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Brunello di Montalcino 2012 Tag

Brunello Prime Donne: story of a challenge

Donatella Cinelli Colombini had just started designing the company that bears her name when she realized that women managers and consumers counted for nothing. Brunello Prime Donne: story of a challenge



Brunello di Montalcino Prime Donne is very traditional in style, produced in a small exclusive selection.
It owes its exceptionality to the grapes of Sangiovese from which it is born. The small size of the bunches and grapes allow it to combine longevity, an extraordinary elegance and a surprising pleasure. The solid acidic and tannic structure is in fact barely perceptible thanks to a perfect harmony.



Brunello Prime Donne selection was produced for the first time with the 1993 vintage.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini had just begun to design the company that bears her name and that is characterized by the two wineries– Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda – with an entirely female staff. The attention to the role of women in wine led Donatella to observe that  wine critics and curators of the Italian wine guides were, in 1998, all men.

She decided to reaffirm the importance of women’s taste in the choice of wine by creating the first Brunello selected from a feminine and international panel. The first group consisted of 4 tasters, the English Master of Wine Maureen Ashley, the German wine maker Astrid Schwarz, one of the best Italian sommeliers Daniela Scrobogna and the Italian-american Pr Marina Thompson.

Over the years, the group has changed to become the current one composed of two Masters of Wine, the English Rosemary George and the Swedish Madeleine Stenwreth, as well as Astrid Schwarz and Daniela Scrobogna.

A great Brunello 2013 riserva Casato Prime Donne

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


2013 harvest Annibale the dog

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.

The Brunello stars

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.