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British Fizz: Her Majesty's Spumate

While the English producers are still looking for a name of their bubbly the Americans have already named it horribly: British Fizz



By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Chianti Superiore, Agriturismo, Fattoria del Colle

British Fizz …..  sounds awful and make you think of fizzy hair. Then there are the FIZZ drinks, blended with lemon and soda. We all know Gin Fizz

So after thinking about this for a long time the sparkling wine producers could have chosen a name to give dignity to the bottle instead of a name used previously for the effervescence of soda.

Mamma mia, and to think that the English bubbles are very expensive.  Fizz what?

Not very convincing, in fact I would say the opposite of any marketing logic, it the way that the term has been chosen. This story is told in a nice article on The Drinks Business. It seems that it all started with the wine list at the Jones Wood pub in New York, this was photographed and posted on Twitter on the 5th of January. The list itemized 6 British Fizz followed by 11 Champagne and sparkling wines among which a Lambrusco. After this incident Bob Lindo chairman of the British association of producers UKVA declare to want to register the name FIZZ so that it becomes the name of the English appellation of sparkling wines produced with the metodo classico. In fact the project is fuller one as there would be then 3 English DOP regions:

British Fizz
British Sparkling
Wine from Great Britain. 



The Duchess of Cornwall, president of the UKVA commented Bob Lindo’s issue with a regal and British line <<new name needs to be found to better describe English sparkling wine>> suggesting a better and more representative name. A few days later however while the controversies were all over the press, the previous names seemed much more suitable than FIZZ. Particularly the term “Britagne” combining Britannia and Champagne.

Traminer inverno 2013

To produce fine wines you must be single

Long hours, especially at harvest time, stress and hard work are the disadvantages for lady wine makers but there can also be problems with partners for both genders

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



An article on Wine Searcher regarding sexism makes clear the problematic of conciliating careers and professional ambitions with a normal life as a couple. The problem exists for both men and women wine makers but the latter to face enormous difficulties.

Certainly 30 years ago it was worse: suppliers gave “girly” calendars, and any women who progressed in this career got comment such as  <<she must have gone to bed with the boss>> but still today women’s wages are less than their male colleagues. <<There is a boy’s club feel in many wineries, and hiring women changes that>> says Eileen Crane with reference to those exclusively male contexts where one talks of football or about women together with the malolactic fermentation or autochthonous yeasts.

Passito 2011 IGT nella scatola in legno

Wine and horses

Wine and horses, a magical combination: Incisa della Rocchetta, Sassicaia and the horse called Ribot, Gianfranco Fino, Es and Bruno the horse that works in his vineyards

Wine-and-horses- Mario-Incisa-della-Rocchetta-Ribot

Wine-and-horses- Mario-Incisa-della-Rocchetta-Ribot

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

Wine and horses together create a certain charm. The most famous are Marchesi Incisa della Rocchetta who, other than  Sassicaia are also owners of Ribot  “The best horse of the century” as the International press labelled him after his victory at Ascot in front of 100.000 spectators , all left speechless  because of his powerfulness . Still today visitors of the famous Tenuta San Guido in Bolgheri see the thoroughbreds race on the turf racing track in the midst of the vineyards. As it is possible to see Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta avidly reading his horseracing magazines.

Wine -and-horses-Bruno-Gianfranco-Fino-vineyards

Wine -and-horses-Bruno-Gianfranco-Fino-vineyards

But this is not the only case of a thoroughbreds with many victories owned by wine producers, or of horses with wine names: Sangiovese, Merlot, Negramaro, Gutturnio without forgetting champions such as Bricco Uccellone. The tenuta Braida belonging to the late Giacomo Bologna has a long story of wine and horses. Luciana Rota, in a delightful article in “Il Sommelier” had fun looking for virtuous assonances.

Tignanello and Ornellaia are also names of horses that in the Eighties were victorious racers.

