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Women of Wine Festival and the Festa delle Donne del Vino

Debra Meiburg queen of wine in China and her event Women of Wine Festival connect with the Festa delle Donne del Vino that now becomes an international network.

Women of Wine Festival

Women of Wine Festival (WOW)

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne

Debra Meiburg is one of the best known experts in the world: she is the first Master of Wine in Asia and is a member of the Education Committee of the famous British Institute.  She is 7th among the most influential women in wine in the world according to Global Ranking, her TV show shown in Chinese taxis has 70 million viewers per month, and she is also wine consultant for Cathay Pacific airlines.

In 2008 she created the in Hong Kong a society called Meiburg Wine Media MWM with the scope of divulging wine culture in Asia. It is a real sort off “wine hub” the works in an immense scenario: from New Delhi to Tokyo, from Beijing to Jakarta.

Women of Wine Festival (WOW) Debra Meiburg and other influencers

Women of Wine Festival (WOW) Debra Meiburg and other influencers

It is for professionals of this market and for wine lovers but it is a point of reference for all press member of this sector, because, other than the traditional forming activities it offers innovative and stimulating services that allow buyers to explore emerging wines and new trends. A never ending job this, including wine competitions, wine tastings, festivals, workshops, where wineries meet buyers, banding actions and conferences that take abroad a better insight of the Chinese market and help wineries from all over the world to sell in Asia.

Sacred and profane Easter at Fattoria del Colle

Spirituality, nature, guided tours in the winery, tastings of fine wines, brief cookery lessons, and some gluttonous sins for Easter at Fattoria del Colle

Easter-Fattoria del Colle- Agriturismo - Tuscany

Easter-Fattoria del Colle- Agriturismo – Tuscany

Those who like to spend Easter with their family, with friends and with their four legged friends, will find at Fattoria del Colle in the most panoramic and unaltered Tuscany, their perfect location. The right mix of noble traditions and countryside informality, internationally acclaimed fine wines and homemade traditional dishes

In the program one finds also the guided tour with tasting at the Brunello winery Casato Prime Donne and at Fattoria del Colle , where there are also 4 historic halls in the 16th century villa, and stories, very romantic ones, from the history of the estate.

Easter- Vinoterapy

Easter- Vinotherapy-Fattoria del Colle

Two appointments not to be missed are: vertical tasting of 5 Brunello from  1999 to 2013 and a brief cookery lesson to learn how to make “pinci” a homemade pasta and to prepare a Springtime quick and delicious:  ricotta montata.

A special place in the program is held by the lunches and dinners, thse introduce the Tuscan civilization; Baccalà alla fratina from Trequanda for good Friday, then Peposo degli artigiani della terracotta , that legend attributes this invention to Filippo Brunelleschi creator of the dome of  Duomo di Firenze. The prince of the table is the Chianina steak, this white giant breed lives free on the hills around the estate, but has a long history that goes back to Roman times.

Corks and wine oxidation

Maybe corks are more magical than we thought, and as they change in time they preserve the wine. UC Davis University will study them for 100 years

Cork - Fattoria del Colle infernotto-

Cork – Fattoria del Colle infernotto-

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

<<An experiment that maybe will last more than life on earth>>commented  W. Blake Gray while talking to Wine searcher about the study going on in the major US agriculture university, the awesome UC Davis from where the majority of great American winemakers come out from.

To carry our an experiment that lasts 100 years is in fact something very difficult to understand in our society based on rapidity and now. It actually quite reminds one of the empiricism of the 18 hundreds, but that might be why it is well suited to a type of closure, that in the XVIII century, was perfected: the closure for glass wine bottles .The experiment starts from a mystery: why the oxygen that penetrates through the cork, one milligram per year, does not oxidize the wine?

cork-and-old bottles

cork-and-old bottles

We might think that it is the sulphur dioxide that gets inserted in the bottle (generally 20-25 milligrams per litre) that protects the wine, but it is in fact the oxygen that uses it up during 5-6 years, and so 10 years and more later there is nothing left to defend the nectar, as explained by professor Andy Waterhouse author of this intrepid research project regarding cork closures and wine oxidation.

