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New Year’s Eve in agriturismo with the magic of Brunello

New Year’s eve in the Tuscan countryside with wines tastings, guided tours, brief cookery lesson on pinci and cakes, 4 course tasting dinners with 4 wines, and many other experiences.

New Year’s Eve dinner at Fattoria del Colle

Where to go for New Year’s Eve

With friends, with family or with the love of your life, with your four legged friends…. The beginning of the New Year will be an occasion for a holiday to regenerate while in the midst of nature and traditions.
Fattoria del Colle, in the heart of the most untouched and panorama Tuscany, proposes an intense program with one or two activities per day from December 26th to January 6th. This is a way to appreciate the taste and style of simple but refined lifestyle in a land with a noble past.
Guided tours of the Brunello di Montalcino winery (Casato Prime Donne) and of the Orcia DOC one too, in some cases with itinerant tastings, out to discover anecdotes and particularities that are not well known about these fine Tuscan wines. Otherwise you can opt for an itinerary through the historic halls of the 16th century villa at Fattoria del Colle with the stories of lovers, heretics and brigands , visit the vegetable garden where the aphrodisiac mandragola,

Agriturismo-with-winery-Tuscany-New -Year’s-Eve-FattoriaDelColle

“Aglione” and Val d’Orcia saffron are cultivated together with pepper, liquorices and absinthe…. And many types of mint. There will also be brief cookery lessons to learn how to make pinci, a typical Sienese handmade pasta and how to prepare the typical Sienese Christmas cakes (ricciarelli and panforte) and discover that they are really easy to make and much tastier that than the industrial ones. And finally take part in the traditional panforte game with the ladle handle to measure the winner’s distance. In the two estate restaurants we prepare themed dinners, some of which with 4 traditional dishes matched with 4 wines.

How to transform awards and ratings into business

This is the time of year for Wine Guides and Wine Competitions, WineMeridian gives us 8 suggestions on how to transform good ratings into business: communication, events, and packaging

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

Wine Spectator Wine Advocate Brunello 2010 Riserva DonatellaCinelli Colombini

The first thing to be considered if the owner is the only one to know about the award received, this remains a private thing, pleasant,  but with little effect. Because for the scores from the big wine magazines, the awards from the great wine guides, and for wine competitions to have a beneficial effect on the businesses, this info must be shared with importers and clients. It is not enough for the score to be published on a page of Wine Spectator or in the guide or in the press releases of the awards

 

WINE SPECTATOR WINE ADVOCATE

WINE SPECTATOR WINE ADVOCATE

Here follow 8 suggestions by WineMeridian where you can go to the original text if you wish to read more.

1)You must have a blog and publish there the news illustrating it with anecdotes, photographs and videos

2) Post the news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with a jargon apt for each social media and using mostly images. Use well the hashtags and key words

3) Create some very visible elements to exhibit: plaques, signs, and pendants for the bottle necks.

4) Label, rosette, sticker to be added to the packaging of the wine. In China these types of elements are greatly liked. During wine fairs one often sees the local importers sticking colourful stickers on the bottles

voucher-presto-IMPS

The end of a myth: it is business that makes a terroir

In Burgundy in 15th century, Port and Chianti in the 18th century and Champagne in the next hundred years, it has been the commercial success to give vineyards their value

 

Terroir-gallo-nero-symbol -Chianti-Classico

Terroir-gallo-nero-symbol -Chianti-Classico

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Chianti superiore

Obviously politics, connections and other circumstances have had an important role but it is always wine business that generates richness that increases the value of the terroir and attracts investors.A prosaic explanation that might be true but certainly less charming than the idea that it is the quality of a wine that crates the myth and the value of a specific territory.This is the extreme synthesis what is said in the report by Giulia Meloni and Johan Swinnen published by Wine Economics, titled Trade and terroir: the political economy of the world’s first geographical indications.We can concentrate on the analysis of the Chianti region. After the Roman era where the eternal city was the centre of wine commerce, there came the medieval period where vineyards and wine commerce were abandoned. In the 15th century Florence and Siena held the main wine markets.

This corresponded to investments made in creating vineyards, building villas, carrying out of research and introductions of salaries for those who worked in making wines. The exporting of Tuscan wines takes off when the English-French war creates serious problems for the Bordeaux wineries and so the English traders begin to seek alternatives to the Chiaretto.

