The protagonist of this wine story is a volcanic woman, proactive and full of ideas. She’s Donatella Cinelli Colombini, a great woman of Italian wine. Born in Siena and graduated in History of Medieval Art, in 1993 she founded the “Movimento del Turismo del Vino” (Wine Tourism Movement) and invented “Cantine aperte” (open wineries), the event that made wine tourism known in Italy.
Few years ago I had the pleasure to meet winegrower Andrea Cortonesi, the Uccelliera owner: I saw in him a strong determination and desire to improve his viticulture and his wines always and continuously. Currently can confirm it: he has achieved great results and never stops. Andrea Cortonesi is a forward-thinking and ambitious man.
“l became a farmer by deliberate personal choice – says -. Although I come from an agricultural family, I could have chosen a different path–until, in 1986, I purchased the Uccelliera farm”. Uccelliera means bird house.
The Salvionis make wine for three generations in Montalcino. Grandfather Umberto Salvioni, an agricultural doctor, made wine for friends. But the “family affair” was consolidated and strengthened through the work of all components: Giulio Salvioni, son of founder Umberto, with his wife Mirella, and theirs sons: David, graduated on Agriculture, and Alessia, working on marketing, sales and administration. All together with a unique goal: produce a limited amount of excellent wines.
The 2012 Brunello di Montalcino vintage has been rated five-stars (excellent quality) by the Consortium of Protection. The bottles of this vintage are currently on the market, and there is the embarrassment of choice: we are still drinking and appreciating the many, exciting chalices of the 2010 vintage – Brunello, is the best of the third millennium – that 2012 also reached levels of excellence thanks to wines that represent the perfect fusion of texture and balance to taste. Definately Brunello 2012, in general, can be described in two words: great quality.
The love for Brunello di Montalcino is unyielding: for us Italians is an unshakable certainty, considering it is our most famous and appreciated red wine (along with Barolo) all over the world. This type of wine has today reached full maturity of style thanks to its unquestionable quality, which reaches the highest levels. Among the many Brunello wines I have tasted, there is, however, one that I could define my “heart’s Brunello” simply because it was one of the first tastings of my sommelier course. It really was “love at first sip”, believe me!
The company is named after the Roman lawyer Gabriele Mastrojanni who, in 1975, bought the estates of San Pio and Loreto and therein planted the first vines. The vineyards are all about 40 years old and, to this day, they are still employed to produce wine. “A poor and virgin land, clean and unpolluted,” or so it was called back in the day. The hills are located between 180 and 440 meters above sea level and the Romea (Francigena), the ancient road used by pilgrims between France and Rome, cuts right through them.
The quirk of the Le Ragnaie winery is that a portion of its Sangiovese vineyards is located 600 meters above sea level, in the highest part of the Montalcino wine area. If you are curious to know why the winery is called The Ragnaie, it is, very simply, because it was named after the area where the heart of the company lies.
Le Ragnaie covers an area of 28 hectares. The land is cultivated with vineyards and olive groves, according to the organic farming model.
Among the many excellent Brunellos I have tasted over the years, there’s one that has positively impressed me for its authentic “slow” style and respect for tradition. Its name is Brunello di Montalcino Gorelli 2012 Le Potazzine.
After that glowing introduction, I guess I should regale you with the brief story of a young winery, owned by Giuseppe Gorelli and his wife Gigliola Giannetti, who now run a winemaking business along with their daughters Viola and Sofia, while still being respectful of the Brunello di Montalcino tradition.
The first Brunello di Montalcino I’m going to present on this blog is one I’ve already tasted on two different occasions, months apart, and both times I was left simply astounded. The first time was last February, as part of “Benvenuto Brunello”, a preview of the new vintages of this extraordinary wine that takes place each year in Montalcino. I assume by now you’ve all heard of Montalcino, the historic town in the Siena province known worldwide precisely for its excellent red wine of Controlled and Guaranteed Denomination of Origin.