Among the families of wine producers that also rear racehorses there is also the Rocca Family who have this passion since 1880. They are Shiraz Roc and the  three year old United Roc that is reaping successes. Other families who rear horses and make wines are the  Pacelli’s with   Laura and Carla in the Cosenza hills.

Most expensive cocktails in the world

Is it worth spending 37.500€ for just one glass? Evidently there are those willing to pay, and these are the three most expensive cocktails in the world

Most -expensive-cocktails-in-the-world-Tokyo-Diamonds-are-Forever-Martini

Most -expensive-cocktails-in-the-world-Tokyo-Diamonds-are-Forever-Martini

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini agriturismo, Toscana, Fattoria del Colle

The Drinks Business never ceases to surprise with articles that are really curious. This time it lists the most expensive cocktails in the world. The price depends upon the ingredients, that in certain cases are the crème de le crème, but the bill really is extortionate. This article talks about ten of them but I will mention just three, with the astronomic prices inviting you though to read the original article, which is full of irony.I thought that the first in the list was already very expensive, an original  Mai Tai costing 1.120 Euro proposed by Merchant Hotel in Belfast (five star hotel where in May a double room costs about 300€ per night).



Expensive but all in all affordable if we consider that it contains Nephew Rum that costs 29.000 € per bottle and was used in the original recipe in 1944.This s the first mentioned in the list, but let’s see the three that make you faint when you get the bill. The focal point id luxury and exclusivity, the price is worth the stars that shine around the scene.

11.200 € The Winston from Club 23 in Melbourne need two days preparation and gets its name from the famous British statesman. In this case too one of the ingredients costs a lot: 1858 Croizet cognac, which costs 147.500 € per bottle.

New barrels for the Brunello 2016

February, the new barrels enter the winery and become the cribs for the future Brunello. Here explained the reasons for certain choices



By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, winery, Tuscan agriturismo

February is the month where traditionally the future Brunello begins its barrel ageing. There are those who begin sooner, as suggested by the late Professor Yves Glories, the winemaker who taught the whole world how to interpret the polyphenolic ripening of the grapes. We were at the Bordeaux 2University,P1100916-300x225 where he used to teach, at the end of January 2001, and I gave him a tasting of my most recent harvest, and was thorough told off because I had not yet but it into barrel.

The Montalcino tradition is that of putting wine into the wooden casks when it has finished the malolactic fermentation and the first decanting. For this reason consultant wine makers like our Valerie Lavigne, visit their wineries and taste the entire new production together with the internal wine technician, in our case Barbara Magnani.

It is a very careful and slow examination of every vat. Chemical analysis, vineyard maps, grape harvest diaries…but most of all the actual tasting, all of this conducts to the final decision regarding the destiny of every mass of wine.

Up until 50 years ago, Barbara’s office was the Fattoria del Colle office. It is a small room



at the entrance of the 16th century villa, and from which the wine aroma reaches the offices above. Barbara and Valerie sit one in front of the other each with their laptop in front of them. Both love technology, so no written sheets with tasting notes, all is digital.

Drunken animals: they like alcohol too

In some case drunken animals have eaten fruit or bamboo that has fermented but often they thieve alcohol and drink it and become really dangerous

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne



The Drinks Business tells us about 12 episodes of drunken animals, some are funny and some area really horrific for those involved.

There are some Canadian birds that get tipsy eating frozen and fermented berries. The authorities who act in the safeguard of animals have been forced to capture them and lock them up to get over the hangover and stopping them from flying dangerously

Francis Bacon is a Vietnamese pig who finds his way into the Conquering Hero pub in West Norwood to thieve pints of beer and other delicacies. Its owners Vicky and Ian Taylor-Ross noticed that he is sociable like a dog but he does have an extraordinary nose. What a shame to not use it for truffles! In Australia wild pigs thieve beer cans on a camping site. They break them with their teeth and drink the contents. The tourists’ comments are hilarious, with pigs running after cows, swimming in the river and then fortunately, falling soundly asleep. More than scared the campers seem to be angry because of the theft of the beer.