Get married at Fattoria del Colle

wedding at fattoria del Colle Tuscany Agriturismo

wedding at fattoria del Colle Tuscany Agriturismo

To get married in the romantic park, in front of a vineyard, in front of a panorama that seems to come out from a medieval painting; at Fattoria del Colle this is all possible. The Trequanda municipality has in fact authorized us to celebrate civil weddings in 4 special locations, and Donatella Cinelli Colombini is ready to perform thanks to the mandate she has received so that she can sign the wedding act in an official manner.

The ceremony is the most important moment and new fittings have been created to make it more intimate and more spectacular. The couples who wish a Tuscan style wedding will find in Fattoria del Colle a traditional and authentic location that will create emotions for both the wedding couple and their guests; a story about noble families and farmers, an informal style mixed with luxury and simplicity, while all around is the countryside from where the great red wines are made and farming landscapes among the most beautiful in the world.

During the past few months gardeners have worked hard in the parks and gardens, while upholsterers and renovators took care of things indoors. All so as to transform the wedding couple’s dream into reality for the best day of their lives.

wedding at fattoria del colle

wedding at fattoria del colle-aperitif

The Grand Duke’s bedroom, where the wedding couple can spend their honeymoon now has a canopy bed, a 17th century chest, and air conditioning. At the end of the 18th century this was a refuge for Pietro Leopoldo Grand Duke of Tuscany, together with Isabella, his lover. This room, still today, maintains a romantic and aristocratic character because of its entirely antique furnishings and the ceiling with frescoes regarding all the breeds of Tuscan birds.

In the billiard room right next door, the room has been enriched with book shelves and new upholsteries. There is now an elegant corner where the wedding couple and their guests can meet, in case or rain. Whereas if the weather is good at Fattoria del Colle there are 4 parks and three swimming pools where you can relax in the midst of nature.

The new bottles by celebrities

Wine, Whiskey, Vodka, Tequila, bottles by celebrities can be of all sorts and they make the most of their fame for products that are often commercial

bottles-by-celebrities--Lady-Gaga

bottles-by-celebrities-Lady-Gaga

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Doc Orcia, Fattoria del Colle

More and more famous people choose to bind their face to a wine or a spirit. It seems to be an irresistible attraction for stars. Maybe the idea is to multiply earnings through their fame, but not always does this work out. Some have earned a great deal like George Clooney who recently sold his Casamigos Tequila for 1 billion US dollars.. Others have been able to make their brands famous such as David Beckham with the whisky Haig Club by Diageo. The there are those who have had parallel successes in wine and in their artistic career without mixing things: such as Jay-Z, who owns Champagne Armand de Brignac. But there have also been some flops such as the concoction of juice and wine Hpnotiq Sparkle by the reality TV star Khloe Kardashian or the England team manager, Sven-Göran Eriksson with the Sven wine brand.

bottles-by-celebrities-Lady-Gaga-and-her-wines

bottles-by-celebrities-Lady-Gaga-and-her-wines

Here in Italy, after the wines by Al Bano, the better known cases of bottles by celebrities are those by Bruno Vespa and by Massimo d’Alema. I think though that they are realizing how difficult it is to reach success with a winery.

The Drinks Business presents us with 10 new bottles by famous people. A bit of everything, particularly odd products too. In most cases though a real question of business making the most of someone’s image.

Taylor Swift launches premium vodka, Big Machine Platinum Filtered and emphasizes its prestige because of the purest water from Tennessee, and of course the connection with the songs.

Lady Gaga to begin with wanted to call her wine range “Grigio Girls” like the song in her last album dedicated to her friend Sonja, who is fighting cancer. Then the name changed to  “Joanne Trattoria Vino Bianco” and “Joanne Trattoria vino Rosso” from the name of the Italian restaurant in New York owned by her father, Joe Germanotta.

