2016 vintage of Il Drago e le 8 Colombe Super Tuscan
2016, another 5 star vintage, and finally one that is perfect for wines apt for long ageing. Il Drago e le 8 Colombe an auteur bottle for great wine lovers
In 2016 the vegetative cycle of the vines was very very long: the vines budded 15 days sooner than usual, but the harvest took place in October, as was usual traditionally. This was because the ripening of the grapes was gradual and slow: something rare during this era of climatic changes that gave great joy to the producers. In fact the ripening of the grape skin (poliphenolic) and that of the pulp (technological) went hand in hand and this circumstance always produces extremely elegant wines.
THE NAME IL DRAGO E LE 8 COLOMBE
This wine was born to celebrate the only man in Donatella Cinelli Colombini’s wineries, my husband Carlo Gardini. These wineries are the first in Italy to be all female staffed. But Carlo is however always present with his advice and his passion for great red wines, that sometimes, are completely different to those that I love.
THE STORY OF IL DRAGO E LE 8 COLOMBE
“Il Drago e le 8 Colombe” was originally “Il Drago e le 7 Colombe” and was renamed with the arrival of our consultant wine maker Valérie Lavigne. On that occasion the blend too was changed, today it is a 60% Sangiovese 20% Merlot and 20% Sagrantino. Three varieties that give different characteristic to the wine: the Sangiovese gives elegance, the Merlot pleasantness, and the Sagrantino increases the structure. All the grapes have been grown on the state, following the organic regime, and are picked, vinified and aged in barrel separately to be assembled before bottling.
This is a small production between 8,000-16,000 bottles per year, a masterpiece. Often this type of wine is called Super Tuscan because although it doesn’t belong to any appellation is aims at high quality, even though with freedom with respect to the rules that are enforced by the DOC appellations. For this reason Donatella Cinelli Colombini has inserted among the varieties for the Il Drago e Le 8 Colombe the Sagrantino, typical variety used in Umbria, its administrative boundary lines, end just about 10 km from the Fattoria del Colle vineyards.
Type: dry red.
Production area: Tuscany, Trequanda, Fattoria del Colle, 400 m above sea level on hilly land prevalently limestone, sandstone and sea sand.
Classification: IGT Toscana Rosso.
Vintage characteristics: Mild first 6 months of the year, but they were also rainy, in the Siena region the rainiest since 1916. The erratic climate disturbed the flowering and reduced the later grape production. For this reason the 2016 clusters were few and small, and the actual berries were small too. During the ripening period the cold nights and the sunny days (there was only on e big storm on September 18th) created the conditions for a slow and complete ripening.
Grape type: Sangiovese 60%, Merlot 20%, Sagrantino 20%.
Grape harvest: from September 5th to October 8th . The clusters were handpicked with a selection made in the vineyard, and the best grapes chosen in the cellar.
Vinification: in temperature controlled stainless steel vats.
Ageing: 18 months in large barrels and in French oak 5-7hl tonneaux.
Quantity produced: 16,000 bottles. This is in fact two vintages in one, there will be no 2017 because of the lack of Merlot grapes.
Colour: intense and brilliant ruby red. The wines shows its robust structure in the slow movements in the glass
Aroma: net, complex, and fine, full of hints of ripe red berries and exotic fruit, and with spicy components.
Taste: full, harmonious, silky. The acidic and tannic structure harmonizes with the richness in taste and concludes in a pleasant mood that lasts at length.
THE WINE AT THE TABLE
Matching dishes: extraordinarily versatile and multi ethnic, goes well with Chinese and Indian dishes as with the more traditional Tuscan roasts.
Way of serving: This is a wine for great occasions. Serve at room temperature (18-20°C) in clear crystal balloon shaped wine goblets.
Home ageing: apt for 25 years ageing and more. Keep the bottles lying down in a dark and cool place.