Then there is a squirrel that eats fermented apples and jumps o the snow without going straight. The video has gone viral and has been seen more than 5 million times.

Fine wines: what will happen in 2017

The Drinks Business foresees the future for fine wines in 2017 and Wine Searcher reveals the most sought after: Mouton, Lafite and Margaux

Fine-wines-the-future-sees-them-in growth

Fine-wines-the-future-sees-them-in growth

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne

For fine wines the present trends will be reinforced during 2017

1) Auctions: prices of wines for investment will grow again after years of stagnation, a favourable moment for the First Growth or rather the Bordeaux Premier crus while the Burgundy wines will be mined by the Italian wines and by Champagne.

2) The Super Tuscans and the bottles from Piedmont emerge from the obscurity created by the Bolgheri wines



3) Cabernet and other Californian wines will gain market share.

4) The Bordeaux from 2015 will obtain great approval from the critics but their commercial success depends a lot upon the prices.

5) Finally it seems that the run-up of the prices of the wines from Burgundy has ended.  Romané Conti has accomplished sales that blow your mind in 2016, but in the future this growth will slow down.

6) Prestigious Champagnes will become a must for the main wineries, at the rhythm of two per brand.

Antinori nuova cantina

Italian wines and the world's most powerful people

Donald Trump is a teetotaller but he does make wine and on election night toasted with Amarone. Italian wines on presidential tables

Italian-wine.and-the -world's- powerful-people-Briatore-Trump-Amarone

Italian-wine.and-the -world’s- poerful-people-Briatore-Trump-Amarone

Di Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Orcia Doc, Cenerentola

Let’s begin with a recent example: on the morning of November 9th, when Donald Trump’s victory as President of the US is sure, his friend Flavio Briatore rapidly sends to the Trump Tower three magnums of Amarone with personalized labels with a note saying «Dear Donald, we did it >>. This is quite strange as Trump proclaims to be a teetotaller even though he owns since 2011 a winery in Charlottesville, in Virginia run by his son Eric Donald. In truth buying it at an auction Trump said to the previous owner Patricia Kluge,

Italian-wines-and-the-world's-powerful-people- Aneri

Italian-wines-and-the-world’s-powerful-people- Aneri

<<You have a great nose for wine, I do not>>. This agreement was born more from an investment point of view rather than from a love of wine <<This place has a mortgage for 28 million dollars and I bought it for 6,2 million. It is a Trump-deal>> he said, but as usual he has put his name on the labels. Another of his mania is that of branding everything: water, tea, chocolate……..everything labelled Donald Trump.

turisti del vino

Women and wine 10 false clichés

Julien Miguel the most social wine maker in the world shows us 10 common clichés regarding women and wine that must be exposed, 1st point they buy the most wine

images1By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Orcia Doc, Fattoria del Colle

Social Vignerons the blog by Julien is one of the most influent the world over and his followers are worthy of the quality of his articles: 254.825 on Twitter, 14.445 son Facebook, 40.058 on  Instagram, 7.334 on LinkedIn … practically all of those who love reading about wine online.



The posts that are published by this French winemaker, who turned to the web while in New Zealand, to then return to Europe last year, are always very interesting.  The article << Women and Wine? Let’s shrug off dusty clichés!>>  is to be framed. Read it and then continue scouring his blog because Social Vignerons will fascinate you.

So let us see which are these myths to be exposed regarding wines and women that Julien Miguel re-proposes from the graph by Feminalise the wine competition that takes place in Beaune in Burgundy –this year it will be on April 6th – and regards 4.000 labels from all over the world blind tasted by a jury of 750 female experts from 18 nations

  1. Men buy more wine than women– INCORRECT Women are the 1st buyers of wine in the world. In the US: Women make 83% of wine purchase UK: 80%     France: 70%         Switzerland: 60% Australia: 57%
  2. Women only drink white and sweet wines-INCORRECT They drink mostly Red. On the American continent and Europe, women drink: Red 57%, White 30%, Rosé 13%
  1. Men drink all the wine, women wash the glasses -INCORRECT: Women drink more wine than men More than 51% of wine drinkers are women everywhere in the world. 85% of them think that wine is a moment of pleasure and sharing