Terroir-origin-of-th-value-Chianti-Classico-Castello-di-Brolio-tomb-Bettino-Ricasoli

Terroir-origin-of-the-value-Chianti-Classico-Castello-di-Brolio-tomb-Bettino-Ricasoli

So the Grand Duke Cosimo III in 1698 cancels the ban on the exporting of wine and the impact is rapid: from 300 Hl exported in 1675 to 13.000 Hl when the ban was removed. The noble Florentine families– Antinori, Frescobaldi, da Verrazzano, Ricasoli .. got rich with their wines and understood the opportunity to protect their businesses. Under their pressure the Grand Duke III emitted another two notices in 1716 that delimited the production areas and the sale of Chianti, Pomino, Carmignano and Valdarno superiore. 

Cristina Cippitelli will be our first Master Sommelier

Cristina Cippitelli: the love for the soil comes from her grandparents in Gaeta but she has learned to taste in  Boston and Toronto and now she has won a  Master Sommelier scholarship

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Brunello

Cristina-Cippitelli-will -be-the-first-Italian -Master-Sommelir-

Cristina-Cippitelli-will -be-the-first-Italian -Master-Sommelier-

And I am not referring to the Alma-AIS institute title that a few years ago created reaction of indignation but I am talking of the Court of Master Sommeliers a fellowship born in 1969 that includes 240 members in USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Germany, Holland and France. These are the top of the sommelerie: tasters, journalists, opinion  makers, wine educators… these are competent professionals, of great talent and who have an enormous influence on the market.

Their president is the great Gerard Basset who is also a Master of Wine. But the Master Sommeliers are now rivals, for prestige and influence of the very powerful MWs, in fact in some cases they are even more powerful.

There is not one Italian among either the Masters of Wine or the  Master Sommeliers.

Cristina-Cippitelli-and-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

Cristina-Cippitelli-and-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

A sign of provincialism that also surfaces in International competitions: when ther are Italians on the podium they work abroad , just like  Paolo Basso. Also the young women who might become the first Italian Master Sommelier lives in Canada. Her name is Cristina Cippitelli, and she came to visit me at Fattoria del Colle , from Toronto where she works at the Air Canada Center while she is studying for the  Wset diploma and for the Advanced Certificate for the Master Sommelier.

She is a lovely person and has a great story that I will tell you.

Grape harvest and racking between Brunello, Orcia and Chianti

A short break at the end of the summer, or a weekend in autumn for a full immersion in the wines Brunello, Orcia and Chianti: September 1st-2nd and October 5-7th

Brunello Harvest and racking

Brunello Harvest and racking

This proposal during harvest and racking is for wine lovers who want to see how the wines are born but also for lovers of the countryside and of its harmonium landscapes, of its traditional cuisine, of a simple but elegant style of life

Donatella Cinelli Colombini proposes two experiences: the first should coincide with the white grape harvest and to the moment of first tastes of the red grapes. The second on the other hand should be when the Sangiovese grapes for Brunello and the clusters for Doc Orcia and Chianti Superiore reach the cellar. To see how these famous wines which get International consent are born, is an exciting experience that allows one to come into contact with nature and allows you to share the producer’s passion.

September 1st-2nd, two days one night pull of experiences that enrich with knowledge and emotions.

Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

Arrive on Saturday afternoon, tour the vineyards and learn about the technique of tasting grapes that allows grape growers to evaluate the ripening and to foresee the date of the harvest. Hoping in favourable weather and the cellar decisions, you should be able to take part in the phases of picking and preserving the Traminer grapes for the Passito. Then a tour of the winery with a tasting of 3 Brunello and then a 4 course dinner matched with four wines from Fattoria del Colle. Next morning transfer to Montalcino with own car to the winery Casato Prime Donne where our brave wine lovers with have a guided tour of the cellar and then a very technical tasting of Brunello from the barrel to understand the different charring and ages of the barrels, then they will taste the preview of the Brunello Riserva 2013 and then the Riserva 2012 to finally taste a Brunello of at least 10 years. Before leaving a nice walk around the vineyards will give new experiences in tasting the grapes and will make the drive back safer.

Do we need many different wine glasses,or is one sole glass best?

wine-glasses-Jancis-Robinson

wine-glasses-Jancis-Robinson

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

One glass for all wines. This is not a new idea; in 2012 I took part in the Chateau Baccarat presentation, this was created by the most famous crystal ware producers in the world, with a story of polished crystals 250 years long, especially wine glasses. A revolutionary glass with a long stem to sustain the cup that has a practically flat base that widens and then goes straight up to a narrow mouth so as to concentrate the aromas in a funnel. Last year I heard about another project for wine glasses that are just as revolutionary, in Portopiccolo during the Donne del Vino national meeting; è has been created by Luca Bini for Italesse, three years of trials.

wine-glasses-Jancis-Robinson

wine-glasses-Jancis-Robinson

A very feminine glass that is also very versatile, but most of all able to emphasize any wine even though it was thought out for sparkling wines.

