Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Thursday, 20 October 2011

European Wine Bloggers' Conference 2011 (#EWBC): Badia a Coltibuono 17.10.11

Roberto Stucchi Prinetti

The long established estate of Badia a Coltibuono, based in a magnificent old abbey, was the first producer on our itinerary. The estate has some 800 hectares with 50 hectares of vines. It has been in the hands of the same family since 1846. The vineyards and the winemaking side are now looked after by the aristocratic Roberto Stucchi Prinetti, while his sister Emanuela looks after the commercial side. 

The estate was amongst the first in Chianti to bottle both its wine and olive oil. It has been organic since 2000 and there is no irrigation. 

Roberto made a number of interesting comments. He talked about the research into and work on saving the wealth of old grape varieties in the area. "There are 130 red varieties that still exist in the Chianti area. These have been saved." There may have been even more grape varieties prior to phylloxera. 

"We started harvesting Sangiovese at the end of August this year. In the 1980s we would have harvested in mid-October. This is partly due to the changing climate but also from viticultural changes in the vineyard – closer spacing etc. It is now difficult to keep our Sangiovese under 14% potential alcohol – before the grapes would be 12.0 - 12.5%."

"We use indigenous yeasts – they are better. Even when you use cultured yeasts, the native yeasts can take over during fermentation." 

Bloggers at the entrance to the cellars 

 A numbered botte

Specially gentle and shaped staircase from cellar to allow oxen to enter and exit. Remember something similar still existing (but no longer used) for horses when I was a kid in London, except this was to get horses up and down to their quarters on the first floor  

1999 Riserva 

Over dinner we drank three Badia a Coltibuono Chianti Classicos: the 2008 CC and then the 2007 and 1999 Riservas. The 1999 was a very fine example of a mature Chianti with delicate concentration, seamless structure and enough acidity in the finish to make you want to take another sip. In contrast the 2007 Riserva was bigger, more concentrated but more cloying at 15% alcohol – the 1999 is at 13.5%. Will the 2007 mature as well as the 1999? I have my doubts given the higher level of alcohol and the apparently reduced level of acidity.  

 Ceiling in the drawing room (above and below)

 Scenes from dinner (above and below)


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