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My red lion (Leone Rosso) that has been roaring for 400 years

Leone Rosso Doc Orcia a wine that gives pleasure and tells the story of Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s heretic ancestors who built Fattoria del Colle

Leone-Rosso-2015-Fattoria-del-Colle

Leone-Rosso-2015-Fattoria-del-Colle

The rampant lion is engraved at the entrances at Fattoria del Colle , on the ceilings, and on the majolica blazons it is an evident presence and symbol of the long history of this place. It is the emblem of the Socini, or Soccini family, Donatella ancestors who built Fattoria del Colle in 1592. The Socini was a Sienese family of jurists and thinkers, that were rich and prestigious until, Lelio (1525-1562) and Fausto (1539-1604) Socino became important characters in the protestant reform and most of all very much opponents of the dogma of trinity. Still today their names are written in every book on philosophy, but by the church they were considered heretics and so they were forced to escape abroad and brought their family to ruin. In 1919 Donatella’s great-grandfather Livio Socini bought Fattoria del Colle back, quite by chance. Donatella got the estate fro her dad Fausto Cinelli in 1998 and has dedicated to the Socini family the wine she has produced there, “Leone Rosso DOC Orcia.

THE  DOC ORCIA WINE REGION

Fattoria-del-Colle-villa-ceiling

Fattoria-del-Colle-villa-ceiling

The appellation ORCIA was born in the year 2000 in Southern Tuscany, in a vast hilly region that reaches as far as the Crete Senesi going towards Monte Amiata. An area that includes 12 villages, where once the spring frosts damaged the vines one year out of three, and consequently discouraging wine production. Since the beginning of climate changes these frosts have practically disappeared, the last one was in 1997, while the cool climate with practically cold summer nights helps the production of high quality grapes because the ripening is generally slow and regular while the acidic content of the grapes and of the wines is a particular characteristic of the DOC Orcia appellation and a guarantee of longevity.  

Toscana Lovers has opened in Cortona, Vi aspettiamo!

The third Toscana Lovers store opens in the most American of the small Tuscan cities of art: Cortona. Here we propose exclusive and refined handicraft

Toscana Lovers Cortona

Toscana Lovers Cortona

Cortona is the town in Under the Tuscan Sun written by Frances Mayes.  Cortona is of Etruscan and Renaissance origin, a city full of elegant shops and with a surrounding countryside full of villas and farm transformed into luxury homes for rich US millionaires.

Toscana Lovers Cortona is in front of the steps of the Palazzo Comunale and proposes the best Tuscan handicraft just like the two previous shops: one in Piazza Indipendenza in Siena, round the corner form the square where the Palio race is held and another in Bagno Vignoni only existent medieval spa. In Cortona too the products on sale come from the workshops of laboratories of real artists where modern creativity blends with traditional manual labour. An assortment created by Carlo Gardini

Toscana Lovers Cortona

Toscana Lovers Cortona

and his wife Donatella Cinelli Colombini through the years, visiting artisans who can interprets the modern trends. No souvenirs no old style objects, only fragments of the real Tuscany, exclusive objects, sometimes unique, to be used, to ware, or to be gifted.

For example the knives sold in Toscana Lovers Cortona are from Scarperia. Scarperia is one of the places with the oldest and most prestigious production of “cutting blades”; table knives with horn handles, but also knives for collectors that last for centuries, and like jewels, get passed from generation to generation, becoming always more valuable just like small masterpieces destined for the antique market.

Cenerentola’s gown of light

A wine story that resembles a fairy tale: Doc Orcia Cenerentola wears a gown of light, goes to the ball and becomes a princess. At Vinitaly (HALL 6 STAND D4)

Cenerentola-DOC-Orcia

Cenerentola-DOC-Orcia

Vinitaly 2018 sees the launching of a special edition of 50 pieces, Magnums “dressed” with a spectacular lamp in Tuscan style. 

CENERENTOLA’S STORY BECOMES A WINE

Once upon a time there was a nice young girl called Cenerentola (Cinderella). The prince invites her sisters to the party, but she stays at home until a fairy visits her bringing her a wonderful gown….Once upon a time there was a wine appellation called DOC Orcia. She had two sisters, older and more famous than her, Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano that are on the left and the right. She too would like to go to balls, where her sisters’ bottles go, and so the fairy, represented by Donatella Cinelli Colombini, dresses our DOC Orcia Cenerentola with a gown made of light and sends her to the party. This really does seem like a fairy tale with a happy ending. The special edition of 50 pieces, Magnums dressed with a spectacular lamp in Tuscan style will be protagonist at Vinitaly 2018 at Hall 6 Stand D4 under Donatella Cinelli Colombini

THE TRUE STORY OF CENERENTOLA DOC ORCIA

Lamp-Cenerentola

Lamp-Cenerentola

The young and feisty Doc Orcia was born on February 14th 2000. In the area of Trequanda (SI) where the Fattoria del Colle was  built in 1592 by the ancestors of Donatella Cinelli Colombini, the present owner.

Donatella believes in this appellation, so much so that she is the president of this Consortium. She also believes in autochthonous varieties with the features of their old identity that give a unique stamp to wines from a specific territory. This is why she recovered the old Sienese variety Foglia Tonda with its distinctive features, abandoned  for almost a century, and experimented on the best ways of cultivating it, containing  its natural tendency to produce too many clusters.  A long study, with a few setbacks and many trials with the help of Professor Cesare Intrieri of the University of Bologna and with the fervent support of Valérie Lavigne at of the University of Bordeaux.

Excellent ratings for Brunello from Robert Parker – Wine Advocate

Brunello Prime Donne 2013 – 95,  Brunello Riserva 2012 – 93, Brunello 2013 – 92, Brunello 2012 Io sono Donatella 91 from Monica Larner – Robert Parker-Wine Advocate

Ratings Wine Advocate 18By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Casato Prime Donne

Monica I love you!

It is easy for a wine producer to love a wine critic who appreciates their wine. But it is even easier to love a wine critic who appreciates the wine and sees mirrored in it the producer’s personality. For this reason I really adore Monica Larner the Italian reviewer for Robert Parker Jr- Wine Advocate .When she wrote <<….because of her steadfast dedication to all things Tuscan and wine-related, she is one of the figures I admire most in today’s world of vino italiano>>  I nearly fainted.

Monica-Larner-and-Robert-Parker

Monica-Larner-and-Robert-Parker

Monica was born into a family connected to wine and cinema. Her father Steven Larner, of whom she writes with great love, has been director of photography for very successful films and TV productions, while her brother is wine maker in the family estate in the Ballard Canyon, in Santa Barbara, California and has passed the last few months living the nightmare of the California wildfires.

Monica has had on-hand experience regarding grape growing, including the pruning process. She has in other words a past as a pure journalist with collaborations with La Repubblica, International Herald Tribune and Corriere della Sera, but at the same time a real “grape grower”. In 2003 she began working for Wine Enthusiast and judging Italian wines and getting famous for her great nose able to discover emerging wines from regions such as Etna.

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.

                                               

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