So now there is a right-about-turn with respect to the usual proposal of a glass for each and every wine, bubbles, young reds, aged reds, wines for meditation …  that fill our cupboards. Great wine taster and high end designers have worked on these new “millevini” wine glasses, . These are not low profile choices and the extortionate price of the Chateau Baccarat proves this.

Wine and bell peppers, a spicy union

I got the idea from Daniele Cernilli and his sweet and round bell peppers stuffed with tuna and matched with Vermentino Maremma DOC.  A desire for something different

 

wine-and-bell-peppers-Habanero

wine-and-bell-peppers-Habanero

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini Fattoria del Colle agriturismo with restaurant

 

All about matching wine and bell peppers

NAME AND HISTORY

Let’s start by saying that this vegetable comes from the Americas, probably Peru. It was brought to Europe during Christopher Columbus’s second transoceanic journey in 1493. The scientific name is “Capsicum” that comes from the Latin word “capsa” which meant box.  In America they called it chilli or xilli and still today maintains the name while the word pepper, used over here, depends on its similarity to pepper

Once arrived in Europe, the cultivation of bell peppers spread rapidly especially in the warmer climates around the Mediterranea

wine-and-bell-peppers-Capsicum-Malaysia

wine-and-bell-peppers-Capsicum-Malaysia

.CULTIVATION

This grows on a perennial plant with a short life, and is picked in June –July and September. To cultivate them the seeds must be planted in February and to increase their hotness, when the fruit has formed, one must reduce the watering, and doing so only when the leaves are droopy. The difference between red and green bell peppers, of the same species, depends only upon the level of ripening, the green ones are unripe.

Lighting for summer dinners at Fattoria del Colle

Summer nights in the countryside, lights, glow worms, outdoor meals. New lighting for  summer dinners at the  Fattoria del Colle restaurant

Lighting-for summer-dinners-Fattoria-del-Colle

Lighting-for summer-dinners-Fattoria-del-Colle

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

For those who come from abroad it is a must: in Italy one must bring light cloche, flip flops and dine under the stars. Millionaires and tourists-on-the-road alike, everyone has the same romantic dream. Obviously their necessities differ: from costly and exclusive events where film producers and starred chefs create unique and private experiences…to glamour events where lights and music create the right atmosphere for famous and less famous people, but everyone is anxious to be seen and photographed by some gossip magazine.

Lighting-for-summer-dinners-Fattoria-del-Colle-before-dinner

Lighting-for-summer-dinners-Fattoria-del-Colle-before-dinner

And so on until we get to the locations apt for a vaster public: the Sicilian ”baglio”, the “masseria” in Puglia, the medieval hamlet in Tuscany … and not to mention the classical terraces overlooking the sea and the tables in the squares of the historical towns and villages with views of artistic monuments .

The open air dinner is part of a trip to Italy just like a visit to the Coliseum or like a true pizza. It is up to us to transform them into magical moments and the lighting has a very important role

FATTORIA DEL COLLE BY NIGHT

At Fattoria del Colle we have tried to put a little originality to our nights and we hope to offer special experiences for outdoor dinners.

Archi, a villa for parties

Magnificent panorama, swimming pool and private parks, dining room with monumental fireplace, 5 bathrooms and 7 bedrooms with air conditioning. Villa Archi is a perfect Tuscan villa for parties 

Villa-for-parties-Toscana-Archi-Fattoria-del-Colle-agriturismo

Villa-for-parties-Toscana-Archi-Fattoria-del-Colle-agriturismo

The luxury of a 2000 sq m villa and a garden that extends over one hectare and that reached the olive groves and the surrounding vineyards. The unique experience of living in a building three hundred years old that still has its porch with its outdoor oven and threes is a fireplace so large you can sit in it. A villa in exclusive use, with nobody else around, in the silence of the countryside.

A truly authentic Tuscan retreat but also modernly equipped: the 7 bedrooms have air conditioning (5 bathrooms), Wi-Fi, TV, a fitted kitchen … In other words there is the intimacy imparted by the antique furnishings, the freedom of wide open spaces and some of the most beautiful panoramas in Tuscany, together with the luxury of a private swimming pool for your sole use right in front of the villa.