Brunello Riserva 2012 five stars

Brunello Riserva is an extraordinary wine because it can last for decades. At Casato Prime Donne it is produced only in the best harvests

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012

Brunello di Montalcino Riserva DOCG 2012

The production of Brunello Riserva depends on the climate, the rainfall and the sun, mostly during August and September. It is possible to know right from the tasting of the grapes, this is when the picking dates are chosen. If in the vineyards there are Sangiovese grapes of extraordinary quality then it is possible to produce the Brunello Riserva.

That is the reason why it is made only in certain years and the quantity differs every time, even though it is always a small production. These productions are in fact always less than the requests by collectors and wine lovers from all over the world who wish to store these bottles in their cellars for important events.

The grapes nearly always come from a vineyard called Ardita on the highest point of Casato Prime Donne. This plot where the best clusters come from is delimited with red flags, the 5-7 hl French oak barrels where the Brunello Riserva ages for about three years are also flagged with red heart.  Small signs that help the grape growers and the cellar staff remember where the small masterpiece is born, this masterpiece that needs constant care and attention until bottling time.

Brunello Riserva is made for a lengthy ageing. This means that it must have a tannic and acidic structure able to preserve it in time. To balance these characteristics and make it pleasing even when young it is necessary that there be richness in fruit (polyphenols) that give aroma and balance the power. The Brunello Riserva 2012 has all these characteristics.

 

Type: dry red.

Production area: Tuscany, Montalcino, Casato Prime Donne.

Vintage characteristics: Cold and dry winter with lots of snow. Very hot summer until September when the rain showers slowed the ripening of the grapes allowing the sugars to build up in the berries at the same rate as the growth of the extractable polyphenols.

Grape type: 100% Sangiovese (Brunello).

Grape harvest: from September 12-14th. Small clusters with regular ripening. Grapes seeds completely lignified. The harvest was manual, with a careful selection of the grapes, after two women on the sorting table discarded the defected berries.

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini- 2012-harvest

Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini- 2012-harvest

Vinification: In stainless steel truncated cone shaped vats, each individually temperature controlled and open on top, so as to vinify without the use of pumps. The alcoholic fermentation went regularly with spontaneously low temperatures. It lasted 16 days and was then followed by 20 days of maceration.

Barrel ageing:  5 -7 hl small French oak tonneaux produced by 5 artisans who assure manual production. The type of oak, charring and dimension of the barrels has been specifically chosen based on the character of the wine. There has been no filtering before bottling.

Brunello Prime Donne 2013, marvelous

Brunello Prime Donne 2013

Brunello Prime Donne 2013

Brunello Prime Donne 2013 is a masterpiece produced only in a limited number of bottles. Just 6,300 botles for those who love a traditional style

The  Brunello di Montalcino Prime Donne 2013 will surprise you because of its aromas of small red fruits and spices, because it spreads in the mouth with a powerful and harmonious taste that lasts at length

A long lasting and pleasing wine that has beaten the initial forecasts, as in the past happened for the Brunello 1999.

In fact everyone had understood the “old style” of the 2013 harvest but only a few had foreseen its finesse, its quality and most of all its ability to last in time, revealed only after this Brunello was aged in barrel.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini considers the Brunello Prime Donne the flagship for her wineries, the first in Italy with an all female staff.

The idea for this wine was born in 1998 when Donatella noticed that the wine tasters for the Italian wine guides were all men. She decided then to reunite a group of great female wine experts asking them to taste, in a blind tasting, the future Brunello from different barrels, and to choose the one they liked the best. A way of stating that women’s’ tastes are important and that women tasters are just as clever as their male colleagues.

