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DONATELLA TALKS ABOUT HER TWO WINERIES

Two wineries with a single Tuscan soul and the feminine dream of qualitative excellence.  Casato Prime Donne winery in Montalcino and Fattoria del Colle in Trequanda

 

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini #winedestination

 

Fattoria del Colle Trequanda

Fattoria del Colle Trequanda

The Casato farm already belonged to my ancestors in 1592. Over the centuries they used it for hunting and for honeymoons. Today the property seems close to the town of Montalcino in a northerly direction, towards Siena, but at that time it appeared remote and in the middle of the woods suitable for solitary intimacy. More recently the Casato belonged to my grandmother Giuliana Tamanti Colombini, then to my mother Francesca and in the future, it will go to my daughter Violante. All women for a winery which is the first in Italy with an entirely female staff and has been renamed “Casato Prime Donne”.

 

 

CASATO PRIME DONNE IN MONTALCINO

In 1998, when my mother gave it to me, Casato was almost a ruin. In 25 years, it has changed into an estate capable of exporting to 44 countries around the world with around 17 hectares (out of a total area of ​​40) of organic Sangiovese vineyards cultivated with obsessive care. I am a traditionalist, a nature lover but also a non-conformist and rather rebellious. For this reason, in my first years alone, I looked for new and different solutions, then I returned to being the paladin of everything ancient and manual with roots proudly in the earth. My Brunellos stand out for their harmonious and certainly feminine elegance.

WHO WE WERE, WHO WE ARE AND WHO WE WILL BE

The dream of producing great wines comes true. Donatella Cinelli Colombini tells of the difficult beginning and the slow creation of a brand with a strong identity

 

2002 Casato-Prime -Donne-Montalcino-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-in-the-cellar

2002 Casato-Prime -Donne-Montalcino-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini-in-the-cellar

1998-2002 HEROIC YEARS

20 hectares of old vineyard and 5 hectares of new planting on an excavation that unfortunately will have many problems and a short life.

There are no cellars and the wine is held part at the Fattoria dei Barbi and part of it in spaces rented from producer friends.

The production of wine begins with a “dowry” of the future Brunello 1993, 94, 95, 96 and 97

The “Donatella Cinelli Colombini” brand is created, along with the logo and labels of the first wines. The Prime Donne project is born with the winery managed by a female staff, the Brunello selected by a group of female tasters and the Casato Prime Donne award dedicated to the new female role in society and work.

In 2001 the winery of the Fattoria del Colle was inaugurated

In 2002 the Casato Prime Donne winery was inaugurated

Planting of the new vineyards begins: Cenerentola and Pieve at Fattoria del Colle, Ardita and Pero at Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino

Experimentation of the native Foglia Tonda vine starting from 400 grafts from the vitarium of the Regione Toscana

The vines are cultivated in a conventional way, in the cellar there are barrels and barriques. The oenologists are initially Luigino Casagrande and then Fabrizio Ciufoli.

 

Cenerentola Orcia Doc 2018

First certified BIO organic vintage of Doc Orcia Cenerentola for a year of giant stature. An intense, complex, velvety and impressive wine like a thick silk velvet, which reveals a superior consistency to the touch

 

Toscana-Orcia-Doc-Cenerentola-2018-Fattoria-del-Colle-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

Toscana-Orcia-Doc-Cenerentola-2018-Fattoria-del-Colle-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

A surprising result in a surprising year that asked the winemakers for  all their commitment. In spring they also worked on Sundays to keep the grapes healthy from the attacks of downy mildew triggered by the alternation between  rain and very hot days. Even the flowering was disturbed by the perturbations causing the reduction in the size and number of the clusters.

 

THE CRAZY CLIMATE OF 2018 A YEAR OF INCESSIVE RAIN

The number of rainy days in 2018 is impressive: 16 in January, 16 in February, 20 in March, 11 in April and 18 in May. The amount of rain was also impressive. At the end of May, the Fattoria del Colle was also hit by a “water bomb” which flooded the historic cellar where the barrels are located. After mid-August, an icy perturbation arrived that whitened the mountains and stiffened the cells of the grape skins.

 

2018 VINTAGE BLESSED BY THE SUN OF SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER

Meteorologists had predicted a sunny September but after a summer with an umbrella no one believed them.

Grape-Harvest-2018-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

Grape-Harvest-2018-Donatella-Cinelli-Colombini

Instead the sun came, giving a helping hand to the harvest. The vines were de-leafed in the “old way” and the calibre of the berries returned to normal and the accumulation of sugar gradually increased.
In Donatella Cinelli Colombini‘s vineyards we bet on the sun and decided to do a harvest like our “grandparents, as was the custom 50 years ago. We picked the least promising grapes first, leaving the best in the sun as long as possible. A heart-pounding situation because of the adverse weather forecasts which, fortunately, turned out to be wrong. The harvest proceeded in the sun. The rain came the day after the harvest ended. The quality of Cinderella 2018 is in our winemaker courage.

 

Cenerentola Doc Orcia has succeeded in a divine way

The Doc Orcia Cenerentola 2017 has just received 92/100 from the Wine Spectator confirming a quality that remains very high every year

 

Cenerentola-doc-Orcia-2016

Cenerentola-doc-Orcia-2016

By Donatella Cinelli Colombni

It is always difficult to go over the 90/100 mark in the international press when the wine is from an emerging denomination. But it is even more difficult to get the wine tasted often and that it maintains, year after year, very high scores.

 

THE DOC ORCIA CENERENTOLA PRIZE LIST

Cenerentola Doc Orcia has succeeded.

From the 2010 harvest to today it has obtained stellar scores from Wine Spectator: vintage 2010 91/100, vintage 2013 90/100, vintage 2016 93/100, and vintage 2017 92/100.

