Donatella Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino 2015
Ruby red color with a nose rich in spices with hints of vanilla and nuances of ripe berries. Elegant and harmonious palate with good tannins.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Complex and harmonious, this red evokes cherry, plum, earth, tar and wild herb flavors. Bright and solidly built, with a long finish echoing fruit, mineral and underbrush notes. Best from 2023 through 2042.
At 225 metres above sea level, Donatella Cinelli Colombini's 40ha Montalcino estate sits in the cool, northern reaches of the region. Called Casato Prime Donna, it is operated entirely by women at all levels of production. The 2015 is certainly the most refined vintage of this wine that I have tasted from the property. It is fresh and bright with enthralling herb, violet and cherry nuances. But it doesn't give everything up all at once: iron notes come out on the palate and powdery tannins brace the compact core. Lovely, lively finish. Drinking Window 2021 - 2031
Violet, wild berry, face powder and a whiff of eucalyptus are front and center on this fragrant red. It’s elegant and linear, offering ripe Marasca cherry, licorice and dried mint framed in lithe polished tannins. It’s already accessible but will also offer several more years of sipping pleasure. Drink through 2027
Donatella Cinelli Colombini owns two wineries, one in Montalcino and one in Trequanda in the Chianti and DOC Orcia regions. Casato Prime Donne in Montalcino is a property of 40 hectares of which 16 hectares include Sangiovese vineyards and the winery and cellar.
At Donatella Cinelli Colombini all the vintners are women, as is the head winemaker, which is a unique situation in Italy and a beacon of progress for women in the wine business in general. Donatella herself was approached by the EU to research the use of native yeast strains in Montalcino. As a result of her work, these local yeasts are now used in the winemaking process at Donatella Cinelli Colombini and are available to use throughout Montalcino.
In the vineyard, Donatella Cinelli Colombini has been cultivating her grapes with organic methods since 2014 and will soon be receiving organic certification. In addition, she has made some recent upgrades at the winery including the use of cement tanks for fermentation. Instead of barriques in the cellar, Donatella Cinelli Colombini chooses to age her Brunelli for at least two years in 500-litre tonneaux and then decants the wine into 15hl casks for further aging. Finally the wine will rest in bottle, which is essential for developing aromatic fullness. The distinctive element of Donatella's wines is their elegance.
Donatella's wines have been widely praised by the press, especially in recent vintages. In 2016, she was one of four Brunello producers chosen to present at Wine Spectator's New York Wine Experience and in the same year Merano Wine Festival gave gold medals to the 2012 vintage of both Donatella's Brunello and Brunello Progetto Prime Donne.
Famous for its bold, layered and long-lived red, Brunello di Montalcino, the town of Montalcino is about 70 miles south of Florence, and has a warmer and drier climate than that of its neighbor, Chianti. The Sangiovese grape is king here, as it is in Chianti, but Montalcino has its own clone called Brunello.
The Brunello vineyards of Montalcino blanket the rolling hills surrounding the village and fan out at various elevations, creating the potential for Brunello wines expressing different styles. From the valleys, where deeper deposits of clay are found, come wines typically bolder, more concentrated and rich in opulent black fruit. The hillside vineyards produce wines more concentrated in red fruits and floral aromas; these sites reach up to over 1,600 feet and have shallow soils of rocks and shale.
Brunello di Montalcino by law must be aged a minimum of four years, including two years in barrel before realease and once released, typically needs more time in bottle for its drinking potential to be fully reached. The good news is that Montalcino makes a “baby brother” version. The wines called Rosso di Montalcino are often made from younger vines, aged for about a year before release, offer extraordinary values and are ready to drink young.
Among Italy's elite red grape varieties, Sangiovese has the perfect intersection of bright red fruit and savory earthiness and is responsible for the best red wines of Tuscany. While it is best known as the chief component of Chianti, it is also the main grape in Vino Nobile di Montepulciano and reaches the height of its power and intensity in the complex, long-lived Brunello di Montalcino. Somm Secret—Sangiovese doubles under the alias, Nielluccio, on the French island of Corsica where it produces distinctly floral and refreshing reds and rosés.