Tuscany (Colle Val d'Elsa), Italy
Colombaia is one of those picturesque wineries that you see in pamphlets about Italy. To enter, you drive down a long winding dirt road, lined with trees on either side. At the end of the road is the winery, which is in an old brick farmhouse, covered in an assortment of creeping vines and surrounded by lush vegetation, which serve to shield you from the outside world. It feels so alive. And then there are the vineyards just beyond the house, on gently rolling slopes with an ocean of hills in the background. This is the ideal Tuscan winery, with all its romance and splendor. Gorgeous!
Colombaia was first established in the 1970s at Colle Val d‘Elsa in the hamlet of Mensanello just north of Sienna. Today the winery is surrounded by 3 hectares of 40 year old vineyards planted exclusively to Tuscany’s native grapes: Sangiovese, Colorino, Malvasia Nera and Canaiolo; and one hectare planted in 2005, totally biodynamically grown, with Sangiovese and Colorino.
In 1999 Colombaia converted to organic farming methods. Now they work completely biodynamically, with natural vinifications in concrete tanks, ageing in large Slavonian oak barrels and bottle their wines without any additions, save the occasional dose of sulfur. This is minimalism at its best! The wines themselves are some of the purest expressions of Sangiovese-based blends we have ever tried. They burst from the glass with rich fruit flavors, complex spices and underlying earthy notes. There is no new oak to hide behind, and the wines are by no means over-extracted. All you get is the essence of the perfectly tended grapes in wines that are elegant, but at the same time concentrated and possessed of great depth and energy. In addition to the reds, Colombaia also produce tiny quantities of white wine from older vine Trebbiano and Malvasia. It spends several months on the skins, which gives it some flesh. This is an extremely complex wine with floral notes, burnt citrus, dried apricot and herbs, with a round mouthfeel and a gorgeous mineral-saline finish that goes on for minutes. A beautiful wine!
The wines of Colombaia are a profound reminder of just how amazing Tuscan wines can be. These are wines of depth. They are utterly delicious, elegant and complex. It is little wonder that they are now highly sought after. We are so pleased that we received a small allocation for Ontario, but just wish that we could order more of these superb wines! Quantities are extremely limited, so do not miss out on these Tuscan gems!