Cenerentola-Doc-Orcia-92/100-Wine-Spectator

Cenerentola-Doc-Orcia-92/100-Wine-Spectator

To this are added very positive ratings from Robert Parker-Wine Advocate, James Suckling, and Wine Enthusiast for a total of 10 reviews above 90 points in the last 5 vintages produced.

An amazing prize list for a wine of a denomination born in 2000 and still very small in size, such as the Doc Orcia, on which to attract the attention of critics is very difficult. It is an amazing result especially because the blend is brand new and combines Sangiovese with a minor native vine – the Foglia Tonda – resurrected from oblivion that was a century long.

The blend is different from the two grapes tasted in purity: making a comparison with fashion, the elegant and vertical prince grape of Tuscany makes you think of an Armani dress, while the Foglia Tonda, powerful and exuberant, recalls Cavalli or Dolce and Gabbana.

 

Cenerentola Orcia Doc 2017 DONATELLA CINELLI COLOMBINI

2017: the most Mediterranean harvest ever in Tuscany that has produced very sensual wines that are warm, powerful and able to give their best in youth, Cenerentola Doc Orcia is one of these.

 

THE 2017 CENERENTOLA DOC ORCIA HARVEST

Cenerentola-DOC-Orcia-Sangiovese-and-Foglia-Tonda-grapes-variety

Cenerentola-DOC-Orcia-Sangiovese-and-Foglia-Tonda-grapes-variety

This wine comes from the maddest vintage since the beginning of the century: at the end of April there was a spring frost that hit the whole of Europe. Our hills remained miraculously unharmed while in Spain or Sicily the young buds on the vines were burned.
But another danger was in stall: after a winter with few showers an African summer began, that at the beginning of August made the thermometers rise to 40°C. Bushes, hedges, streams without water and hoards of thirsty wild boar that ate the grapes still unripe to quench their thirst.
Those, who like us, practice an organic regime in agriculture, have had less problems of hydro stress in the vineyards because the vines, solicited to react spontaneously to the climate, have maintained an equilibrium abandoning part of the clusters that remained green and were later removed.
At the end the 2017 harvest has been the scarcest ever.
While the Sangiovese, main Tuscan variety, has suffered thirst and heat, the Foglia Tonda a local rare variety, carried out one of its best performances.

 

CINDERELLA FROM THE FAIRYTALE TO THE WINE

However there is a reason for this funny name, it is the similarity between the Cinderella fairytale and the Orcia Doc wine region. This appellation was born in 2000 among the high hills between the Brunello di Montalcino and Nobile di Montalcino wine regions. It would seem an adverse situation with two stepsisters who are older and more famous and who get invited to royal banquets, while the young Orcia DOC gets ignored. But this situation is one that also incites to combactivity and creativity.
So , in conclusion, with a lot of courage and a pinch of magic the Doc Orcia region challenges the sisters.

2020 Grape harvest is heading towards another 5-star double-win

2019 and 2020 grape harvest, like identical twins, but different: both worthy of the highest rating but also to be understood in their diversity like 2015 – 2016

 

Brunello-2020-Grape-Harvest-Casato-Prime-Donne-the-two-young-winemakers-Giada-and-Sabrina

Brunello-2020-Grape-Harvest-Casato-Prime-Donne-the-two-young-winemakers-Giada-and-Sabrina

by Donatella Cinelli Colombini

It is always difficult to shine next to a great star: it will be difficult for those running 100 meters after Usain Bolt, it has been difficult for all mathematicians after Albert Einstein and it is difficult for all entrepreneurs comparing with Jeff Bezos from Amazon.

It will be the same for the 2020 vintage. It cannot shine after a masterpiece of a vintage like 2019 even though it is one of the best vintages picked during the last 20 years, without doubt worthy of the 5 stars given to the best vintages in Montalcino.

 

THE 2020 COVID GRAPE HARVEST

Let’s go in order, by telling you in detail the harvest in the Covid year. The first with facemasks and the necessity to keep at a distance however had had contact, even indirectly with those found positive. It has been terrible to say to two grape pickers to because their kids class was in quarantine <<go home and you can’t come back until you have a negative swab>> and it has been difficult to say to our consultant wine maker Valérie Lavigne << if you cannot have a swab done before leaving France you must renounce in coming>>. The risk of contagion has created as lot of worry, many problems and however a much less joyous atmosphere than usual.

 

CLIMATE: 2020 GRAPE HARVEST FROM VERY DRY TO VERY RAINY

2020-Grape-Harvest-Montalcino-Casato-Prime-Donne-Violante-and-Enrico

2020-Grape-Harvest-Montalcino-Casato-Prime-Donne-Violante-and-Enrico

There has been a frost during the budding (18-23) at the end of March. To begin with the vineyards seemed unharmed but then we saw that the grapes were decidedly less than usual.
The winter has been very mild and dry. In spring we underwent an attack of powdery mildew in the Fattoria del Colle vineyards and the tractor drivers had to get up really early to spray the vineyards with sulphur before dawn.

In June finally the rainfalls arrived, a really rainy month. The torrid summer began halfway through July and lasted until halfway through September practically without rain except for a nice rainfall at the end of August. Luckily the difference in day and night temperatures has always been great.
The veraison took place at the end of July and the last phase of the grape ripening took place in the heat, especially in September when the daytime temperatures stayed over 32°C. The vineyards were not de-leafed so as to protect the grapes from the sun that did however do some harm.
The problem has been that the rainfall arrived exactly during harvest time and the constant risk of rain forced the grape pickers to an accelerated job, with great anxiety and an occasional prayer.

 

Cenerentola Doc Orcia, a wine with a crown

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.

Foglia-tonda-donatella-cinelli-colombini-225x300

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.