Wine Enthusiast with 95/100 and Robert Parker with 94/100 reward Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s Brunello riserva 2013, and with 91/100 her Brunello vintage 2014...
Wine Enthusiast with 95/100 and Robert Parker with 94/100 reward Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s Brunello riserva 2013, and with 91/100 her Brunello vintage 2014...
Zurich is a city of bankers, of luxury that is not on show, the European city where wines costs the most and where I have just been as one of the 255 wineries chosen by Wine Advocate.
In the Wine Advocate -Robert Parker wine tasting the Italian team was the largest, with 53 wineries all along the external perimeter of the hall. For many wineries the owners were present personally. From Montalcino there were 12 of us, 20% of Italian wineries, a very high number that indicates the consideration of Brunello by the most important wine magazine in the world.
The Matter of Taste – fine wine experience reunites 600 excellent wines from all over the world chosen among those that have obtained 90/100 or more from Robert Parker-Wine Advocate. In the tastings you are really spoilt for choice. On the Saturday I concentrate on the Spanish bottles where I find too much oak, although in their opinion this muscular imprint helps them to sell.
I am fascinated by the immense quality potential of the Portuguese and Chilean wines and I am completely taken by the Eolo wine, obtained from a vineyard planted in 1912 in the Trivento winery. Sunday was dedicated to tasting South African wines (where I enjoy a taste of an excellent De Toren 2010) that I know very well thanks to my 6 trips, unsuccessful, to find a partner with whom to create a winery.
I taste around ten Bordeaux remaining impressed by the oak, although well amalgamated, make them apt as “vin de garde” that will remain for years and years in the investors cellars. I pick up again with Champagne and discover a real gem where freshness balance an oxidative stile: it is called Femme (name that makes it very dear to me) and is by Duval LeRoy.
Then am intrigued to find bottles about which I have written in my blog, like the Argentinean Catena Zapata Malbec with its label full of skeletons and nude women. It’s like meeting up with old friends. And then we find friends in flesh and blood, like Elena Fucci with her husband Andrea, Paolo Bianchini who tells me how he managed to get Alex Zanardi to come to Benvenuto Brunello, Tamara Maccherini who now works for Regaleali
Many of the Wine Advocate-Robert Parker tasters were present including the chief Lisa Perrotti-Brown Master of Wine who is responsible for the Bordeaux and Napa wines. Then Monica Larner, who tastes Italian wines, Stephan Reinhardt, reviewer for Switzerland, Champagne, Loire, Germany, Alsace, and Austria, and William Kelley, taster for Burgundy.
They consequently guide stellar master classes. What is stunning is their young age: Reinhart with his total white hair has a handsome face that makes him similar to an actor or a model, Kelley looks like a teenager and is described by Monica Larner as a genius with a prodigious memory because he can quote without hesitation the vertical tastings of all the wineries.
Calaf, the prince in the Turandot by Puccini, gives its name to the dark chocolate pralines containing drops fine wines such as our Brunello
Calaf is a series of 9 pralines in dark chocolate filled with drops of Brunello, Amarone, Fiano di Avellino, Passerina del Frusinate, Malvasia, Passito di Pantelleria, Primitivo and Taurasi. Obviously the Brunello is one produced by Donatella Cinelli Colombini.
Every bon bon is packaged, as if it were a jewel, in single boxes, or in a box set that contains the whole series of 9-18 chocolates. On the outside there are drawings from the beginning of the 20th century, a clear exotic inspiration that recalls the protagonist of the Turandot. Calaf is in fact a Chinese prince that succeeds in transforming into a woman in love, the beautiful but bloodthirsty Princess called Turandot. This old fable became famous because of the music written by Giacomo Puccini and never finished by the composer because of his passing. For this reason, during the first performance in (1926) at the Teatro Alla Scala, the Maestro Toscanini interrupted the representation at the point where the composer had left it, and refused, even in later occasions to perform the completed version by Franco Alfano.
So Calaf is a love hero. He who puts his life at risk to have the woman he loves. And it is this romantic character that Nadia Pagliuca, born in Campania but now living in Tuscany that inspired her to create a high end series of exclusive chocolates.
