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Magic at Fattoria del Colle

When my father gave me la Fattoria del Colle and I went there to live there were some welcome signs that were practically magic, as if I had been expected

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Magic-at-Fattoria-del-Colle-past

Magic-at-Fattoria-del-Colle-past

Like everywhere else this place has a long story behind it, Fattoria del Colle is full of magic and secrets.  I am still discovering them now, twenty years after my father Fausto Cinelli gave me this estate and asked me to make it flourish again.

When I arrived at Fattoria del Colle I was worried, there was a difficult financial situation and an enormous amount of investment to be done, there were no strong points upon which to lean so as to create a project with some possibility of success. Plus I was alone, my husband and daughter lived in Florence then, and the estate seemed to me to be distant from everything, cold with wild boars practically at the front door at night… basically not only was the situation worrying but I really was not pleased to live there.

Magic-at-Fattoria-del-colle-villa-today

Magic-at-Fattoria-del-colle-villa-today

But right from the beginning strange things began happening, practically saying<<welcome, we have been waiting for you for a long time>>. During the first winter, which was the most difficult one under a psychological point of view, there were so many signs, which really seemed to me to be an encouragement.   I was going to Trequanda for the presentation by Roberto Barzanti of the guide to the village by Elio Torriti and I discovered that Fattoria del Colle was where Sant’Egidio from Querciola made his hermitage. He was a saint from the XII century that I had never heard of and of whom it had seemed there were no longer any traces but…

The flûte glass: for or against?

I am among those who hate  flûte glasses and also coupe shake ones that fill cabinets taking up loads of space. But many still insist in using them

champagne-bollicine-5-550x328-300x179By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

 

Many of us have the coupe shake wine glasses, maybe we have inherited them or we have them as they were a wedding gift received from our mothers or grandmothers. But they have remained in our cabinets unused for decades. <<The size of  Madame de Pompadour’s bosom>> the experts used to say, emphasizing the beauty of  Luis XV of France’s lover  and the fantastic story behind  Champagne, that this extraordinary glass should exalt.

This is also the opinion of Marco Cenedese ambassador for Mumm who underlines, how in the coupe,

chateau-Baccarat-

chateau-Baccarat-

the amber liquid reaches the tip of the tongue before the bubbles thus resulting delicate and full , while in the  flûte  it gets a drier and more determined character. The tapered wine glass that gets its name from a flute, in French flûte, is the most used Champagne glass but also the most contested. In a recent article in The Drinks Business the CEO for Krug, Maggie Henriquez, made this comparison <<..it is like going to a concert with ear plugs>> . However, in most French bars dedicated to these legendary bubbles, the so called champagneries, they use the typical glasses, ampoule shaped, that look like a flute with a wide and round base. So the  flûte has a vast number of estimators. I do not feel that it is able to exalt a fizzy wine, but however together with the cold temperature it can hide the defects in lower quality bottles.

TripAdvisor instructions

150 million visitors per month, TripAdvisor is certainly the largest travel site in the world and now it supplies maps and itineraries too

TripAdvisor-Fattoria-del-Colle

TripAdvisor-Fattoria-del-Colle

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

 

TripAdvisor was created in 2000 by  Stephen Kaufer. At that time Kaufer was planning a trip to Mexico and was having difficulty in finding hotels. Today he has assets for 260 million dollars and he is among the men who have changed the world. Exactly, as his invention, based on the where anybody can register and write their opinion about a hotel, a restaurant or a museum, has changed how people travel allowing tourists to become more active and allowing for more “democratic” reviews.

The novelty, announced at the IFA fair in Berlin, is the alliance between TomTom and Tripadvisor, to create personalized itineraries that unite maps from the GPS navigation device with reviews from the most famous travel platform . It is called “TomTom Road Trips” and allows one to book hotels and restaurants inside a made to fit itinerary. For those who do not have GPS an Android or iOS Smartphone will do fine.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor

Today  TripAdvisor has an enormous importance for all activities and the 4,2 million restaurants present on the website can use it as a marketing instrument. For this reason it is the same managers of the portal to reveal the most important things to do.

First of all reply to the reviews, accepting criticism as advice and thanking for the compliments. The client that receives attention is gratified and tends to increase his involvement with the restaurant.

Second thing, the images. These influence a lot the clients decision and so there must be many and they must be beautiful. Those who have at least 11-20 charming photos of the restaurant and its dishes get double the interactions compared to those who have none.

