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Toscana Lovers 2 and Donatella Cinelli Colombini repeats

Toscana Lovers a boutique where you find the best artisan products opens a new store in Bagno Vignoni, the most exclusive spa centre in Italia

Toscana Lovers Stefania during preparation

Toscana Lovers Stefania during preparation

It is in the heart of the most beautiful part of Tuscany, where one finds the only medieval spa centre that is still intact, in this minute hamlet near the war water pool where Santa Caterina and Lorenzo il Magnifico bathed: Bagno Vignoni. This is where  Donatella Cinelli Colombini is opening her second store ”Toscana Lovers” dedicated to the best Tuscan handicraft. After the success of her other Siena shop, just round the corner from Piazza del Campo where the Palio race is run, now a second boutique for handmade Tuscan objects.

Bagno Vignoni - Toscana Lovers shop

Bagno Vignoni – Toscana Lovers shop

Her you find knives from Scarperia, the sharp blades famous since the 8th century and made by the master knife make. The Virginia pottery, with its shabby chic style and where every day utensils are reinvented. Then the chopping boards and the tureens made in olive wood loved by northern tourists where these trees can’t grow. Soap bars decorated with bronze stamps and perfuse with natural essences from Tuscany such as the iris, symbol of Florence. Scarves by Cecchi & Cecchi and many objects in resin that trap for ever leaves and flowers. Of course wines too – Brunello, Chianti and Orcia- from the family estates Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda.

Here's why Brunello di Montalcino is unique

What makes Brunello di Montalcino so special and inimitable? Here’s why the wine from every winery in Montalcino different and what makes Casato Prime Donne stand out

Brunello di Montalcino - Casato Prime Donne winery

Brunello di Montalcino – Casato Prime Donne winery

Montalcino Casato Prime Donne, Brunello barrels

Montalcino Casato Prime Donne, Brunello barrels

Montalcino is the place where the Sangiovese variety reaches excellence; the soils are from very old geological eras, the climate is favourable and the grape growers’ passion helps to create real masterpieces with just one grape variety: Brunello di Montalcino. Few territories the world over can produce wonderful wines with just one variety Burgundy with its Pinot Noir, the Rhone valley with  Syrah … these areas the soil vocation and the love of the grape growers unite perfectly. This also happens in Montalcino. At Casato Prime Donne for example, where there is a small hill facing south and with the Suga stream close by. The owner’s ancestors used to go to Casato by horse, to go hunting in the big woods that reached the sea. Already in 1592 they were paying taxes, for the products of their land. But it was Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s grandfather, Avvocato Giovanni Colombini, who emphasized this area with Sangiovese vineyards to produce Brunello. In the past few years thanks to the changes in climate the quality of the grapes has reached extraordinary levels. In fact the cool microclimate at Casato Prime Donne allows a slow and gradual ripening of the grapes and this gives the wine extraordinary elegance, harmony and complexity. 

Leone Rosso by the Lioness Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Leone Rosso Orcia Doc in a roaring new version. Harmonic, full, extremely pleasant and elegant is the perfect example of the 2013 harvest here in the DOC Orcia

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Leone Rosso harvest 2013 - grapes selection

Leone Rosso harvest 2013 – grapes selection

This wine Leone Rosso owes its name to the blazon which belonged to Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s ancestors, the Socinis, and old family ,who in 1592 built Fattoria del Colle which is where this wine comes from. Among the Socinis there were 5 heretics. Two of which –Lelio and Fausto – were particularly important opponents of the Catholic church and for this reason were excommunicated. Fattoria del Colle was confiscated and only in 1919 it was bought back by a Socini, great-grandfather to the present owner Donatella Cinelli Colombini.

Today the estate covers 336 hectares of which 17 of vineyard for the production of Chianti DOCG and Orcia DOC. This last denomination was created in the year 2000 in the beautiful and intact territory in southern Tuscany between the more famous Brunello and Vino Nobile territories.

The 2013 harvest has been described by Prof Attilio Scienza as “old style” with lower temperatures than in the previous years, soil plentiful of humidity and a traditionally long vegetative cycle that makes longer lasting more complex wines. The harvest was not very plentiful but excellent for those like Donatella Cinelli Colombini picked before the arrival of the rainfalls.