To open her boxes is an aromatic experience even before becoming a taste experience, because the aroma of the bon bons is so intoxicating. Each box can per personalized and become a present unlike any other.
Calaf is the second of Nadia’s projects in Tuscany. In 2012 she opened “La Confetteria Firenze” with the support of a famous confectioner from Sulmona. Here, in this partnership, the first Chianti filled bon bon was born, and inevitably it became a constant presence at weddings in Tuscany. The new Calaf project regards Nadia Pagliuca together with a group of family members and friends with whom a series of pralines, where chocolate and fine wines are mixed, has been studied and tested.
Forum regarding the old grape variety called Foglia Tonda with wines from 9 wineries. Donatella Cinelli Colombini and Gianni Fabrizio tell the story and the characteristics
On Friday February the 1st at Fattoria del Colle, in Southern Tuscany, the Foglia Tonda grape variety will make its debut into wine society, where there is a comparison between great winemaking in front of great wine critics. Donatella Cinelli Colombini, host and initiator of the rediscovery of this old Sienese grape variety abandoned more than 100 years ago and now once again of interest to the market and to the experts. She together with another 8 colleagues will tell the story and give a tasting of wines based on Foglia Tonda variety.
<<We found 18 wineries producing Foglia Tonda and 9 of them, from all over Tuscany have replied to our invitation. The forum allows a group of experts and influencers to get to know the Foglia Tonda characteristics better, within its terroir and style differences>>explained the famous taster and journalist Gianni Fabrizio. He will guide the tasting of three of the wines presents obtained with only Foglia Tonda , where some aged in an amphora will give the possibility of better understanding the fruit, ad two blends will give the possibility to consider the potential of Foglia Tonda as a partner for Sangiovese, main variety in Tuscany. The other 4 wines will be served directly by their producers with an around the table setting.
Podere Sequerciani (Gavorrano GR), Podere Ema (Grassina FI), Mocine (Asciano SI), Il Castellaccio (Castagneto Carducci LI), Donatella Cinelli Colombini Az.Agr. (Trequanda SI), Mammuccini Droandi Nuova Agricoltura (Montevarchi AR), Podere Anima Mondi (Casciana Terme PI), Santa Vittoria (Foiano della Chiana AR), Poggio al Vento Mascelloni (Castiglion d’Orcia SI).
2013 was a vintage that started low key, and that later convinced experts and consumers all over the world. In the Riserva versions it aims to get to the top of the ratings
This had already happened in the past when the 2009 bettered all expectations and so became one of the cult vintages for Brunello.
The 2013 vintage had a rainy winter and a cool summer, a typical climate for long lasting and important Brunello. Shortly after the harvest the wine did not seem so special but after the time spent in barrel it finally revealed its extraordinary elegance.
To understand what happened let me tell you how the stars get awarded to Brunello vintages. Long ago the evaluation of vintages was done by expert wine journalists but in 1992 the Consorzio del Brunello decided to do it itself, with rigorous and above all objective criteria. From that moment onwards, every year, its asks the Montalcino wineries, for a sample of the new vintage just born. It has all samples analysed and then reunites a panel of technicians made up of the best wine makers. Their opinion is expressed in stars: 1 star for a bad year, 5 stars for the excellent ones.
During the presentation of the new Brunello, half way through February, the President of the Consorzio reveals the number of stars that have been attributed to the new vintage. This rating is portrayed on a ceramic tile positioned, each year, on the facade of the Old Town Hall in Montalcino and also on our fermentation room facade at Casato Prime Donne.
This method has been criticized during past years; the amount of 5 stars vintages has increased greatly with the climate changes, and some vintages, especially after barrel ageing, reveal qualities that are much
superior to the expectations.
This is exactly the case of the 2013 vintage, that obtained at the time just 4 stars. But after its barrel ageing it has been judged, by many of the best tasters, as superior to the 2012, that in fact had had a better rating.
