Col d’Orcia is one of the most famous vineyards in the Montalcino area in Tuscany, famous for its Brunello di Montalcino
Tenuta Col D’Orcia is a giant compared to many other producers of Brunello around the village of Montalcino. Mostly, the more than two hundred wine growers in the area have just a few acres of land available so the Col D’Orcia, with its one hundred and forty hectares are without a doubt one of the largest farms in the area.
The owner, Francesco Marone Cinzano, belonging to the family Cinzano producing vermouth, runs the farm since 1991 but the property is owned by the family since 1973. They have made some big investments in research and development that include projects with the Universities of Milan and Florence. One of the projects works on the development of new clones of sangiovese. “Large farm” need not always to be equivalent to “mass production without character.” At any rate, not in this case.
The most widely planted grape variety is sangiovese grosso (also known as brunello) and it is not surprising since Brunello wines must include one hundred percent of that grape. Col D’Orcia, however, grows not only sangiovese but also cultivates other red grapes, but on a smaller scale, such as merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah.
You can also find green grapes such as chardonnay, pinot grigio (pinot gris) and the grape moscadello (the local name for the white muscat) that gives the local dessert wine with the same name.
The farm is located south of the small town of Montalcino at about 450 meters altitude on a very good spot for viticulture. Vineyards are protected by the no longer active volcano Monte Amiata, which proudly shows its 1750 meters of height. Another positive phenomenon is the warm sea breezes from the Tyrrhenian Sea, which lies thirty-five km away.
The river Orcia also helps keeping the wind warm and these special circumstances make it almost always possible to avoid hail and frost, and other adverse weather events that can befall unlucky wine producers.
Wines we tasted
The wines we tried from the farm is the flagship Poggio al Vento Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 DOCG and Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2009 with the name Banditella.
Poggio al Vento, Brunello di Montalcino Riserva 2004 DOCG.
That Poggio al Vento is the flagship of the Col d’Orcia, you understand directly. This is a great Brunello to bring out at important occasions and to share with anyone who appreciates great wines. The scent has black fruits like black currant and blackberry. You also feel a hint of leather. The taste is elegant, full bodied and tannins are well rounded at this point. The wine was stored in large botti (big casks), for four years and then two years in bottle. The after-taste remains for quite a while and even though it is already has some years of age it still shows an impressive freshness. A really good wine!
Approximate price: euro 70
Banditella Rosso di Montalcino DOC 2009
This is a simpler wine than Brunello and is worth the about fifteen euro that is the approximate price. Banditella is the ideal wine for those who appreciate wines that have aged in barrique (small casks) that round out the otherwise crisp and tart elements coming from the character of the sangiovese grape.
Banditella has a deep ruby red colour. The scent is elegant and you feel red fruit, cherry and even some green aromas like grass and even an earthy tone appears. Taste-wise there are no harsh tannins. On the contrary, the taste is more on the round and smooth style. You can feel the vanilla from the barrels, not in an exaggerated way, but it is there. Banditella is aged in barrique and tonneaux for about a year.
Personally, I prefer the more traditional Rosso di Montalcino with more harsh tannins and more fruit, but as I said, it is an inexpensive wine well worth its price and perfect for those who prefer the softer version of sangiovese.
Approximate price: euro 15
Tenuta Col d’Orcia’s web site: : www.coldorcia.it
The comments are based on samples sent to us from vineyard.
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