The 10 wine words, but not in English

Wine is in itself a universal message, but the history of wine is full of terms from all over the world and here are the 10 most used wine words

Julien Miquel explains the 10 most used wine words

Julien Miquel explains the 10 most used wine words

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

I often read the thoughts of Julien Miquel, a French wine maker, who lives in New Zealand and is an authentic social wine genius.  This year his Social Vignerons won the Wine Blog Award among the novelties. I suggest you follow him on Facebook, Twitter or on his blog or in Vivino because he opens up new horizons for you. Here I am quoting an article of his about the 10 most common wine words and you will discover the curiosities that only a super wine expert knows

"Riserva" is among the most common wine words 

“Riserva” is among the most common wine words

Wine for Julien is like an actor that doesn’t need an interpreter to be understood << But there are a few wine terms that keep popping up on wine labels all the time. So you are simply better off understanding their meaning if you want to know what you’re buying>>

So here is Julien Miquel’s wine dictionary with the 10 most popular non-English wine words that appear on back labels, because as everyone knows the front label is nearly always the work of a graphic artist, while the obligatory by law information and the explanations are always on the back.

Wine trends in 2016

A new generation becomes protagonist of wine consumption: millenials and the 2016 wine tendencies reflect its multiethnic and environmental character

wine trends 2016 and millennials winelovers

wine trends 2016 and millennials winelovers

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

According to the report by Wine Intelligence the main terms for 2016 will be: loyalizing, trust, small, now, transparent, fusion, interaction, personalized, wellness

MILLENNIALS Will be determinant in the 2016 wine tendencies. Their preferences go for wines that tell a true story (and they immediately realized which are false) and those which respect the environment. Authenticity and handmade are liked very much. But also wine as a discovery and as an experience of different places and cultures, so they will be less attracted by the brand and more by exploration. Young people want to interact, understand and share.

More and more on vineyards Lebenberg Castle

More and more on vineyards Lebenberg Castle

ALWAYS HIGHER UP Vineyards will be higher up to beat the heat. There are those who have planted vines at more than 1000 metres in Argentina and at 2.000 m in Chile

PROSECCO The bubble has exploded. In GB  36% of habitual drinkers chooses Prosecco. Demand has surpassed the offer but there is a new request for quality and alternatives … especially in the Spanish cava

Pasqua con bambini nonni e cani alla Fattoria del Colle

Easter in Tuscany with children, grandparents and dogs

Easter in Tuscany with kids, grandparents and dogs so as to rediscover the sacredness and the food traditions of this celebration with the addition of great wines and wellness

Easter with children, grandparents and dogs in Fattoria del Colle

Easter with children, grandparents and dogs in Fattoria del Colle

Fattoria del Colle is 12 km from the Abbey of Monte Oliveto Maggiore and 40 km from the abbey of Sant’Antimo in Montalcino, and 100 km from Assisi. Those wishing to experience a spiritual Easter holiday will have close by the right places.

For those wishing to have a holiday with the family and is thinking about spending time with the kids, grandparents and pets, we propose a program with daily fun activities.

This includes a tour of the Brunello winery called Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino, with an itinerant wine tasting; an absolute novelty crated by Igor Vazzaz a musician sommelier. At Fattoria del Colle the adventure continues with the guided tour of the historical halls of the estate where the owner Donatella Cinelli Colombini lives and, a visit to the winery where the Chianti and Orcia wines are made. A tour full of curiosities that will bring back memories for grandparents and will teach children lots of things about Tuscan history. There will be then two wine tastings not –to-be-missed: a vertical tasting of Brunello and a game at playing wine maker for a day creating your own dream wine.

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 >>

Why getting married at Fattoria del Colle is best

We have organized weddings for world champions, film producers, and people from high finance coming from 16 different nations … and they all said that <<getting married at Colle is the best>>

By Sara Mazzeschi, Fattoria del Colle

Wedding at fattoria del Colle

Wedding at fattoria del Colle

This is because at the table there is Brunello with other wines that receive International prizes, because the cutting of the cake takes place in the woods with lighting by the set designer of “4 weddings and a funeral”, because the honeymoon is spent in the bedroom that once belonged to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, because the panoramas are the most beautiful in the world and because Fattoria del Colle is an authentic place, with more than 400 years of noble history and a wedding needs a true frame , true like the love that united the bride and groom.

I have been to many ceremonies all over Italy but I must say that getting married in Tuscany is unbeatable. In fact, with figures in hand, it is the most sought after destination, villas, castles and farmhouses are all possible locations, and they are springing up like mushrooms. Fattoria del Colle, in South of Siena, where I organize weddings, has in the past seen dozens of couples ask for perfection for their Day and never has this magic place disappointed them. Buy why choose it? Why is getting married here best?