There is a widespread habit of writing on the label an alcohol content percentage that is not quite exact but closest to the value considered ideal for high quality wines. Let see who puts the true or false alcohol content on the label
The most sincere are le Portuguese, those that cheat the most are the Chileans for red wines and Canadians for whites
What is surprising is that this trick regards only wines on sale at more than 40$. But, in order; this information had worldwide coverage thanks to Wine Searcher but originally came from the Journal of Wine Economics which published a study regarding 91.000 analysis carried out by LCBO Liquor Control Board of Ontario. In other words it was the state monopoly for the sales of alcohol in Ontario to do the study.
Sweet wines and Rieslings were not included.
The LCBO analyzes all the wines that it distributes and in the course of 18 years has collected a data bank without competitors in the world. This information allowed Julian Alston, Kate Fuller, James Lapsley, George Soleas and Kabir Tumber, to get these very surprising results.
A short break at the end of the summer, or a weekend in autumn for a full immersion in the wines Brunello, Orcia and Chianti: September 1st-2nd and October 5-7th
This proposal during harvest and racking is for wine lovers who want to see how the wines are born but also for lovers of the countryside and of its harmonium landscapes, of its traditional cuisine, of a simple but elegant style of life
Donatella Cinelli Colombini proposes two experiences: the first should coincide with the white grape harvest and to the moment of first tastes of the red grapes. The second on the other hand should be when the Sangiovese grapes for Brunello and the clusters for Doc Orcia and Chianti Superiore reach the cellar. To see how these famous wines which get International consent are born, is an exciting experience that allows one to come into contact with nature and allows you to share the producer’s passion.
September 1st-2nd, two days one night pull of experiences that enrich with knowledge and emotions.
Arrive on Saturday afternoon, tour the vineyards and learn about the technique of tasting grapes that allows grape growers to evaluate the ripening and to foresee the date of the harvest. Hoping in favourable weather and the cellar decisions, you should be able to take part in the phases of picking and preserving the Traminer grapes for the Passito. Then a tour of the winery with a tasting of 3 Brunello and then a 4 course dinner matched with four wines from Fattoria del Colle. Next morning transfer to Montalcino with own car to the winery Casato Prime Donne where our brave wine lovers with have a guided tour of the cellar and then a very technical tasting of Brunello from the barrel to understand the different charring and ages of the barrels, then they will taste the preview of the Brunello Riserva 2013 and then the Riserva 2012 to finally taste a Brunello of at least 10 years. Before leaving a nice walk around the vineyards will give new experiences in tasting the grapes and will make the drive back safer.
2016 old style harvest that excites wines lovers and puts a crown on the Cenerentola DOC Orcia label
A vintage this 2016 to be framed: depth, complexity, and finesse, and longevity, characteristics that only a slow ripening of the grapes can give to a wine.
The Sangiovese, main variety used in Cenerentola DOC Orcia (together with Foglia Tonda), produces grapes that are meteoropathic, so can go mad and ruin if the climate is adverse. Its skin is made up of few layers of cells so it needs the help of the sun to express itself at its best. For this reason in the high hills of Southern Toscana, where the climate is dry but cool, Sangiovese has its ideal habitat and reached levels of excellence impossible elsewhere in the world.
There were surprises regarding the harvest date too: the vines had sprouted a good 15 days earlier than usual, and everyone, including us, thought that the harvest would have been precocious one. On the contrary already when the veraison happened (changing of the colour of the grapes from green to blue) the calendar of the vegetation cycle was already aligned with the traditional one, then the ripening proceeded regularly and slowly. In 2016 for the first time in a long time, the clusters reached the time of harvest at a snail’s pace with a mass of sugar in the berries growing slower than the poliphenolic ripening, that of the noble substances in the skins. In 2016 the first semester of the year was very rainy, the soil was hydrated in depth creating reserves for the hot months, but also disturbing the flowering to such a point that the number and dimensions of the clusters was drastically reduced. Then a topsy-turvy summer arrived. With hot days –over 35°c- alternated by storms of great violence, and the wine producers have been really scared that the hail would arrive. Those who like us were saved from the calamity, have had one of the best harvest man can remember.
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)
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
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.
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
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 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.
Brunello Riserva is an extraordinary wine because it can last for decades. At Casato Prime Donne it is produced only in the best harvests
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.
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 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.