Villa-for-parties-Toscana-Archi-swimming-pool-Fattoria-del-Colle-agriturismo

Villa-for-parties-Toscana-Archi-swimming-pool-Fattoria-del-Colle-agriturismo

This is an ideal place to organize a holiday with friends, to sun bathe, to have dinner all together at the same table under the gazebo, or in the dining room in the villa. And for those who love enriching holidays it is possible to take part in cookery lessons, wine tastings,

tours … organized every day at

Fattoria del Colle.

Villa Archi is also apt for organizing a birthday or degree celebration. Fattoria del Colle with its small hamlet and restaurant is only about 200 m away hidden by an olive grove. It can supply traditional food, excellent wines, water and all that is necessary to organize a stylish party.

The 10 best jobs in wine

Wine critic, wine shop owner, brand manager, journalist, wine educator, organizer of events, wine maker, and buyer: these are the 10 best jobs in wine

Paolo-Basso-world champion-sommelier-atl Casato Prime Donne

Paolo-Basso-world champion-sommelier-atl Casato Prime Donne

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

Many start working in wine by changing a passion into a profession but everybody ought to know that before the shiny world of parties, elegant clothes, travels and starred meals, there really is a lot of hard work.

The Drinks Business has tried to list the 10 best wine professions, here I summarize just a few notes, but the article is great fun and I suggest you read it. As you will note among the 10 top professions “wine producer”does not appear, those who grow grapes and transform them into wine to sell it. Maybe this is the hardest job, but in my opinion, the best.

10 best jobs in wine-Viviana-Vecchione-buyer

10 best jobs in wine-Viviana-Vecchione-buyer

BUYER spends most of his time in front of the computer, checking stocks and sales, marketing plans and emails. But he does travel and gets to know wine regions and gets to taste a lot too. The best thing about this job is the possibility to get to know many wine areas and many producers.

WINE MAKER – WINERY DIRECTOR hard job but also fascinating and is always different because every harvest is a new story. To be successful you need to travel and work in other nations.

EVENT ORGANIZER apt only for those who can handle  stress well. This alternates a preparatory job made up of meetings and contacts with some moments where you run night and day.

WINE EDUCATOR this is a new profession that is growing fast, you need to be competent but also have a great ability in communication, and one must be engaging

tappi di sughero da vino

The most expensive whiskey in the world

These are two  bottles of The Macallan Scotch Whiskey from 1929 sold in Dubai for 1,2 million dollars, these are the most expensive whiskeys in the worldBy Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne[caption id="attachment_12484" align="alignright" width="275"] Whisky più caro[/caption]These have been sold by the Le Clos wine store in the  Dubai airport, a store that sells wine excellence from all over the world to a public of travelers but most of all of millionaires. I remember that my daughter stopped in this famous wine store on a trip to Asia and was surprised by the number of bottles with stellar prices but also by the presence of the manager, there in persona, at 3 am. Evidently it is during the changes for travelers going to China or India when the collectors stop at Le Clos for some shopping of...

Bordeaux 2017 vintage, limited but good

The Bordeaux 2017 vintage reserves some surprises to the wineries: limited grapes, excellent ratings but maybe a decrease in prices

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne

Bordeaux 2017 vintage Chateau Margaux

Bordeaux 2017 vintage Chateau Margaux

For Bordeaux 2017 the  en-primeur sales, 9-12 April, show an avalanche of excellent ratings regarding the main Bordeaux chateaux. But after a serious decrease in production because of the frost last year, the 2017 harvest is requested at lower prices by the great  négociants who buy wines from the harvest from wineries to put them on the market in 3 or more years time.

I have just been to Bordeaux and I have seen the vineyards just pruned. The vines that were damaged by the frost were well evident and I am sure that they will produce scarce grapes in 2018 too. A situation that worries greatly the wineries where the cellars contain less barriques than usual.

At Millésima, where I went to present my wines that have just been inserted in their portfolio, I met the CEO Fabrice Bernard. He is one of the BIG buyers at the  en-primeur auctions because Millésima is famous worldwide for having in its catalogue bottles from the greatest Bordeaux chateaux, that have been held in only two cellars:

Millésima-Bordeaux-prestigious wine store

Millésima-Bordeaux-prestigious wine store

the one of origin and his. Bernard’s words have a certain value in the market and he declared to Wine Searcher “I’m expecting prices to come down by 20 to 25 percent” .

