allowed  Julian Alston, Kate Fuller, James Lapsley, George Soleas and Kabir Tumber, to get  these very surprising results.

Valentine’s Day with romance and wine

At Fattoria del Colle for dinner on February 14th or a whole weekend dedicated to love, Brunello and aphrodisiac aromas

Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day dinner – February 14th – candlelit dinner with a menu concentrated on love. The weekend 15-17 February with erotic aromas, Benvenuto Brunello and romantic rites for wine loving couplet. An intense and unrepeatable program to enjoy your passions

 

VALENTINE’S DINNER

Here is the brief proposal for Valentine’s Day. Romantic dinner in the restaurant veranda at  Fattoria del Colle: slow music, candles, menu with typical traditional Tuscan dishes with aphrodisiac ingredients , such as “ ciancifricola” with quail eggs, panpepato, truffles, saffron, cloves, chocolate….(4 courses, wines not included 34 euro) to be matched with fine wines such as Brunello or Brunello Riserva, Cenerentola Doc Orcia …. For those who wish to prepare their skin for a night of romance dinner can be preceded by massages with extra virgin olive oil or vino-therapy treatments for the couple, or, still as a couple, a bath in the panoramic Jacuzzi.

 

VALENTINE’S WEEKEND AND BENVENUTO BRUNELLO

Fattoria del Colle couples massage with extra virgin olive oil

The most romantic weekend this year coincides with Benvenuto Brunello, a preview of the Montalcino wines (tickets to be bough directly from the Consorzio del Brunello website) where the exceptional Brunello Riserva 2013 will be presented. Montalcino is about 35 km from Fattoria del Colle.

DISCOVERING SEDUCTIVE PERFUMES

Our 2019 program for Valentine’s weekend is dedicated to wine, erotic scents and romance. The experience of perfuming your body and the explanations regarding the seductive character of certain essences come from Gloria Del Dottore expert in artistic perfuse. Together with Gloria women in love will take an aromatic journey to understand how to wear the more voluptuous perfumes and when o the other hand to wear fragrances that give energy or that relax.

The rooms and apartments are furnished with antique furniture; they have the intimacy of authentic places and are particularly apt for this type of stay.

Revolutionary millennial sommeliers

More women, more social media, more multiethnic, more managers, more difficult in pairings more able to discover and entertain … these are the millennial sommeliers

Revolutionary millennial sommeliers Cha McCoy

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The Sommelier stereotipe

Which is the sommelier stereotype?  Probably a man dressed in a dark blue suit that comes up to your table in a restaurant to explain the wine list and help in the choice of a bottle.  Finally he then will serve the wine in a sort of ritual made up of glasses to be rinsed, decanter, the uncorking of the bottle and sometimes the sharing of some of his knowledge <<I visited this winery five years ago and I saw the centuries old barrels where they age this Reisling d’Alsace …. >>. These things will remain forever but are no longer enough.

Taking a step back thanks to the very interesting article by Kathleen Willcox published in Wine Searcher lets continue along the route that made sommeliers from transporters of wine using pack animals to those who possess now a legally recognized title: Union des Sommeliers founded in 1907 in France, Associazione Italiana Sommelier created in Italy in 1965, in the UK in 1969 the Wine & Spirit Education Trust begins its courses and in 1977 the Cout of Master Sommeliers (CMS) is born. The latter  represents the highest level in qualifications for  Sommeliers and reunites 273 members.

Sommeliers managers of restaurants

Revolutionary millennial sommeliers

While there is an  increase in number and in quality of the sommeliers, International restaurants have seen a crisis regarding starred chefs who are closing their activities and, the arrival of a new figure, one that unites the managers competences and those of a sommelier. In fact many American restaurants have a sommelier as manger.

 

Sommeliers that are wine talent scouts

Other than this new figure that needs knowledge on management, administration and communication worthy of a graduate in managerial  economics, sommeliers must  carry out another function, they must be explorers.

They must suggest unusual pairings and above all they must create occasions for real wine and food experiences.