White truffle and Tuscan wines for kings

Autumn weekend with the Crete Senesi white truffle, Brunello, Chianti Superiore and Orcia in a 16th century Tuscan farm with vinotherapy

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

White-truffle-hunter-with-his-dog

White-truffle-hunter-with-his-dogs

Fattoria del Colle organizes three weekends in November 3-5 / 10-12 / 17-19 for those who love white truffles, that this year are particularly rare and expensive.

The estate has 5 truffle preserves where the white truffle of the Crete Senesi is found, a very refined variety because of its intense aroma and very harmonious taste. These weekend dedicated to this precious product are full of fun experiences that enrich your knowledge: truffle hunting in the woods with a truffle hunter and his dog, a cookery lesson on truffles, guided tours of the Brunello winery (Casato Prime Donne) and  Orcia-Chianti winery (Fattoria del Colle) with wine  tastings, dinners ……………

Two interesting novelties to enrich the already rich weekends: at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino, next to the winery, Alessia Bernardeschi has created a piece of contemporary art called “Donna che guarda”,

Fattoria-del-Colle-Country-inn-apartment

Fattoria-del-Colle-Country-inn-apartment

(the woman. This is a frame within which you can take a great selfie with the Brunello vines behind you. It was launched on September 17th and you will be among the first to use it for your beautiful photos, please do send them to us!

At the end everyone will take home a personalized bottle of Brunello. Not a regular bottle of Brunello di Montalcino but, your Brunello , with a packaging different to all others.

During the weekends 11-12 and18-19 November, at 15 km from Fattoria del Colle, in the San Giovanni d’Asso castle (Montalcino municipality) there is a Crete Senesi truffle workshop, where it is possible to buy truffles, there are many food stalls and local handicraft. 

In the life of a wine producer: in Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s handbag

Let’s take a peek in Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s handbag to discover her personality; she is eccentric but also a lover of all things beautiful and exclusive

In Donatella Cinelli Colombini's handbag

In Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s handbag

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

My friend Luca Bianchini, writer and radio presenter and successful journalist, told me he had been given an assignment, from a well known magazine, to write a series of articles describing the contents of Italian and foreign celebrities . What surprised him most was the fragility of some of these famous women, literally distressed in front of the possibility of revealing something that they felt so intimate. Bags are often places where we hide small secrets or quirks. It seems in fact that the most glamorous of characters, starlets, singers, TV personalities- those that the illustrated magazine follow step by step, are in fact most reserved about their intimate things.

In Donatella Cinelli Colombini's

In Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s handbag

We from the world of wine are tougher than singers. Maybe because, in our job, substance must always prevail over appearance. When the opposite happens the invariably the winery gets sold.

For this reason telling you what is in my bag does not embarrass me in any way but in fact amuses me and it is useful to reveal that mixture of exclusivity and simplicity that characterize all my life.

First of all the bag: handmade, leather chosen for me by an artisan that accepts my requests and changes his models. He is called Pianigiani he is from Buonconvento and he has cured me from by dependence from Céline. I was buying handbags of this brand for decades with absolute faithfulness until I discovered that the calfskin that gets scratched is of poor quality: the Céline bags are always marked, those by Pianigiani no, because he chooses the skins one by one, and sometimes especially for me.

Extraordinary harvest and racking weekends

Extraordinary harvest and racking weekends in the land of Brunello with unique, fun experiences that show you how fine wines are born [caption id="attachment_12055" align="alignleft" width="300"] Weekend vendemmia e svinatura Donatella Cinelli  Colombini[/caption] Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Fattoria del Colle A different harvest and racking weekend, created to charm you and teach both to the starts and the more expert. The program proposes in fact fun and unusual activities that are also very informative, where everybody, in different ways, learns how great wines are born and the sensitivity necessary to interpret in different ways the grapes from each harvest and from each vineyard.   Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s two wineries are small but internationally known, Casato [caption id="attachment_12151" align="alignright" width="300"] Wine Tours Casato Prime Donne Montalcino[/caption] Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti. With an all female staff they produce fine wines – Brunello, Chianti...

Federica Bertocchini scopritrice del bruco della plastica

Federica Bertocchini is the Prima Donna 2017

The Casato Prime Donne Award 2017 goes to the biologist Federica Bertocchini and to the journalists  Pietro Di Lazzaro, Stefano Pancera and Vannina Patanè [caption id="attachment_12193" align="alignleft" width="199"] Federica Bertocchini winner of the Casato Prime Donne award 2017[/caption] Federica Bertocchini 49 years old, a molecular biologist from  Piombino has discovered the worm that eats plastic. A discovery that might resolve great environmental problems, especially in the sea where there is a floating isle of garbage the size of  Texas. Regardless the discovery, because of a shortage of funds for research Federica, for the past few months has been unemployeed. To  Federica Bertocchini and the world of science , generous and attentive so the environment that she represents, goes the Casato Prime Donne Award 2017 by unanimous decision of the jury, made up of Donatella Cinelli Colombini President, and Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna...

