Col d’Orcia is an important winery located on the southern side of the Municipality of Montalcino, with a history dating back to the late nineteenth century. In 1890, in fact, the Franceschi family, who were native of Florence, bought the winery and gave new impetus to the already established production of Brunello. The next milestone of the winery’s history happened in 1973, when the Piedmontese Cinzano took over the winery. Today Col d’Orcia is the third largest producer in volume of the whole denomination, the first in Tuscany for vineyards size according to the criteria of organic farming, introduced in 2010.
The land covers 540 hectares, of which at the moment just under 150 hectares are vineyards and 108 of them producing grapes for Brunello. The Poggio al Vento vineyard is in the heart of the estate at 350 meters above sea level, about thirty kilometers from the Tyrrhenian Sea, protected by Mount Amiata and facing the river Orcia. The windy and Mediterranean climate and the calcareous-marly soil, rich in skeleton favor the production of the highest quality grapes used for Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al Vento Riserva, produced only in the best vintages, that is the subject of our story.
In the cellar healthy grapes rich in color and tannins arrive; they are only manually harvested and are carefully selected. Thus, the yield does not exceed 50-55 quintals per hectare. The grapes are crushed and the fermentation follows with maceration on the skins in 50 and 60 hectoliter steel tanks, at a controlled temperature of 28 ° C. During maceration that lasts for 20-25 days, daily pumping over and long délestages are performed to facilitate the extraction of polyphenols. After fermentation, malolactic fermentation takes place in concrete tanks. After that, racking the wine moves to Slavonian barrels and French oak barriques, where it can age for up to four years, and completes the aging in the bottle.
I will now tell you about the vertical.
Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al Vento Riserva 2015
The winter was not very rainy and with low temperatures in January and February. The rainfall in spring was average for the seasonal and allowed water storage in the soil that was useful to face the hot summer months. September was mild, with adequate diurnal range, that allowed the perfect ripening of the grapes.
The wine is concentrated ruby in colour. On the nose, it is complex and intense, and it shows aromas of violet and small black fruit notes of blueberry and blackberry, some of them evolving into in blueberry and blackberry jam, then followed by spicy hints of cloves and toast, with leather and cinchona on the finish. In the mouth, it is powerful and at the same time elegant with crunchy tannins and high acidity that binds to the roundness and high alcohol. The wine is of great structure with a long finish of fruity notes.
Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al Vento Riserva 2010
The climatic conditions of the vintage were very favorable to obtaining ripe grapes. After a spring with adequate level of rainfall, the summer was warm and dry with temperatures which were never too high. September was ideal, with high diurnal range, that allowed optimal ripening.
The wine is intense ruby in colour withgarnet glows. On the nose, it is very elegant and complex with well-defined aromas. It has the typical fruity aroma of Sangiovese such as blackberry, sour cherry jam, integrated with hints of forest floor and sweet spices due to the long time spent in barrels. In the mouth, the wine is powerful and harmonious and it is characterised by a mature tannin, integrated with a pleasant and enveloping acidity. The finish is long with a fruity and balsamic aftertaste.
Brunello di Montalcino Poggio al Vento Riserva 1995
This vintage was characterised by very favourable weather. After a spring with adequate rainfall levels, the summer was hot with temperatures which were never too high during the month of August. The weather conditions were ideal during harvest, which took place later compared to the previous years, producing perfectly ripe grapes. Excellent results were achieved during the production phases in the cellar.
This wine is thick garnet in colour, which slightly fades on the rim of the glass. On the nose, it is pronounced and complex. The aromas of sweet spice are immediately perceivable and are followed by darker ones of “goudron”, licorice, mushrooms, chocolate and delicate hint of tobacco. Then floral characteristics emerge, with fruity aromas of sour cherry and herbal notes on the finish. In the mouth it is overwhelming, powerful and characterised by great elegance, smooth tannins and a mellow softness. This incredible almost thirty-year-old wine surprises with some tertiary characteristics that then start to emerge. The finish is long with an aftertaste of spicy and herbal tones.
This wine has a pedigree and it is produced by a winery that I had the honor to visit, even if it was twenty years ago. The 1995 vintage is stunning and surprising for his youth, but all the samples proved to be at the highest level of quality in their different expressions.