Our unbeatable Wine Tours

A perfect blend of excellent wines, art and captivating activities: these are the wine tours at Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda and Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino


Wine Tour – Brunello 2010 – Donatella Cinelli Colombini

By Alice Bracciali, Fattoria del Colle

Our key words are authenticity and excellence.  Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s ancestors were already owners of Fattoria del Colle and Casato Prime Donne at the end of the 16th century; these are today open to the public for guided tastings and wine tours.

Our proposals give one the possibility of tasting wines that win International awards and the possibility of learning family history and stories together with other small wine making secrets: during the itinerant tastings in fact you will be guided to discover the most hidden corners of these two historical estates. Among the tours, some of which are very suggestive and fascinating, such as “Let’s play winemaker” and the “Wine and Music tasting”, which are absolute novelties and enrich our portfolio of activities in a curious and captivating way.

Lago di Caldaro_vigneti

Salon, the Champagne preferred by a teetotaller called Hitler

Only 37 vintages made during the 1900’s, from the grapes coming from 20 very small vineyards in Mesnil-Sur-Oger, the  Salon Champagne is the rarest Blanc de Blancs, it is the first cult wine By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne This was created to be something exclusive, in 1905, when the fur coat dealer decided to create Champagne, made only with Chardonnay, like no other. He chose the areas where the grapes reach perfection and crates a masterpiece that he keeps all for himself. No blends with other vintages, at least ten years ageing, which are decidedly enough for it to reach incredible levels of finesse and complexity in the aroma. In other words, the top! Finally the Salon 1920 gets put on sale and becomes the first cult wine. It became such a myth to have even an unexpected teetotaller among...

Rosso di Montalcino 2014 the year of ORGANIC vineyards

Donatella Cinelli Colombini  presents her Rosso di Montalcino 2014 portraying a 20th century style vintage in the sign of ORGANIC vineyards.

Rosso di Montalcino 2014 Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Rosso di Montalcino 2014 Donatella Cinelli Colombini

2014 a vintage like in the 20th century with great cluster thinning and reduction of the leaves just like our grandfathers used to do. At the end perfect grapes that were sound and rewarded the great work done by the grape growers.

In fact 2014 has been the vintage for a comeback for those who, like Donatella Cinelli Colombini, believe in a manual and organic cultivation of the vineyards. Healthy vines, healthy and ripe grapes. Those who have used pesticides cannot say the same.

The Rosso di Montalcino 2014 is being put on sale a few months earlier than foreseen because of the great success that was obtained by the previous vintage.

Casato Prime Donne grape harvest 2014

Casato Prime Donne grape harvest 2014

The new style of the Rosso di Montalcino by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, that is so liked by wine lovers all over the world, is based on a very delicate vinification which extracts from the grape skins only the best. The result is very satisfying and easy to match with food from all over the world, it is elegant, round but most of all extraordinarily harmonious.

It is this extreme harmony that is the distinctive trait of the grapes from Casato Prime Donne, thanks to the slow and gradual ripening of the grapes typical for this area. In 2014 the climatic conditions were ideal for the synthesis of the grape aromas and consequently those of the wine. It is in fact the climate that has impressed in the 2014 wines a very modern style: deep, round and not very alcoholic.

Pinot Noir bubbles could prevent Alzheimer’s

Professor Spencer’s discovery makes all Champagne producers jump for joy as their precious bubbles keep the brain young

krug Champagne

krug Champagne

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini Montalcino Casato Prime Donne

Pinot Noir for Champagne

Pinot Noir for Champagne

300 very fortunate volunteers are drinking a glass of  Champagne three times a week to see if their brain cells benefit more than those of the 300 volunteer, the less lucky ones, who are not drinking any. This experiment carried out on rats  gave exceptional  results after only 6 weeks: the rats who had  Champagne showed an increase of 200 % in those proteins necessary for memory functions. Professor Jeremy Spencer from the Reading University has consequently thought of repeating the trial on human beings over a three year period. Apparently the polyphenols are the beneficial substances present in Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, in other words the black grapes used to make precious French sparkling wines. Cellular ageing that provokes the loss of memory starts at around 40 years of age, and continues until we are around 80. So this is the  senile dementia typical in the elderly who forget where they have put things that they have just bought, or where they have been that morning. It is this forgetfulness that seem to be treatable with Champagne, and never before has such a cure been more appreciated, also because Prof. Spencer said to start as soon as possible. How wonderful!


Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello Prime Donne 2011

Brunello Prime Donne was born as a challenge when the Wine Guides only had men tasters and it has become the first red wine dedicated to women.