Carlo Gardini Vioante Cinellicolombini Jr

Vote the 2017 winning photo of the Casato Prime Donne award

Fantasy o realistic, evocative or descriptive …. You can be one of those who chooses the 2017 winning photo to represent the Brunello and Orcia territories among the 5 finalist masterpieces

 

Click here and open the voting panel with the 5 finalist images of the  Casato Prime Donne award among which to choose the 2017 winning photo. It will be possible to vote online until September 4th and you can express only one preference.

Andrea Rabissi - Discreta Presenza Premio Casato Prime Donne 2016

Andrea Rabissi – Discreta Presenza Premio Casato Prime Donne 2016

Come on, it’s time to vote! It is fun and your opinion is important.

The 5 finalist images renard the territories where the Brunello and Orcia wines are produced, 13 villages: Montalcino, Pienza, Buonconvento, Castiglione d’Orcia, Radicofani, San Quirico d’Orcia and Trequanda, parts of Abbadia San Salvatore, Chianciano Terme, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano and Torrita di Siena.

A territory, this, most of which is part of the Unesco world heritage site famous for its beauty and history. This is a difficult competition because all of the best professional landscape photographers have pointed their lenses towards these soft hills, the cypress trees in San Quirico, the grape growers Etruscan faces, the Vitaleta Chapel, wineries, the Foce gardens …. So that they have become icons of Tuscany, true and beautiful. In other words a post card effect, something like a “déjà vu” can in some way hinder those looking. However everybody wants to try, professionals and amateurs.

Premio Casato Prime Donne Luna a Torrenieri Andrea Rontini

Premio Casato Prime Donne Luna a Torrenieri Andrea Rontini

Every year the winner is chosen online by a popular jury, who choose among the 5 finalists previously selected by the Casato Prime Donne jury.

The winning images are exhibited permanently in Montalcino, al Casato Prime Donne, in the hall dedicated to Ilda Bartoloni, the Rai journalist who passed away in 2009 to whom we owe the present formula of the Casato Prime Donne Award. Together these images create a collection of great quality and value that tells of the different  and personal views of the countryside where the Brunello and Orcia wines are born

Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wine medal collection

The excellent ratings from the International press regarding Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wines made in the first Italian wineries to be staffed only by women

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, MontalcinoBrunelloCasato Prime Donne

Donatella Cinelli Colombinis' wine

Donatella Cinelli Colombinis’ wine

The results are excellent, for the whole range, obviously the Brunello bottles obtain higher ratings, but even the simpler wines have had excellent reviews. It is a great motive of pride, and means that all has been done well in the vineyard and in the cellar, but most of all it also signifies having a great respect for one’s clients. <<In my winery there are not bottles especially for journalists and VIP’s, we have some sections at higher prices, but all the bottles are the same and the market is repaying us for this choice of honesty and correctness>>.

Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda have 34 hectares of vineyards cultivated organically and manually cared for.

Donatella Cinelli Colombini's wine

Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wine

There are two cellars, in historic buildings and fermentation areas in modern structures. Here to the passion and daily attention are evident in the handmade tonneaux, the new truncated cone shaped bare concrete vats , the plungers that allow the fermentation to happen without the use of pumps… so many details that help preserve the natural harmony that wine gets from grapes. In the end, only 160.000 bottles sold in 35 nations but none go to supermarkets.

<<Here are the ratings for my last vintages>> says Donatella Cinelli Colombini, quite rightly proud <<I shall be expecting you in Tuscany to see my small but wonderful wineries>>

Millionaire chefs, here are Italy’s richest

The millionaire Italian chefs are the Carea brothers form the Da Vittorio restaurant with 15.461.86515 € followed by  Alajmo and by Cannavacciuolo [caption id="attachment_12167" align="alignleft" width="300"] Massimo Bottura e Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Italia a tavola award[/caption] By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Toscana, agriturismo, Fattoria del Colle   The list of golden hobs, the richest Italian chefs , published by Dissapore and by Corriere della Sera, subsequently commented by Cronache di gusto, leaves us speechless for the volume of business that rotates around these prized chefs, the most famous the most seen on tv. Enormous amounts of money. Her is the list proposed by Corriere della Sera Carea Family Ristorante Da Vittorio in Brusaporto 15.461.865 [caption id="attachment_12168" align="alignright" width="300"] Carea da Vittorio family[/caption] Alajmo Brothers 11.256.635€ Antonio Carnavacciuolo 5.381.566€ Massimo Bottura dell’Osteria Francescana 4.896.627€ Niko Romito 3.742.001 € Carlo Gracco 3.530.712 € Enrico Bartolini 2.771.041 € Moreno Cedroni 2.612.028 Joseph Bastianich 2.115.645 € Gualtiero Marchesi 2.113.800 € All...

