Why Donatella Cinelli Colombini is Essential
Sangiovese claims more vineyard land than any other grape in Italy, but it reaches its apogee of concentration, aromatics, structure and age-worthiness in the wines hailing from Montalcino in Tuscany. Here, the clone of Sangiovese is known as Brunello, and wines under the Brunello di Montalcino DOCG are consistently priced at $100 and above, due to scarcity and demand.
Those economics have drawn their fair share of overly ambitious “projects” and point-chasing estates, to the point that disappointment in Montalcino (relative to what you paid out of pocket) is common. That makes the wines of Donatella Cinelli Colombini so invaluable: they’re priced modestly, and they consistently taste heavenly.
In the winery, large oak casks are used instead of small oak barriques, lending the wines a supple quality while all the lovely, complex details of Brunello are unmasked on the nose.
Donatella Cinelli Colombini deserves praise as well for supporting and fostering the career of female winemakers. It may seem rather stunning, but when the estate was established in 1998, Colombini inquired about a cellar master from the enology school in Siena. She was told that they only had female students available since many wineries didn't want to hire them. (That's right: 1998). She used the opportunity to make Casato Prime Donne — with its all-female staff ever since — an incubator of talent for the next generation of female Italian winemakers.