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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.

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 .

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.

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...

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...

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.

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€.

Toscana Lovers Siena apparecchiatura

A crest helps sell wine

What are you doing without a crest? The family coat of arms helps sell wine and business possibilities increase if there is a picture of the place of origin

Crest/helps/sell/wine/Giacomo-Conterno-Francia-Barolo

Crest-helps-sell-wine-Giacomo-Conterno-Francia-Barolo

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

Thoes who haven’t got a blazon might run to an expert and get one created for their name or their winery. In fact the charm that binds nobility and history, that mixture of mystery and richness that a coat of arms signifies, is still very strong and  so a crest helps sell wine. So this has its effect and not only on the simplest of people who think of the Prince Charming who lives in a castle with its drawbridge, but also on those with a degree and great salary. The noble coat of arms gives a bottle great prestige.

This is the surprising revelation of the second survey Spot & Web carried out with the WOA method (Web Opinion Analysis) through monitoring the most important social media networks and on a sample of 500 people between 25 and 60 years of age, analyzed by a pool of psychologists coordinated by the psychologist Serenella Salomoni.

Crest-helps-sell-wine-Ornellaia

Crest-helps-sell-wine-Ornellaia

So here is what influences the consumer: the blazon (26%), the name (22%), the image of the place of origin (17%), the label (14%) and the bottle (11%).

Without of course diminishing the value of the quality of the wine, of the appellation or of the brand, this survey has evidenced how important it is to show off the aristocracy of the producer and of the castle, villa or monumental building where the wine is produced. Here in fact is a list of the favourite labels: first of all Barolo Francia di Giacomo Conterno , in this label the blazon is on the background, in second place  Ornellaia by Tenuta dell’Ornellaia with an image of the original building and the noble crown ( respectively with 21 and 19% of votes). Follows Amarone Classico Calcarole di Guerrieri Rizzardi, and in this case too there is the coat of arms and the drawing of the estate (17% of preferences). Barolo Monprivato di Mascarello Giuseppe e Figlio with a very large coloured crest. In the  Sassicaia from Tenuta San Guido there is the Marchesi Incisa della Rocchetta compass rose.

Casato Prime Donne Award 2017

A few days left to send to the Casato Prime Donne Award secretariat articles, videos and images published between June 1st  2016 and 2017

Casato Prime Donne Award 2017

Casato Prime Donne Award 2017

Within June 15th articles or photographs regarding the wine territories Brunello and Orcia must be sent to the award secretariat to participate in the 19th edition of this event. This award year after year grows in visibility and appreciation. It has the goal of expressing gratitude from the territory towards those who promote its culture and the wine productions but most of all its scope is to emphasize women who propose new models of femininity. During the years the Casato Prime Donne award has anticipated times by giving recognition to special women, not yet well known, who later have done memorable things such as Samantha Cristoforetti who 4 years after receiving the award went into space. Or it has emphasized the civil courage of a great astrophysicist who came back from abroad to teach in an Italian University – Sandra Savaglio – or like the young Muslim who opposes terrorism by risking her own life – Chaimaa Fatihi. The Casato Prime Donne puts a spot light on a new way of being woman in a society that is changing and asks the female gender for a contribution in courage, ethics ad positive examples.

The jury made up of Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Carlotta Annibale and Giuditta Parisi Points of View Montalcino Casato Prime Donne

Carlotta Annibale and Giuditta Parisi Points of View Montalcino Casato Prime Donne

president, Rosy Bindi, Anselma Dell’Olio, Anna Pesenti, Stefania Rossini, Anna Scafuri and Daniela Viglione represents in its compound character and in its multidisciplinary competences an privileged observation of the present society and has been able to give substance and messages to the Casato Prime Donne award making it a great instrument for social and territorial promotion. The jury works side by side with the mayor of Montalcino, with the President of the Consorzio del Brunello Patrizio Cencioni and with three personalities: Mario Fregoni, Leone Piccioni and Sergio Zavoli.

Wine Glasses: how to choose them and how to keep them

In wine glasses the stem breaks easily, the cup might cut your hand while you wash them and most of all the cloudiness of the crystal…What to do?

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

most -expensive-wine -glasses- in-the-world-by-john-calleija

most -expensive-wine -glasses- in-the-world-by-john-calleija

Obviously the shape of the glass is fundamental to taste wine but it is not the only element to be considered when we buy a set of glasses. I’ll not be talking about prices as there are incredible differences: from the 400.000 $ for the Champagne flutes by John Calleija’s in quartz crystal that make cheap even the 150$ for the Lalique 100 points by James Suckling to then get to the  6 € for a normal goblet at the supermarkets.

Wine-glasses-Osteria-di-Donatella-Fattoria-del-Colle-Toscana

Wine-glasses-Osteria-di-Donatella-Fattoria-del-Colle-Toscana

Wine glasses especially for those who use and wash them often, must remain sparkling and not be delicate. The most fragile parts are the rime and the stem. Let’s avoid very thin cups, that might be elegant to chip very easily and are like razors when drying the glasses by hand- My husband Carlo still has the scar from a Riedel cut on his hand. The stem is however the most critical part. If we want glasses that last a long time it must be quite thick. Hand blown glasses, where there is no joining between cup and stem, are the most delicate. Then there is the intermediates type, hand blown cup and industrial stem- But must glasses are made mainly machine.

Is it time for High Altitude Wines?

1.200-1500 meters up, a race upwards. Once it was called heroic viticulture, now it seems that high altitude wines are the new frontier against global warming

 

High-altitude-wines -Val d'Aosta - Morgex - Cave du Vin Blanc - Nicola del Negro, wine- maker- and-sales-manager. check -"Piagne" -vineyard with Priè Blanc grapes

High-altitude-wines -Val d’Aosta – Morgex – Cave du Vin Blanc – Nicola del Negro, wine-
maker- and-sales-manager. check -“Piagne” -vineyard with Priè Blanc grapes

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Toscana, agriturismo .

Let’s start from Wine Searcher and from a very interesting article by Wink Lorch that I suggest you read, for its reflections regarding High-Altitude Wines, of which producers talk always more and more.

Altitude signifies freshness: the average temperatures are lower and so the alcohol is low and the acids increase resulting in fine and elegant wines. Also often in high altitude there is a big difference between day and night temperatures with exceptional results in the synthesis of the floral and fruit aromas.

Altitude signifies intensity: in high altitude the sunlight is stronger and with more  UV-B rays. This fills the grapes with antioxidants, the grape skin gets thicker and takes into the wine quantities of tannins, excellent anthocyanins. These increase the intensity of the fruit and the ability of the wine to age.

High-altitude-wines-Cave Mont Blanc,

High-altitude-wines-Cave Mont Blanc,

The direct testimony of those who have vineyards over 1000 meters in height on the Etna , such as Santa Maria la Nave, confirm all of this and bring the attention on the less pollution in the air and the better ventilation.

Altitude means contrast to global warming: in the traditional grape growing regions maintaining the right alcohol-acids equilibrium is getting more and more difficult because of the warmer temperatures. The high altitude vineyards can be a valid alternative.

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