Young people love farming

In ninth position among the preferred professions, by young people between 17 and 30 years of age, is grape growing, with 17 % of preferences. Cultivating the land becomes trendy

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fattoria del Colle, Toscana

Fattoria del Colle young people and farming

The survey

In Klaus Davi’s ranking there are three professions that are more creative (stylist 41%, eye-wear designer 36%, and interior decorator 27%) and three handicraft jobs: tailor, Goldsmith and shoe menders, as well as project manager. Very different choices with regards to the usual 9-5 office job, profession aimed at by the majority of young Italians up until 20 years ago.

Therefore, today these choices do seem influenced by the convincement in our Made In Italy, in terms of quality and in the possibility that this creates stability and earnings.

A good consideration, but this might also underestimate the difficulty of creative handicraft professions that require years of preparation as well as youngsters having to be artistically gifted, and these things are not common

Young people and nature

The comparison between the young people’s enthusiasm and the data shared by CNA and Confartigianato regarding small enterprises that are in difficulty jumps to the eye, and emphasizes the difference between truth and dreams of the news generations. But maybe it is the necessity to have jobs with more flexible hours, more possibility to express one’s own personality and of course the rapport with nature that are more widespread than we think.

Fattoria del Colle young people in farming

 

At the beginning of September at the Fiera del Levante organized by Coldiretti it was emphasized that <<among the 30,000 young people under 40 years of age that in 2016-2017 have in Italy presented application opening a farming activity, according to the Piani di Sviluppo Rurale dell’Unione Europea, 61% is concentrated in the South of Italy and the isles>> it seems that 18 thousand young people in the south see farming as a job opportunity and self-realization.

Felix before, during and after surgery

Felix the blonde golden retriever, king of Fattoria del Colle, has had surgery for two skin tumours. He is well but we have been worried.

Felix-king-of-Fattoria-del-Colle-straight-after-surgery

Greedy, lazy, a snuggler, a wimp ….Felix welcomes, with a waggly tail all those who arrive at Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda. Everybody loves him.

 

DISCOVERING THE TUMOURS

During the summer we discovered that Felix had a strange bump on his back, and its pathology revealed that is was a skin tumour. This shocked us greatly. When we took him to the vet for surgery, we also discovered a second bump that after the incision resulted in being a second tumour even bigger than the first.

A few hours after surgery, when Felix came home, all his back had been shaved and he had two long scars, but he was walking, and hungry.

The scan and pathology on lymph nodes, liver and pancreas found no metastasis; we are worried, but have avoided chemo. We will keep him under check and if we see any suspect symptoms we will take action, but we did not want him to be unwell because of invasive therapy. This might have been a selfish decision but he is serene and he must live a good life until his health allows him to.

In the meantime he has pulled out 5 stitches rubbing against a hedge. Great amount of worry, and more stitches! For a few days he was “under special surveillance” and he was allowed out only accompanied. For him that was very strange as he lives free to come and go all day long, following Donatella Cinelli Colombini and barking with his big baritone voice when he finds a shut door. He actually hates shut doors!

 

LET ME PRESENT FELIX

Our Golden retriever is enormous he weighs over 50kg, but he acts like a puppy. He is very fearsome, he is scared of thunder and he hides under the desks for protection.

Violante-and-Felix-in-the-vineyard

Rifle shots have the same effect, consequently  when out for a walk he runs home if he hears the hunters. On the other hand is he fascinated by deer, wild boar and porcupines, he doesn’t run after them but he sits aiming at them

and barks while wagging his tail.

Felix is unrepentantly greedy. The vet calls him “pastasciutta”. He is able to finish his dish (one hamburger, half a chicken breast and beef with rice and zucchini, twice a day) in just a few minutes and then he wanders over to the restaurant, sits by the door waiting, as if famished.

The highest paid chefs in the world

They earn more from TV programs and advertisements and less from their kitchen hobs. The richest chef in the world is Jamie Oliver while in Italy it’s the Cerea brothers from Da Vittorio

 

Jamie-Oliver-richest-chefs-in -the- world

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The ranking of the highest paid chefs in the world is by Forbes .The Richest and Celebrity Net Worth’s republished by Career Advice and might seem surprising because the profits do not come from the restaurants but more from the TV and publicity.

