In a region as diverse, ancient and historical as Tuscany, it seems odd to talk about fashionable trends or new, burgeoning wine producing areas. As the late 1990’s steam rolled into the next decade, it seemed every winery in Tuscany was rushing to acquire land, plant vineyards and build sleek, modern cellars in the Maremma (Grosseto) and the Alta Maremma (Castagneto Carducci). The migration to Maremma continues but there is another region that is beginning to garner increased attention. A region with excellent soils and exposure, but one with a small scattering of tiny artisan producers who craft wine in quantities to small for mass export. That said, they represent excellent QPR and are worth the search. The region? Orcia DOC.
I’ve discussed Orcia DOC before during my Feature on Marco Capitoni and his lovely wines. Marco’s wines see very limited exportation outside of the EU but today, we’re discussing another estate that has broader international availability. Fattoria del Colle is owned by Brunello producer Donatella Cinelli Colombini and is located in Trequanda in the Orcia DOC zone.
Inherited in 1998, the farm was originally devoted to cereals, crops and grains but slowly was converted to a wine estate which has since become organically certified as of 2014. Recently, I had the opportunity to privately taste through a range of the estate’s wines with proprietor Violante Gardini and while future articles will highlight many of them, this review spotlights the one that I got most excited about.
I love Vin Santo. In fact, I enjoy it so much so that I will repeat it. I love Vin Santo. Yet I can count on one hand, and have fingers leftover to spare, the number of amazing, compelling Vin Santo that I have tasted. There’s Avignonesi, who sits alone like Michael Jordan, and then there’s a gap. A large gap. On the other side of the chasm sits Capezzana and Isole e Olena at the next level and that’s essentially it. Until I tasted the subject of today’s review.
The 2006 Fattoria del Colle Vin Santo is produced from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes using traditional, time honored methods. The grapes are harvested and then left to dry in ventilated rooms until January when they are pressed and the aged in caratelli, small oak and chestnut barrels of 50-200 hectoliters. Aging lasts at least 6 years and often closer to 10.
The 2006 is the latest version released. Golden amber in color, the nose is complex with a myriad of aromas including honey, caramel, toasted almond, brown sugar, maple syrup and orange peel. It’s drop dead gorgeous to smell. On the palate, the wine is viscous and full bodied with wonderful texture that coats the palate without being heavy or cloying. The acids and the orange zest flavors provide lift and vitality to the maple, brown sugar, almond, and caramel flavors. Sweet, lively, and intense, the finish goes on for minutes. This is the perfect end to a meal whether sipped alone or paired alongside biscotti, roasted nuts, Torta della Nonna or something similar. 96 points. Packaged in 500ml bottles. About $70. Worth it. Grab about to enjoy over Christmas. As Vin Santo is already oxidized by nature, you can store this bottle in the refrigerator for at least a month without any degradation. Though I challenge you to see if it will last that long. Salute! Find this wine.
Over the next few weeks, there will be more coverage coming from the Orcia DOC and from Fattoria del Colle. Stay tuned!