  2. Women don’t know how to buy wine. WRONG: They buy wine mostly for its ability to pair perfectly with food. Women’s choice is driven by variety, region or country, label and suitability with food. While men’s wine selection is more status-driven, drawn to particular brands with price factor. Overall, nearly 1/5 women that are highly involved, meaning knowledgeable about wine, have an interest in the category and/or consider themselves collectors
  3. Wines made by women are for women FALSE: There is no specific wine for women

Wine & Siena brings Brunello into the centre of the Gothic city

Wine&Siena on January 21st and 22nd transforms historic buildings of the Gothic capital into tasting rooms for great wines by 250 wineries[caption id="attachment_11837" align="alignleft" width="300"] Wine&Siena-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini[/caption]By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Montalcino, Brunello, Casato Prime DonneWine&Siena: we are at desk 165 in the sala Mappamondo of the Palazzo Pubblico with our Brunello...

Emerging wine regions around the world

Okanagan, Tasmania, Corsica, England, Georgia, Michigan these are the emerging regions and the new frontiers for great wines



By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Orcia, Fattoria del Colle

In the wine world there are the great classics: Burgundy, Barolo, Brunello, Champagne …. and the novelties such as Oregon or Etna. Among the emerging regions some do get welcomed into the Olympus such as Bolgheri, Napa Valley and others go out of fashion. The authoritative US magazine “Wine Enthusiast” publishes an article by its editors that talks of the 6 emerging wine regions around the world.
Some are confirmations and others are surprises.

Okanagan, in Canada, is a confirmation, and in the last few years has climbed the world rating lists for wine tourism. It is a beautiful area in British Columbia, at 150 km from the border with the US.



During the past 25 years the wineries have gone from 17 to 270 and the grow Syrah, Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Gris and Blanc on soil very different in altitude and composition. Recently I have tasted a Riesling, clearly inspired, openly admitted by the producer, to the Rhine version of this wine. Clean, technically perfect, but still lacking the complex and intriguing minerality that is found in vineyards that are hundreds of years old.

Wine Spectator TOP 100, the best wines in 2016

Let us discover together the TOP 100 Wine Spectator 2016 wines, and in third position we find the winery owned by Robert Parker from Wine Advocate, that is correct, the eternal WS rival

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Chianti Superiore, Fattoria del Colle

Here are the top 10 of the most coveted list in the world, the one by Wine Spectator TOP 100 of the year

1) Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013 Lewis

2) Chardonnay Dundee Hills Evenstad Reserve 2014 di Domaine Serene

3) Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge 2014 di Beaux Frères

4) Barsac 2013 di Château Climens

5) Barbaresco Asili Riserva 2011 dei Produttori del Barbaresco

6) Monte Bello 2012 di Ridge Vineyards

7) Machete 2014 di Orin Swift California

8) Tignanello 2013 di Antinori

9) Pessac-Léognan Blanc 2013 di Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte,

10) Old Vine Zinfandel Russian River Valley 2014 di Hartford Family California



Let’s see close up the three wines on the podium.

First and king among the Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2013 Lewis is a bottle that cannot be forgotten: an elegant Burgonet bottle with a simple round yellow crest with inside a Block capital “L”. Wine Searcher indicates the price at 495 Dollars, only one store selling, with just one bottle available <<#1 Wine of The Year 2016 Wine Spectator! Not cheap but not many out there!>>  There’s a rarity for you! This wine cannot be found! The surprises are not finished: just to prove that the certainty that certain people have regarding the fact the only big companies get reviews by the great American wine press, Lewis is a family with 3 members –Randy, Debby and Dennis-that do everything manually in their winery in  Napa Valley bought in 1992.