Brunello di Montalcino Prime Donne 2011

Brunello di Montalcino Prime Donne 2011

In 1998 when Donatella Cinelli Colombini had just received from her parents Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti. Two properties to renovate so as to create a new estate. Lots of investments to be done but also a small,l but also very important, help to begin with: some small quantities of winedestined to become Brunello from the vintages 1993-1997. The search for a cellar master to take care of the wines brought usto chooses a female “head of the cellar” also to the choice of having an all female staff in the cellar, and also to the decision to make the first great red wine apt for a long ageing dedicated to women consumers, the Brunello Prime Donne. Practically a provocation in an era when the guide books for wine had only panels of male tasters.

Prime Donne - Brunello tasting

Prime Donne – Brunello tasting

During the years the Brunello Prime Donne has obtained more and more consent from the international wine press and from the consumers (mostly men). Then last year it was submerged by prizes.

The Brunello “Prime Donne “ is a selection, so it is chosen from all the wine produced from the same vintage. The panel of tasters chooses which wine will become Prime Donne. And in which barrels it must be aged. The panel is made up of 4 very expert lady wine tasters, and they meet once or twice a year. They are the Italo-American Pr Marina Thompson, the German wine shop owner Astrid Schwarz, and one of the best Italian sommeliers Daniela Scrobogna to whom during 2015 we have added the English Master of wine Rosemary George to substitute Maureen Ashley.

Willage winery club

Homemade "Cult wine"

In the East Village in NY in an apartment of about 50 m2 the first domestic winery was born, created in the home of a young engineer of Italian origin

Willage winery club

Willage winery club

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello Casato Prime Donne

I read about this in “Gambero rosso”, the article regards an engineer of Sicilian origin who lives in the East Village in New York and is called Matthew Baldassano. At a first glance it resembles an urban winery like others in London and in Canada but, in this case it is a flat where the up and coming winemaker lives usually, plus the production aims high , it aims at becoming a  “cult wine” , term usually used to indicate wines with a high price and great image such as, to quote Wikipedia <<for example, Screaming Eagle from California and Penfolds Grange from Australia, among many others ….Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, Château Margaux, Château Haut-Brion, and Château Mouton Rothschild>>.

Mattehew Baldassano Village Winery club

Mattehew Baldassano Village Winery club

And here on the contrary the concept of cult is turned over. The value given to the wine does not come from the Robert Parker rating or from the vineyards as for Romanée Conti and neither from the prestige of an historic name such as Frescobaldi, but from the fact that the consumers of these bottles personally take part in its production. This is how Baldassano created the “Village Winery Club” and twice a year he buys grapes from California and Chile (petite Syrah, Cabernet and Zinfandel) and invites people to participate via his  Facebook page <<Tempus Est Iam For those who want to get involved in the‪#‎urbanwinemovement>> is what he wrote on September 16th last. The Village Winery Club has more than 100 members and to participate costs 200$.

Brunello 2010 Riserva a masterpiece

<<This is the best Brunello I have ever produced>> says Donatella Cinelli Colombini, <<a masterpiece in harmony, power and longevity that bowls you over with finesse>>

Brunello Riserva 2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Brunello Riserva 2010 Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Wine lovers from all over the world have been waiting for it for years: the Riserva 2010 will follow the spectacular international success had by the regular 2010 Brunello.

Born as a 5 star vintage, a year where the climate was so favourable, and where, a real exception, there were many grapes and were extraordinarily good. There were other exceptional things in 2010: thanks to a cool summer, even though full of sunny days, when the grapes were picked the vines were still in their vegetative period. The photographs show us pickers with their scissors in hand under vines with a colour as if in spring. Rare but very favourable condition.

From the Brunello Riserva 2010 we obtained the selection IosonoDONATELLA

Casato Prime Donne Montalcino all women winery

Casato Prime Donne Montalcino all women winery

Vintage characteristics: very rainy and snowy winter and spring. Thanks to the hydrated soil the vines resisted well the very hot month of July. In August the heat was mitigated by some storms, shortly after the colouring of the grapes a thinning out of the fruit was done. The grapes destined to become Brunello Riserva were identified before harvest started. For their choice and for deciding the day to pick special analysis was carried out on a laboratory, but most of all tastings were done. The grapes reached the cellar separate from the rest to be vinified (maceration was longer than for the regular Brunello) and later aged in barrels with careful, practically daily, attention. For the Riserva 2010 special oak tonneaux of medium charring were bought from 3 French workshops, practically barrels made to measure to emphasize the extraordinary potential of the wine.


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