Wine, good luck, and supersticious rites

Are there really wines that bring good luck, or at least are there superstitious rites regarding wine? Yes there are and not only in Italy

wine, good luck and supertitions -Fattoria-del-Colle- New -year's -eve

wine, good luck and supertitions -Fattoria-del-Colle- New -year’s -eve

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Wine, good luck and superstition. What is sure, and most know about this, is that there are some superstitious rites against bad luck that do regard wine: especially that it is very unlucky to pour with the left hand, “like a traitor” as Judas did during the last dinner. In certain areas of South Italy it is in fact considered offensive.

Also pouring wine with your palm facing upwards in inconvenient. This gesture is considered negative because many centuries ago, when in the courts the assassins used to kill with poison hidden in their rings. They used to shake the lethal powder into the glass, turning the hand that was pouring the wine upwards.

There are though also gestures that bring good luck  such if a few drops of wine get spilled during a toast, it is considered a good thing to dip your fingers in and touch behind the ears. This should make you rich.

Agriturismo-Toscana-Fattoria-del-Colle-panoramas and Brunello

Agriturismo-Toscana-Fattoria-del-Colle-panoramas and Brunello

But traditions that bind wine to good luck are not only Italian: in Spain it is a tradition (since 1909) to eat 12 grape berries during the last 12 seconds of the year, one for each bell strike, this is to bring prosperity for the next 12 months. Another good luck rite for the New Year comes from Germany, at midnight one should be dressed up, eat pink pig shaped marzipan sweets and drink Feuerzangenbowle (Fire punch) which is made with red wine, spices, orange peels and rum.

Donatella’s 2017: a rich year with a scarce harvest

With my best wishes for 2018, I am sharing some pleasant memories of 2017, that has been a really fantastic year, even though the grapes were scarce

New Year at Fattoria del Colle

New Year at Fattoria del Colle

Donatella Cinelli Colombini

2017 ,the year that has just finished, was one with fewer grape clusters but with great commercial successes. The Casato Prime Donne winery in Montalcino Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda sell wine in 37 nations and the wines from our vineyards is just about sufficient to cover all the requests. Actually for some wines like Rosso di Montalcino, Cenerentola DOC Orcia and IGT Drago e le 8 Colombe, we have sold the wines from two vintages finishing all the stock while the Brunello 2012 was rationed so we could reach Christmas. Our increase in sales shows a wonderful + 17% considering that Violante’s sales office had no Riserva to sell.

Cenerentola 2017-2018 New Year's eve at Fattoria del Colle

Cenerentola 2017-2018 New Year’s eve at Fattoria del Colle

This success is clearly also to attribute to the quality of the wines (well done the cellar girls!) and some is due to the vineyards, where a daily care of the plants – a return to old winter pruning systems and the organic regime – have permitted the production of excellent grapes even in vintages, such as the last, where the climate went a bit wild. The 2017 grape harvest was scarce especially at Fattoria del Colle where the soil is sandy and where the wild boar and deer have had a feast. After fencing off the vineyards in Montalcino next to be fenced off will be the vineyards in Trequanda.

The country inn and the restaurant went well too with a + 55% and even better the winery sales that are now a good 15% of the wine business.

Brunello 2013, an old style vintage

A Brunello that is elegant, complex, deep and harmonious, that will last decades. After the barrel ageing the Brunello 2013 results extraordinary
In 2013 the ripening of the grapes was slow and the harvest took place at the end of September. An “old style vintage”, as described by Attilio Scienza famous and esteemed Viticulture professor at the University in Milan.. He was the first to understand the quality potential of the vintage.
Lower summer temperatures than the previous years, soil rich in water and a long vegetative cycle are what characterize the 2013 vintage, and are those that traditionally make wines that last , that are complex and memorable.

Brunello 2013 Casato Prime Donne

Brunello 2013 Casato Prime Donne

This characteristics are associated with another element that is just as important: in 2013 the rain disturbed the flowering and so the number and size of the clusters was inferior to usual. The scarce vintages are nearly always the higher quality ones.
To begin with, however, not everybody foresaw the exceptionality of the Brunello 2013, that, subsequently, after the barrel ageing has demonstrated to be of extraordinary complexity, elegance and finesse. A similar situation to the 1999 vintage, that started slowly and then was acclaimed one of the best vintages of the 20th century.

Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is a masterpiece wine

A Supertuscan for those who love Tuscan cuisine but also something more multiethnic, Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is appreciated by the young and by those who love small masterpiece productions

2015 is a 5 star harvest, 2015 is a lucky year because the vineyards remained miraculously unharmed while all around all sort of things were going wrong: in Torrita hailstones as large as tangerines, water bobs flooding the nearby Buonconvento. But in the vineyards small perfect clusters were ripening, more beautiful than we had seen for a long time.

THE NAME

The Il Drago e le 8 Colombe symbolizes the 8 women who work in the winery at Fattoria del Colle –together with Casato Prime Donne in  Montalcino these are the first in Italy with an all female staff- and the only man who can influence the productive choices : Carlo Gardini, husband to Donatella Cinelli Colombini the owner.

dragoTHE SECRET

The Il Drago e le 8 Colombe is a Supertuscan, which means it does not belong to any DOC appellation but is a “masterpiece” wine, a small production  born for the creativity and wine making passion that’s has enabled Donatella Cinelli Colombini to experiment in Trequanda with Sagrantino, variety from the nearby Umbria.

The Sangiovese, Merlot, and Sagrantino grapes used to produce this wine are born in Fattoria del Colle. They are cultivated following the organic regime with great manual care. Harvesting is also done by hand, at different times: firs the Merlot, then the Sangiovese and the Sagrantino for last.

Dirty glassware at the restaurant: a frequent problem

Residual soap, shoddy washings, dust …these are the most frequents problems with dirty glassware in restaurants , and the reasons why clients flee

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

dirty-glassware-at-the restaurant

dirty-glassware-at-the restaurant

 

97% of British clients interviewed by Restaurant Show in London for a survey by the Classeq, declared that they would stop eating immediately if they discovered that they were using dirty glassware.

And the the British are not as fussy as the Japanese! Yet the idea of drinking out of dirty glasses blocks them, and how can one criticize them! The problem is more widespread than one thinks in the Cask beer report it says that one out of three glasses, among those where beer is served, is dirty, and that however 40% of them have defects (opaqueness, ruined rims etc)

dirty-gassware-at-the-restaurant

dirty-gassware-at-the-restaurant

Soap residue , or those of other chemical products left on glasses also by the glass makers can ruin the aroma and the taste of beer and wine.

Sommeliers have often underlined the necessity of “fresh” glasses to be able to offer an excellent experience to clients, and complain that this aspect is often underestimated because of bad washing equipment. To the hygienic problem the other problem is often added, smell from the detergents or of food in the case of dishwashers used for dishes, cutlery as well as for glasses.

Going back to hygiene, it is quite surprising to read the list of “the germiest things in a restaurant” taken from an  ABC News report divulged by Huffington Post Usa and then by the blog  cantello.it .

A dragon shaped QR code

The Il Drago e le 8 Colombe wine tells its story through a QR Code on the label, containing curiosities in Italian and in English

Il Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Fattoria del Colle Toscana

Il Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Fattoria del Colle Toscana

For someone who thinks she knows about wine communication this really is the limit:  Donatella Cinelli Colombini is one of the last to do wine storytelling on the label …. But those who drink her Drago e le 8 Colombe will be able to learn about the strange name chosen for the wine, and the strange blend, by simply scanning the QR code with their mobile phone. A way to discover the Tuscan traits not only in the glass but also through descriptions.

Il Drago e le 8 Colombe comes from Fattoria del Colle in the middle of the oldest and best preserved area of Tuscany and it brings with it aroma of ripe red fruits and the powerful and harmonious taste typical of a hilly territory where the aril is clean and the ripening of the grapes is slow. Typical food in this region grilled beef steak and pecorino cheese, both wonderfully matched with the Il Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Toscana.