 

JAMIE OLIVER CHEF THAT EARNS THE MOST

Top of the list Jamie Oliver, 42 years of age, handsome, great communicator, he is the best exportation product from the UK. He greatly loves Italian cuisine and kids, and for them he has worked greatly in trying to make their diets healthy and appetizing. He earns 208 million Euro per year for TV programs advertising, consultations, books …..His throne as highest paid chef in the world has one crack in it. The malicious say that his chain of restaurants has 72 million pounds in debts.

GORDON RAMSAY BAD TEMPERED AND MILLIONAIRE CHEF

richest-chefs-in-the-world-Gordon-Ramsay

In second position of the richest chefs we find Gordon Ramsay with about 100 million euro. He is from Scotland, 51 years of age, a marathon runner, and he has loads of restaurants where he has obtained 16 Michelin stars. His earnings come mostly from the TV where his wrathful temper gets great audience.

MILLIONAIRE CHEFS AND TELEVISION STARS

Third the Australian Wolfgang Puck, fourth Rachael Ray who specializes in TV programs on quick recipes, Emeril Lagasse has 16 restaurants but earns mostly from the merchandising, Ina Garten financial advisor of the White House and ex manager of the specialty food store called Barefoot Contessa in New York, her profits come from the good use of her brand and not from the cooking.

Mario Batali  Jo Bastianich’s partner, and owner of restaurants and TV programs risks a great deal because of sexual assault claims.

Saffron and the Montalcino recipe for tripe

To pick a kilogram of saffron you need 150 thousand flowers. In medieval times it was used instead of gold and today it is used in the kitchens of the greatest chefs, but in Montalcino it is the main ingredient in the recipe for tripe

HISTORY

Arnolfo-ColleDiValD’Elsa-risotto with lemon, blue lobster saffron

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

The name comes from Persia, Zaafran , and in fact it comes from Asia and the southern coast of the Mediterranean, even though, for many centuries it has also been cultivated in Marche, Abruzzi, Sardinia, Umbria, Toscana and Basilicata.

It is the most valuable of spices.

Around this flower there is a legend:  Homer writes that saffron was a comfortable bed for Zeus, the old Romans used the flowers to cover the roads before the passage of prices and emperors.

It was also used for ministers’ headdresses for ceremonies, and for dyeing their robes.

saffron

For this reason too, apart from the quotations by Pliny and Ovid we are sure that the Romans knew of saffron, but its cultivation then was lost and began again in L’Aquila thanks to the Dominican Padre Santucci who imported it secretly from Spain.

CULTIVATION

Saffron is a crocus about 5 cm long from which generally three violet flowers with red stigmas. It loves dry climates and a sandy soil such as those in the Val d’Orcia dove where is has been grown since time immemorial.

The type that is most prestigious and desired by those who love good cuisine is the Crocus sativus which is sterile and reproduces only thanks to cloning.

It was selected in Crete by impassioned cultivators who were trying to better the production of stigmas.

Mandragora from the garden to Macchiavelli

The Mandragora roots are considered an aphrodisiac but they are also killers and have inspired stories and comedies. Come and see the vegetable garden at Fattoria del Colle

 

Mandragora -autumnalis -Bertol

In the big vegetable garden at Fattoria del Colle there are 80 species and 500 plants. Some of them have a story and a myth, such as Mandragora, considered an aphrodisiac and a killer

 

THE MANDRAKE COMEDY BY MACCHIAVELLI

Niccolò Macchiavelli wrote the  The Mandrake comedy in five acts, for the marriage of  Lorenzo dé Medici and Margherita de La Tour, at the beginning of the 16th century. It talks about a funny and irreverent episode that was a great success.

So, this story takes place in Florence in 1504.  The young and rich Callimaco returns from Paris to Florence

La-Mandrake-commedy-by-Macchiavelli

attracted by the fame and beauty of Lucrezia, faithful wife to and old, pompous and foolish husband, Messer Nicia.  Nicia thinks that his wife is sterile and hence he tries to find a remedy through the doctor, who convinces him to make Lucrezia drink a potion made with Mandragora, consequently  she will remain pregnant but the man who sleeps with her will die.

Obviously Nicia has no intention of dying for love and so decides to kidnap a stranger from the streets in Florence and to put him in bed with Lucrezia. So, with the help of a corrupt monk, Nicia convinces his wife to let the stranger make love to her and so the plot unfolds.

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