Antinori nuova cantina

James Suckling Cavaliere della Stella d'Italia

Magnum party with 200 great big bottles to celebrate James Suckling, who has been nominated Cavaliere della Stella D’Italia for having promoted Italian wines the world over

James Suckling Cavaliere della Stella d'ItaliaBy Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

<< I am deeply honoured and touched>>  wrote James Suckling after having received the diploma of Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia from the representative of the Italian government in Hong Kong. Recognition much deserved for he who has promoted the knowledge of Italian wines all over the world and especially in Asia for thirty odd years. <<I Hope to be doing it for twenty more years with wines always better>> he said welcoming wine producers from all over Italy come to celebrate him. Among them were Antonio Rallo and Francesca Planeta from Sicily and Anna Abbona (Marchesi di Barolo) and Stefano Gagliardo from Piedmont, but the larger group was certainly from Montalcino, the land that maybe  Suckling loves most and the territory that more than any other he has contributed in promoting.

James Suckling magnum party

James Suckling magnum party

The MAGNUM PARTY took place at the Acquolina restaurant in Terranova Bracciolini, near Suckling’s Tuscan home. It has been the most choral and exclusive party of the Italian wine world, with a selection of wines worth of the host and with the possibility of tasting about 200 larger sized bottles of stellar quality. Tables among the olive trees, Australian DJ who came especially for the event and many very famous personalities from Italian wine.

piccolo cinghiale in giardino

Wine tours: ours beat the rest

Casato Prime Donne and Fattoria del Colle in Tuscany: here are the most captivating wine tours. Last novelty the bottle that every tourist can personalize

Great wines, unique and historical locations, multilingual and enchanting staff …. will be enriched with a small but delightful opportunity: visitors will be able to personalize bottles with a name and image of their own choice. An extraordinary opportunity, something that no other winery offers: visitors will be able to personalize bottles with their names and images however they like. A unique opportunity that allows wine lovers to create their own Brunello di Montalcino or their own Chianti Superiore DOCG to use during an important lunch or as an exclusive gift. After having stuck on the new label the staff will ensure that the bottles can travel by inserting them in special wine skins (to put in your luggage) or shipping them to your home through a courier.

Fattoria del Colle wine tours in the winery

Fattoria del Colle wine tours in the winery

Donatella Cinelli Colombini has two wineries – Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in southern Chianti that produce small series of Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino Chianti Superiore and Doc Orcia. The entire range is on sale in both wineries. The ratings by the most important specialized press are excellent and go between 88 and 97 out of one hundred. So these are boutique wineries, of small dimension but of international fame. To visit them is editing, and increases your knowledge but is also great fun.

At Fattoria del Colle there are three wine tours

30 minutes GUIDED TOUR AND BRIEF TASTING € 6 per person

For Fattoria del Colle the itinerary regards the belvedere parka round the swimming pools, the San Clemente chapel, the historic halls of the 16th century villa, the winery with its barrel ageing area, the Vinsanto loft and the Brunello infernotto. At the end an informal tasting of Chianti Superiore DOCG.

50 minutes ITINERANT TASTINGS 18 per person

wine tours at Fattoria del Colle

wine tours at Fattoria del Colle

4 tastings: IGT Toscana Bianco Sanchimento, Orcia Doc “Leone Rosso”, Orcia Doc “Cenerentola” and Brunello di Montalcino DOCG all produced in Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wineries.

The tastings take place along an itinerary next to the Chianti and Orcia vineyards to return to the 16th century San Clemente chapel and then proceeds inside the Colle Villa to the armorial hall where the second tasting takes place. The visit continues with the historic kitchen, the billiard room and the bedroom that once belonged to the Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Fattoria del Colle Osteria di Donatella

Fattoria del Colle Osteria di Donatella

In the winery guests enter the barrel area where the Orcia Cenerentola wine is aged and this wine is tasted here. After visiting the Vinsantaia and the Infernotto with old bottles of Brunello the tour concludes with a tasting of Brunello. The second and last tasting are accompanied with diced pecorino and local sausage.

 

120 minutes TOUR, TASTING AND TRADITIONAL LUNCH €34 per person

Guided tour of the historical halls in the sixteenth century villa (kitchen and armorial hall) the San Clemente chapel and the winery with its barrel ageing, the Brunello infernotto and the Vinsanto loft.

