Zoom in on Col d’Orcias Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino

Lights, camera, action. The count’s wine tasting is done online

High school students are shut out of school and taught via Teams or Skype. Offices echo empty and meetings take place between adults in the same way as children’s teaching. Oenoforos, the big importer, refuses to sit still and arranges an enriching tasting with Count Francesco Marone Cinzano who entertains us via a link from Tuscany in Italy.

It is said that necessity is the mother of invention but this might be something new only for our children. Corona may have put us in enforced quarantine, but the first remote wine tasting was with Carl Jan Granqvist, the legendary Swedish restaurateur, who conducted it in 1983. Swedish Television was brave enough to broadcast the television series Living the Life where two precocious gentlemen poured eloquent wine vocabulary into the glasses. Twenty-seven years later, Alf Tumble, a modern-day wine writer, conducted the first Twitter tasting. Everyone bought the same bottles, logged into Twitter and enjoyed the community. When the corona struck, Daniella Lundh Egenäs tasted wine in the same way via the wine app Vinos’ Facebook page. Now it is the importer Oenoforos who is tired of cancelled tastings and connects an eloquent count on a screen. We must pour the wine ourselves.

Francesco Marone Cinzano from Col d’Orcia doing an online tasting

Francesco Marone Cinzano from Col d’Orcia doing an online tasting, copyright SO Johansson & T Eriksson

The count is Francesco Marone Cinzano from Col d ‘Orcia, who in Sweden is a well-distributed producer of Brunello di Montalcino. In times when travelling was easier, Col d’Orcia has also been well-visited by wine tourists.

First out of the three wines is Rosso di Montalcino 2018 (SEK 149/~15 euro at Systembolaget). The nose is dominated by berries and cherries and also shows some floral tones. The palate continues with the same flavours in combination with a distinct acidity, some tannins, good freshness and a long aftertaste. The profile can be described as a little warm, so even if the wine is young it is reasonably open and drinkable already. 88 points.

Rosso is a sangiovese that spends a year in large oak barrels before bottling. 2018 followed on to the vintage of 2016, no 2017 was made.

Big botti in the cellar of Col d'Orcia, Montalcino, Tuscany

Big botti in the cellar of Col d’Orcia, Montalcino, Tuscany, copyright BKWine Photography

This was followed by the estate’s main product, Brunello di Montalcino 2015 (SEK 289/~29 euro). Although the grape variety and region are the same, this shows darker aromas than in the Rosso. We are greeted by a lovely nose with dark cherries, some chocolate, spices and beginning maturity. In the taste, we find dark cherries, good concentration of fruit, good acidity, clear but nicely embedded tannins. This wine also has a slight warm-vintage profile and is reasonably mature already, 90(+) points.

We then tried the same wine in magnum, though two years older, Brunello di Montalcino 2013 (SEK 619/~62 euro for a magnum). This wine has a little less dark tones than the 2015 and shows a cooler profile. On the nose, there are also cherries, floral tones and some dry minerality. On the palate, slightly more than medium-bodied, we find cherries, clear acidity, quite distinct tannins with good grip (more than in the 2015) and a long aftertaste. A wine with a classic profile and long development potential, but currently a little tougher in the tannins than the 2015, at least on magnum. 90+ points.

Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso

Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso, copyright SO Johansson & T Eriksson

The Brunello di Montalcino spends three years in large oak barrels before bottling. 2015 is a relatively accessible vintage that can be drunk earlier than a typical Brunello. In the next vintage, 2016, we can expect a more classic wine. 2017 was a dry and warm vintage and has provided wines with highly structured tannins that will take some time to mature.

With a little luck and general care, borders will be opened, guests will take their seats in the restaurants and thirsty people crowd side by side at the bar. But until then, many of the smaller producers who have lived from direct sales to the restaurants have had a very tough time. Have you even considered bringing a bag-in-box with you to the countryside, now you should dismiss that idea. This summer, we suggest you spend a few extra euros on wine purchases from well-selected producers.

—Tomas Eriksson and Sven-Olof Johansson

Sven-Olof Johansson is a wine enthusiast in Stockholm with a long history of wine tasting experiences.

Tomas Eriksson is active in the wine tasting association AuZone in Stockholm and in Munskänkarna, where he sometimes holds wine courses. Tomas also runs a blog called Vintomas.

Montalcino is a beautiful area to visit in Tuscany. If you want to truly experience its gastronomy and the brunello di montalcino wines you can join a wine tour to Tuscany with BKWine.

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This post is also available in: Swedish

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