Col d’Orcia winery and charm of its history

Some of the most exciting aspects of the food and wine business are the research and knowledge of the enormous quality offer that our country reserves. Our region is no exception and in every corner of its territory, from lush sea to the fresh Apennines, we can find producers of excellence, artisans of taste, and often, very often, discover fascinating stories.

We are in the homeland of Moscadello, Brunello, Rosso, we are in Montalcino land, where history and the centuries-old traditions have become a common heritage.

Marone Cinzano family has owned the estate since 1973, when on 29 November Stefano Franceschi sold it to Conte Alberto. In 1992, the Tenuta Col d'Orcia became the property of Conte Francesco Marone Cinzano.

The estate lies at the foot of the hills that slope down from Sant'Angelo in Colle towards the Orcia valley, from which it takes its name. In those territories, under the superb gaze of Monte Amiata, archaeological excavations, with the discovery of some Kàntaros - the typical wine glass - have confirmed that vines have been cultivated since the time of the Etruscans. Since then, a land dedicated to viticulture has never lost this mission, which has developed more and more over the centuries.

From the official website of the Tenuta Col d'Orcia

"(…) The estate's modern-day lineage goes back to at least 1890 when records show the Franceschi family of Florence purchased the property, then known as Fattoria di Sant'Angelo in Colle. As early as 1933 Fattoria di Sant'Angelo in Colle presented its Brunelli at the Wine Exhibition of Siena, one of the first trade shows in Italy, decades before Brunello would become a prized, world-class wine.

Brothers Leopoldo and Stefano Franceschi inherited the property and subsequently divided their holdings in 1958. The terms of the separation prohibited the brothers from using the existing Fattoria di Sant'Angelo in Colle name. Stefano Franceschi named his farm Col d'Orcia (hill above Orcia) after the river that runs through the property. Stefano Franceschi later married into the royal family of the future King of Spain Juan Carlos. He and his wife had no children, and in 1973 Stefano Franceschi sold his property to the Cinzano family of Piedmont. The Cinzano family was active in the spirits business and used their extensive sales network to distribute the early vintages of Col d'Orcia.

(…) In 1973 there were just a few hectares dedicated to grapes, but planting expanded during this time under the leadership of Count Alberto Marone Cinzano and reached 70 hectares by the early 1980s. In 1992 Marone Cinzano's son Francesco took over and continued to increase plantings to the current level of 140 hectares, of which 108 are Brunello-designated vineyards, making Col d'Orcia the third largest owner of Brunello vineyards in Montalcino."

Let's go back to the vineyards where for several decades in collaboration with the University of Florence the winery has been experimenting with new planting and cultivation techniques.

One thing above all catches our attention: the enormous centuries-old olive trees. The big frost of 1985, with temperatures that dropped to -25° C, caused a massacre of Tuscan olive trees. Therefore, it is so unusual to find old olive trees of this size.

We continue our tour and we meet a historical figure, the agronomist Giuliano Dragoni who since 1974 has been caring with love and great skills in these territories. His arrival at the Estate was practically contemporary to that of the Cinzano Group.

We would like to spend hours and hours learning how to ask questions, but time is running out and Giammichele reminds us that the time for tasting has come.

We have passed from the vineyards to the wine and the history of Montalcino is in front of us, ready to be tasted with Conte Francesco, who captures our attention more and more by telling us the story of every vine, enriching the narration with some anecdote that increases our knowledge of lands steeped in a great tradition.

We tasted the whole range of new vintages and we will talk about them in another article. In the meantime, we keep the memories of this wonderful experience.


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