In the Osteria at Fattoria del Colle, in the liberty style dining room or in the veranda looking over the vineyards.

An elegant setting finely furnished. The lunch consists in 4 courses accompanied by Chianti Superiore DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC served in crystal wine goblets.  The menu includes zuppa di Trequanda or pappa col pomodoro, maltagliati with duck sauce or pappardelle con sugo toscano prepared with wine, tagliata di bue chianino reared in the nearby pastures with roast potatoes and salad,  ciambellone with apples or whipped ricotta.

At Casato Prime Donne there are 4 wine tours

Orcia Doc Cenerentola puts on her crown

Cenerentola becomes a princess with the 2015 harvest. A five star harvest with quality levels never reached before for Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s Orcia Doc wine

Cenerentola-2015-Orcia-Doc

Cenerentola-2015-Orcia-Doc

Cenerentola becomes a princess with the 2015 harvest. This is the happy finale after a long journey, lots of trials, lots of hopes and a great dream. It was in 2000 that Donatella Cinelli Colombini fell in love with a Sienese grape variety that was practically extinct: Foglia Tonda. A vigorous and rustic variety that in the poor Tuscan vineyards a century ago did not get thinned out with green harvesting and consequently did not ripen. But Donatella together with her agronomists has found the way to make the vines less productive and bring the clusters to perfect ripening. They also learnt which are the best soils and expositions for this variety that, if cultivated in humid areas with little sun well expresses its objections.

In the cellar too there have been many experiments and not all lucky ones. Now the Foglia Tonda variety is picked for last, it ferments and ages alone, for at least 12 months in 5 hectolitres French oak tonneaux, this is when it joins the best Sangiovese made at Fattoria del Colle.

Cenerentola-2015-Orcia-Doc

Cenerentola-2015-Orcia-Doc

In its sales Cenerentola’s story is all uphill, like all other wines based on rare autochthonous grape varieties.

It is different and 15 years ago journalists’ appreciation didn’t go to more territorial wine making. Then what was rare become trendy, the autochthonous, like what is natural, and so Cenerentola began to find more and more important and better and better ratings from the great experts.

Assistance for European Wine producers and international envy

700€ per hectare and 0,15€ per litre of wine, this is the assistance for European Wine producers that the rest of the world looks at with envy,without considering the off-set

Assistance-for-European-wine -producers-for-exportation

Assistance-for-European-wine -producers-for-exportation

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

It is well known that abroad the assistance for European wine producers and farmers is looked upon with suspect, as if they were a disturbance to competition but in a dishonest way. And wine is one of the products to be questioned.

A few years ago, to be able to export, all wineries were forced to send to China a declaration stating what contributions had received. It all ended when Europe accepted the commercialization of Chinese solar panels.

The last episode of this saga is the article “How Much Government Assistance Do European Wine Producers Receive?”published by the Journal of Wine Economics by Kym Anderson from the School of Economics in the Adelaide University and by Hans G. Jensen of the Institute of Food and Resource Economics from the Copenhagen University.

These two academics have estimated the European aids to be an average of 700€ per hectare and 0,15€ per litre of wine so roughly a nominal tax rate of about 20%of costs.

Assistance-for-european-wine-producers-for exporting-to Brazil

Assistance-for-European-wine-producers-for exporting-to Brazil

An enormous amount 2,341 billion per year, of which France alone gets about one third of the total (830 million Euro), Italy and Spain about a fifth each 570 the first and 405 the second) while all the other nations are under 100 million Euro.

If we go and see these total we realize that the vineyards with most contributions per hectare are the Austrian ones .They get 2.400 € so more than double everyone else. After this initial help the aid per hectolitre of wine is superior in Austria with respect to every other European nation: 370€. In this list we find  Slovakia in second position then Slovenia, Check republic, Portugal, France and Bulgaria all above the European  average of 145€, while we in Italy are below with 140€.

Richness and poverty in front of Moet et Chandon

How long must you work to be able to buy a bottle of Champagne? In Italy you need the equivalent of three hours of work but in Nepal a month’s salary is not enough By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Doc Orcia, Fattoria del Colle The image of a world divided between rich and poor is evident even in the quantity of work that is needed to buy a luxury product such as  Moët & Chandon: in nations that are more economically developed it is affordable by the a vast majority of the middle class and in places like  Kenya, Ghana or India practically nobody can afford it. The analysis of the work to be done to become owners of a bottle of these noble French bubbles arrives from JWE Journal of Wine Economics, a periodical magazine that, together with very interesting studies regarding the...

                                               

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