Il Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Violante Gardini Cinellicolombini Jr

Il Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Violante Gardini Cinellicolombini Jr

The vineyards are cultivated following the organic regime and by hand as has been done for centuries. In the cellar there are only women. But there is also a dragon this is Carlo Gardini, husband to Donatella Cinelli Colombini the owner, he is one of the initiators of the new experimentations. A game of symbols that say that the Fattoria del Colle winery is feminine not feminist because the great wines have no gender and they are produced and consumed by those who love nature, culture and good things.

A magical video for the Cenerentola DOC Orcia

The story of a wine becomes a fairytale during the grape harvest, and Cinderella’s shoe takes us to see vineyards, cellars, barrel ageing rooms and then to the final surprise.

Here is the Prince’s page holding a cushion onto which lays a glittery shoe, shiny like the moon. He visits a Sangiovese vineyard, on the hills surrounding Fattoria del Colle, during the harvest, he sees a girl picking grapes and he asks her to try the shoe on. It doesn’t fit.

Then he goes into the fermentation room where the Sangiovese and Foglia Tonda must, in different vats, are changing into wine; the page sees a cellar girl and asks her to try on the shoe. It doesn’t fit.

Another try in the candle lit barrel ageing room, among the barrels and tonneaux, the page finds another cellar girl. She too tries it on but it doesn’t fit. Although in the winery the staff is made up of only women so there is a vast possibility, none of them are right for Cinderella’s shoe.

Finally the page reaches Fattoria del Colle where there is an enormous fireplace in the 16rh century kitchen of the villa. Here he finds a young woman who is sipping a glass of red wine, He asks her to try on the shoe and she turns into a princess. Then the bottle of Cenerentola 2015 appears. The wine that after 15 years from its first harvest has reached an extraordinary level in harmony and personality. This is Cenerentola!

This is the story told in a short video created by Tommaso Dironato, who shows us playfully, with a mixture of fairytale and reality how the Cenerentola wine is born and how it becomes a Princess of international wine making.

MARKETS AND PRIZES

The Cenerentola wine has suffered until it has finally established itself but today it has fans all over the world. It is exported to 15 nations. Now other than the wine lovers, the wine critics also appreciate Cenerentola: it has obtained 90/100 from Robert Parker Wine Advocate and 91/100 from Wine Spectator.

Montalcino a village of wine and wine sellers

Let’s take a peek at the wine stores and restaurants in Montalcino to see how wine tourism is changing and how the trade that welcomes it changes too

Enoteca-Pierangioli- Montalcino-Stefania

Enoteca-Pierangioli- Montalcino-Stefania

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

On one thing everyone agrees << 2017 has been a great year for tourism in the Brunello region>> . Helped by the hot climate that has urged people to leave the cities, but has put our vines through great difficulties, but it also has increases tourism in the countryside by putting in a line row and rows of fantastic beautiful days.

Lots of tourists and lots of tasting and shopping.

While talking to those who work in contact with tourists it is possible to discover some curious things.  The wine lovers who come to Montalcino desire most of all to discover Brunello and concentrate their buying sprees on this <<they are not even interested in the Rosso di Montalcino, they want only Brunello>> says Sergio Pierangioli who however admits <<your Cenerentola Doc Orcia sells well, maybe it’s because of the name, maybe because of the label, maybe because it is different …>>.

Enoteca-BD-Bruno Dalmazio-Montalcino

Enoteca-BD-Bruno Dalmazio-Montalcino

There is though another sort of wine lover that wants to taste and most of all buy excellent bottles from the most famous Italian appellations and so has stores ship them home bottles of Barolo, Amarone, Aglianico … <<they do not have the time to visit all of the famous wine regions but they want to buy these wines because in Brazil or Canada they would cost much much more>> they explain in the BD Bruno Dalmazio wine store.

                                               

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