The Il Drago e le 8 Colombe wine tells its story through a QR Code on the label, containing curiosities in Italian and in English
For someone who thinks she knows about wine communication this really is the limit: Donatella Cinelli Colombini is one of the last to do wine storytelling on the label …. But those who drink her Drago e le 8 Colombe will be able to learn about the strange name chosen for the wine, and the strange blend, by simply scanning the QR code with their mobile phone. A way to discover the Tuscan traits not only in the glass but also through descriptions.
Il Drago e le 8 Colombe comes from Fattoria del Colle in the middle of the oldest and best preserved area of Tuscany and it brings with it aroma of ripe red fruits and the powerful and harmonious taste typical of a hilly territory where the aril is clean and the ripening of the grapes is slow. Typical food in this region grilled beef steak and pecorino cheese, both wonderfully matched with the Il Drago e le 8 Colombe IGT Toscana.
The vineyards are cultivated following the organic regime and by hand as has been done for centuries. In the cellar there are only women. But there is also a dragon this is Carlo Gardini, husband to Donatella Cinelli Colombini the owner, he is one of the initiators of the new experimentations. A game of symbols that say that the Fattoria del Colle winery is feminine not feminist because the great wines have no gender and they are produced and consumed by those who love nature, culture and good things.
The story of a wine becomes a fairytale during the grape harvest, and Cinderella’s shoe takes us to see vineyards, cellars, barrel ageing rooms and then to the final surprise.
Here is the Prince’s page holding a cushion onto which lays a glittery shoe, shiny like the moon. He visits a Sangiovese vineyard, on the hills surrounding Fattoria del Colle, during the harvest, he sees a girl picking grapes and he asks her to try the shoe on. It doesn’t fit.
Then he goes into the fermentation room where the Sangiovese and Foglia Tonda must, in different vats, are changing into wine; the page sees a cellar girl and asks her to try on the shoe. It doesn’t fit.
Another try in the candle lit barrel ageing room, among the barrels and tonneaux, the page finds another cellar girl. She too tries it on but it doesn’t fit. Although in the winery the staff is made up of only women so there is a vast possibility, none of them are right for Cinderella’s shoe.
Finally the page reaches Fattoria del Colle where there is an enormous fireplace in the 16rh century kitchen of the villa. Here he finds a young woman who is sipping a glass of red wine, He asks her to try on the shoe and she turns into a princess. Then the bottle of Cenerentola 2015 appears. The wine that after 15 years from its first harvest has reached an extraordinary level in harmony and personality. This is Cenerentola!
This is the story told in a short video created by Tommaso Dironato, who shows us playfully, with a mixture of fairytale and reality how the Cenerentola wine is born and how it becomes a Princess of international wine making.
MARKETS AND PRIZES
The Cenerentola wine has suffered until it has finally established itself but today it has fans all over the world. It is exported to 15 nations. Now other than the wine lovers, the wine critics also appreciate Cenerentola: it has obtained 90/100 from Robert Parker Wine Advocate and 91/100 from Wine Spectator.
Let’s take a peek at the wine stores and restaurants in Montalcino to see how wine tourism is changing and how the trade that welcomes it changes too
On one thing everyone agrees << 2017 has been a great year for tourism in the Brunello region>> . Helped by the hot climate that has urged people to leave the cities, but has put our vines through great difficulties, but it also has increases tourism in the countryside by putting in a line row and rows of fantastic beautiful days.
Lots of tourists and lots of tasting and shopping.
While talking to those who work in contact with tourists it is possible to discover some curious things. The wine lovers who come to Montalcino desire most of all to discover Brunello and concentrate their buying sprees on this <<they are not even interested in the Rosso di Montalcino, they want only Brunello>> says Sergio Pierangioli who however admits <<your Cenerentola Doc Orcia sells well, maybe it’s because of the name, maybe because of the label, maybe because it is different …>>.
There is though another sort of wine lover that wants to taste and most of all buy excellent bottles from the most famous Italian appellations and so has stores ship them home bottles of Barolo, Amarone, Aglianico … <<they do not have the time to visit all of the famous wine regions but they want to buy these wines because in Brazil or Canada they would cost much much more>> they explain in the BD Bruno Dalmazio wine store.
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