The decrease in price reflects the French system of handling the petite vendange – the less perfect vintages. They decrease the price while we, in Brunello, decrease the quantity. In Tuscany we increase the production of  Rosso di Montalcino and leave only the best to the flagship wine. The result is a greater fluctuation in volumes of Brunello but a better consistency in the price and maybe even in the quality.

Cenerentola Doc Orcia, a wine with a crown

2016  old style harvest that excites wines lovers and puts a crown on the Cenerentola DOC Orcia label

A vintage this 2016 to be framed: depth, complexity, and finesse, and  longevity, characteristics that only a slow ripening of the grapes can give to a wine.

The Sangiovese, main variety used in Cenerentola DOC Orcia (together with Foglia Tonda), produces grapes that are meteoropathic, so can go mad and ruin if the climate is adverse. Its skin is made up of few layers of cells so it needs the help of the sun to express itself at its best. For this reason in the high hills of Southern Toscana, where the climate is dry but cool, Sangiovese has its ideal habitat and reached levels of excellence impossible elsewhere in the world.

Foglia-tonda-donatella-cinelli-colombini-225x300

There were surprises regarding the harvest date too: the vines had sprouted a good 15 days earlier than usual, and everyone, including us, thought that the harvest would have been precocious one. On the contrary already when the veraison happened (changing of the colour of the grapes from green to blue) the calendar of the vegetation cycle was already aligned with the traditional one, then the ripening proceeded regularly and slowly. In 2016 for the first time in a long time, the clusters reached the time of harvest at  a snail’s pace with a mass of sugar in the berries growing slower than the poliphenolic ripening, that of the noble substances in the skins. In 2016 the first semester of the year was very rainy, the soil was hydrated in depth creating reserves for the hot months, but also disturbing the flowering to such a point that the number and dimensions of the clusters  was drastically reduced. Then a topsy-turvy summer arrived. With hot days –over 35°c- alternated by storms of great violence, and the wine producers have been really scared that the hail would arrive. Those who like us were saved from the calamity, have had one of the best harvest man can remember.

The life of a wine producer: Donatella and her time

Donatella’s race with time, wine producer, wine blogger, president of various associations with an ambition to enjoy the wonderful territory where she lives

Donatella- University- of Pisa-teaching -wine-tourism

Donatella- University- of Pisa-teaching -wine-tourism

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fattoria del Colle – Trequanda, Casato Prime Donne, Montalcino

The worst day is Monday, and the most frenetic periods are those before and after trips abroad. Very long days with one interruption after another.

The arrival of internet has worsened the situation multiplying contacts and making holidays practically eclipse. I receive around 80 emails a day and I send off about 30. I have a very small portable computer that goes everywhere with me a, so I reply to the post even when I am away and have one wine tasting after the other and one appointment after the other. In fact when I am on the other side of the world some people seek my attention like a child pining for its mother and they write to me constantly, and in the end I reply quite curtly. After I am sorry and it takes me days to get the rapport back to normal, but I hate it when people deprive me of time when I want to think , sleep, and do things….. making me feel trapped.

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-Malta

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-Malta

This is how my holidays on my beloved isle of Gozo get reduced to three hours a day, because there is a problem, that to be solved from there takes lots of time. It is practically impossible because in the countryside there is no tradition in making appointments. Cellar staff, grape pickers, sales and tourism staff all come into my office and demand immediate attention, especially my lovely husband and volcanic daughter Violante.

Colorado-megozio-cannabis

Wine for dogs, with some ethical doubts

Wine, beer, tea for cats and dogs. Drinks for animals are on the up, rigorously without alcohol. For those who want to drink in the company of their pets

Wine for dogs

Wine for dogs

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, agriturismo pet friendly, Fattoria del Colle

As all pet lovers know cats and dogs cannot drink alcohol, if they do there are great risks for their health. However they adore biscuits, snack etc that pet shops sell in small extremely expensive packets. So, I making the most of the fact that pet owners go mad and buy whatever is liked by their pests the American company Apollo Peak has created a section called Pet Beverage with white , red and sparkling wines. The products have fun names such as mosCato charDOGnay …and include also special tasting glasses for our four legged friends.

Wine-for-dogs-Apollo-Peak

Wine-for-dogs-Apollo-Peak

What is most incredible is the success, products that someone like me dog lover and wine producer, would never ever buy. This is what their message more or less says: you come home tired and you want a cuddle and glass of wine, why not share this pleasure with your cat? Ok, only that the so called wine for cats and dogs made with fruit juices and organic aromatic herbs (among which cat grass), contained in an 8 oz bottle, costs around 10 dollars. Sometimes more than the wine in the owner’s glass.

                                               

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