**This article first appeared in Santé Magazine May 2023**
Col d’Orcia – Defining Italy’s Most Prestigious Wine Region
Col d’Orcia is one of the original estates of Montalcino and now the largest certified organic estate in Tuscany. The estate has a long and rich history that dates back to the 1700s. Located on the outskirts of the medieval village of Montalcino, Col d’Orcia’s name translates to “the hill overlooking the Orcia River,” due to its position in the undulating hills between the Orcia River and Sant’Angelo in Colle.
The Cinzano family of Piedmont purchased the property in 1973 and today is run by the very passionate and charismatic Count Francesco Marone Cinzano. His mission is to produce the best wines from the hills of Montalcino. Under his leadership, plantings have expanded exponentially at Col d’Orcia and the estate has been transformed into an organic farm. Tradition, integrity, and sustainability are the pillars of the estate, whose classic-style wines are marked by balance and elegance.
The estate is located in a very special area of Montalcino in a natural park that is a UNESCO site. The entire estate includes vineyards, gardens, olive groves, tobacco farms and wheat fields, which are all farmed following exclusively organic agricultural practices. The Count is a champion of biodiversity and 10 years ago, he decides to transform Col d’Orcia into a fully organic farm. He is passionately dedicated to protecting this very special environment for future generations.
Col d’Orcia – Unique Terroir
Col d’Orcia lies on the southern slope of Montalcino, within the Orcia Valley. The estate is ideally positioned against Mount Amiata, which helps protect against floods and hail. The Tyrrhenian Sea to the west moderates the climate and provides refreshing breezes, which wick away moisture in the air. The terroir is a very special soil, of clay and sand comprised of different geological times. The soils have high-level limestone which is an essential element for Sangiovese.
Top Vintages Of The Estate’s Renowned Brunellos
The Count is passionate and tirelessly dedicated to promoting Montalcino and the wines of Col d’Orcia. Attention to detail is important at every step to deliver wines of the highest quality. The wines of Col d’Orcia are superbly handcrafted wines. The combination of terroir, soil, unique positioning of vineyards and biodynamic farming all translate into incredible Brunellos from the Col d’Orcia. The wines of Col d’Orcia will captivate all Brunello lovers. These three wines are only a small representation of the exceptional wines from this iconic estate.
“Poggio al Vento” Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2015 – A Stellar 5-Star Vintage
This very special plot was planted in 1974, the single vineyard Poggio al Vento – meaning “windy hill”- lies 1150 feet above sea level. Demarcated for its exceptional quality, this reserva wine is produced only in the best vintages and is the icon of the estate.
This exceptional reserva wine has notes of black fruits, jam, and toasted spice. Expressive, complex, powerful and elegant, it has a soft yet firm tannic structure that is textured on the palate. This is a wine of great balance with a long-lasting finish. A wine that impresses at every level.
Brunello di Montalcino “Nastagio” DOCG 2016 – Another Stellar Vintage
Nastagio is a 12-acre single vineyard within the Col d’Orcia estate, with Southwest exposure. First planted in 2006, it is composed entirely of Sangiovese clones specially selected from research work in partnership with the University of Florence. Produced using some elements of both traditional and modern Brunello production.
The Nastagio is intense and complex, with rich aromas of red fruit, spice, and vanilla. This wine has excellent structure, with evident soft and ripe tannins. The perfect balance between acidity and the tannic texture is noticeable. The finish is long, savory and very persistent. This wine is a show-stopper with its polished tannins and silky texture.
Brunello di Montalcino DOCG 2017
The 2017 season saw two challenging climatic occurrences: a drought and a heat wave. 2016 ended very dry, which was exacerbated by a very hot summer the next year. A rainstorm in mid-August, and the ensuing lower temperatures at night, allowed the vineyard to ripen with a limited production, thus delivering healthy grapes with considerable complexity in terms of aromas, elegant tannins and excellent natural acidity.
Pleasant fruity notes of black cherry and jam, followed by the classic hints of spices and vanilla. The profile is warm, with ripe and clear tannins. Intense and persistent, leading to a long finish. This Brunello is ready to drink right out of the gate with its richness and sensuality.
**Photos Courtesy Col d’Orcia**