One of the original estates in Montalcino, Col d’Orcia is a traditional estate at the forefront of sustainable wine production in Tuscany. Situated at the southern extremity of the Montalcino DOCG at about 300 meters altitude, the winery’s name means “Hill overlooking the Orcia River”, refering to its situation between the river and Sant’Angelo in Colle.
Col d’Orcia is a large estate, the third largest in Brunello. Notwithstanding its evident size, it is run with artisanal care by its owner, Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, whose father bought the estate in 1973 from the Franceschi family, who still own the neighboring Il Poggione site.
The estate’s most famous wine is a single vineyard Poggio al Vento – meaning “windy hill” which is an extraordinarily beautiful seven-hectare vineyard planted in 1974. Bottled as a Riserva, this wine is only made separately in the best years. It is fermented in steel with a long maceration and subsequently aged in 25-75 Hectoliter Slavonian and Allier Botti for three years.
Vigna Nastagio – from a five hectare site in the upper part of the Orcia River basin with southwestern exposure – was planted in 2006 and is bottled as a cru with a more modern style. The wine ages in 500 L tonneau before being moved to botti for two years.
Fermentation of all the wines takes place in large, rather squat stainless steel fermenters, which allows for greater degree of skin contact. All the Brunellos – other than the Vigna Nastagio - then age 3 years in larger Savonian oak.
Dusty earth gives way to dried roses incense hints of cedar sage currants and black cherries in a display that makes the 2016 Col d'Orcia Brunello di Montalcino a very special experience. Itâ€™s nuanced and perfumed from start to finish boasting silky textures contrasted by tart berries and minerals but with sweet tannins that frame the expression perfectly. Its inner sweetness is balanced by bright acids creating an almost-juicy sensation right up until the moment you realize that your palate is aching with youthful tension. Thereâ€™s so much going on and much more to come making me wonder what the Poggio al Vento might offer in the 2016 vintage. For now that doesnâ€™t even matter because the 2015 Col d'Orcia impresses on nearly every level. (Drink between 2026-2038)
Made with certified organic fruit the Col d'Orcia 2017 Brunello di Montalcino definitely shows some of the heat of the vintage and I think this impression is reinforced by the location of this property on the southern side of the appellation where temperatures are normally a few degrees higher on average. The winemaking team at this historic estate is not deterred by hot vintages and their winemaking protocol captures the freshness and brightness of Sangiovese nonetheless. In fact the alcohol content here measured 14.5% which is almost contained compared to some other wines in this report from cooler subzones. A learned comfort with organic farming is key to this wine's detailed aromas of black cherry crushed rose and Mediterranean herb. Production is an ambitious 180000 bottles.
This red offers plenty of cherry strawberry wild thyme and sage flavors. Starts out on the elegant side before chewy tannins kick in and show a more robust character. Balanced and long with tobacco and earth accents on the finish. Best from 2025 through 2042. ?B.S.