Only 108.000 bottles per year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  Randy was a car racer, he once raced in Formula 3 in Europe. His wife Debby is a genius in marketing and comes from the wine world. Dennis the son also loves sport, and before arriving in the Lewis winery worked in personnel for large companies.

The tour of the winery lasts an hour and includes w tasting of 4 wines, it costs 40 dollars. A small enterprise that concentrates on quality but is still incredibly artisanal.

Bolt CEO for Champagne Mumm

A revolutionary turning point:  Mumm chooses as its testimonial an athlete, the fastest man ever: Usain Bolt. Surprising choice which might even be risky

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne



Don’t be hasty: CEO means « Chief entertainment officer » and not CEO Chief Executive Officer. This is a typical game in French style. At Mumm they want Bolt as a testimonial nota s a chief executive officer. This news arrived in November: the Jamaican Usain Bolt, the fastest man ever, has been chosen as symbol for the Mumm Champagne. The first video shows Bolt that carries out the sabrage on a bottle of Champagne using one of his Olympic gold medals. It’s difficult to know which it is; he has 9 of them, and has been on the top step of the medium for three consecutive editions, and each edition for two or three races.



The publicity is multimedia and wishes to push Mumm consumers towards a more intimate rapport with the brand using also internet and devises

This is the only way to show the campaign in France where publicity regarding alcoholic beverages is prohibited on TV and at the cinema. The objective is of course to intercept Bolt fans but also to confirm the connection between Mumm and wining moments in the life of the consumer, in an association with a practically unbeatable man. For Mumm this is a strategic message: for years we have been used to seeing its magnums on the Formula1 for racing cars podium, held by winning pilots.

Wine Lady: the 3 ladies of Italian wine in the USA

Wine Lady: a title for Monica Larner, Karin O’Keefe, and Alison Napjus, tasters of Italian wines for Robert Parker-Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator



By Donatella Cinelli Colombini

If the American wine market is not entirely dominated by women, but we are nearly there. Let me introduce you to 3 different Wine Lady, the women who taste Italian wines for the main USA wine magazines. They are great experts, young, intelligent, open and hard workers as they work without rest.  Monica Larner, Kerin O’Keefe, Alison Napjus are the ones who give the ratings to the Italian wines for the most influential magazines on the American market Robert Parker-Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and  Wine Spectator. Their ratings open the doors to Canadian monopolies and get wines into the wine lists of the most exclusive restaurants; they also help wineries in starting rapports with new importers. In other words they help in launching towards success.

Let’s get to know these three wine women better




Monica Larner is from California but lives in Rome. She comes from a family where wine and cinema cohabit and it was during filming of the TV series “World War II” that she arrived in Italy in 1983. Her life continued between the family winery in the Ballard Canyon in Santa Barbara (California) and journalism that she studied in the universities of Boston and New York. In her professional life there are some experiences with daily newspapers such as La Repubblica and The Herald Tribune, the AIS sommelier course, many books on Italy and an immense photo archive of about 50.000 images.

Siena centro storico

The "after Parker" in Australia, and among wine critics

There are those who celebrate wine after Parker with great joy, and then there are those who continue being influenced by the great Robert, but today all ratings are worth less than before

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini



After Parker the  “The Drinks Business” portal, always very attentive to what is happening in the wine and beer worlds , published an interview given to Master of Wine Chris Hancock (Robert Oatley Vineyards in  New South Wales in Australia) . He is known as Mr Chardonnay because he spread this variety down under at the beginning of ht 1980’s. This article stimulates some thought.

The sentence that hit me was << We have just about lost all of the jammy, alcoholic, heavy, dead skin Shirazes that are Parker pleasing palate killers, which is an hallelujah moment. Instead, we’re moving towards lighter, brighter more interesting wines from quality producers>>

Robert Oatley Vineyards

Robert Oatley Vineyards

So in Australia too there is a change in direction, and after affirming itself with big monumental wines characterized by exaggerated amounts of pulp, wood and alcohol, and in so giving the impression that these out to be chewed rather than drunk, they are  now looking for an identity through a careful attention to the vines.


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