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.
IOsonoDonatella is a selection of only 1.000 bottles created by Donatella Cinelli Colombini for wine lovers who, like her, love a Brunello of great harmony and elegance.
The Brunello 2013 vintage started off with a low profile judged a 4 star vintage, but after the ageing in barrel has proven to be extraordinary in its complexity and finesse. In the IOsonoDonatella this characters show in its extraordinary elegance. This is in fact an exclusive “fine wine” apt for important occasion and as a gift, this wine is produced only during the best harvests and comes entirely from the Ardita vineyard. This is a plot of Sangiovese of about two hectares where the soil gives the grapes and wines an extraordinary finesse.
The IOsonoDonatella selection was created for the first time with the Brunello 2010 when Donatella Cinelli Colombini understood that her dream of making an exceptional Brunello had come true. A project that began in 1998 when she received from her mother Francesca, Casato Prime Donne on the Montalcino hill and began to renovate the winery. An impassioned grape grower’s dream that year after year has brought Donatella to obtain awards from all over the world
Cristina Cippitelli: the love for the soil comes from her grandparents in Gaeta but she has learned to taste in Boston and Toronto and now she has won a Master Sommelier scholarship
And I am not referring to the Alma-AIS institute title that a few years ago created reaction of indignation but I am talking of the Court of Master Sommeliers a fellowship born in 1969 that includes 240 members in USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, Germany, Holland and France. These are the top of the sommelerie: tasters, journalists, opinion makers, wine educators… these are competent professionals, of great talent and who have an enormous influence on the market.
Their president is the great Gerard Basset who is also a Master of Wine. But the Master Sommeliers are now rivals, for prestige and influence of the very powerful MWs, in fact in some cases they are even more powerful.
There is not one Italian among either the Masters of Wine or the Master Sommeliers.
A sign of provincialism that also surfaces in International competitions: when ther are Italians on the podium they work abroad , just like Paolo Basso. Also the young women who might become the first Italian Master Sommelier lives in Canada. Her name is Cristina Cippitelli, and she came to visit me at Fattoria del Colle , from Toronto where she works at the Air Canada Center while she is studying for the Wset diploma and for the Advanced Certificate for the Master Sommelier.
She is a lovely person and has a great story that I will tell you.
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.
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.
Women prefer blue, purple and green but not brown or gray. Men are attracted to blue, green and black, but avoid purple brown and orange.
Lets go back to the subject of messages given by colours so as to continue on the subject of wine packaging, started a while back
Below you will find an explanation regarding colours so that we may try to understand which are most apt for each type of wine
PURPLE: This expresses sadness. It must be used sparingly
BLUE: is a cold colour that expresses elegance and seduction but also solidity and because of this is chosen by many banks. It refers to an aristocratic and elite culture which is well associated with traditionally made wines produced in historic locations such as castles, villas or medieval hamlets. Better still if the wine as a male target.
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