Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Elegant, regal, and silver haired Count Francesco Marone Cinzano, owner of Col d’Orcia in Montalcino, Tuscany, greeted a small group of San Francisco area wine experts, reviewers, sommeliers and press as we sat down in Sociale’s private dining room last Thursday. Sociale is a gem of an Italian bistro hidden down a narrow alleyway in San Francisco’s prestigious Laurel Heights neighborhood. Amongst the group of guests were Sonoma Celebrity Sommelier Chris Sawyer, Tasting Panel editor Deborah Parker Wong, Acquerello Wine Director Gianpaolo Paterlini, Wine.com’s Chief Storyteller Wilfred Wong and Wine Oh TV’s Monique Soltani.

Count Cinzano was pleased to announce that his estate is the largest certified organic vineyard in Italy. Italy has the highest number of organic vineyards in the EU, with Sicily taking the lead, and Tuscany is in second place. He also explained that while there are 290 producers of Montalcino wines, Col d’Orcia wines are reserved upon release and should be decanted, or even double decanted for aeration. Rosso and Brunello di Montalcino wines must be 100% Sangiovese and have minimum aging requirements. Sant’Antimo wines are free to use a long list of approved grapes including international varieties. The star of the region is Brunello di Montalcino, but we learned that in the middle ages, the sweet Moscadella di Montalcino was so renowned it was already being exported. There is even a French chef who pairs this Italian dessert wine with his Foie Gras at Lucas Carton in Paris. In Tuscany, it is enjoyed with cheese, or with cantucci – biscotti with pine nuts, hazelnuts, or almonds.

Francesco’s sister, Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano, co-owns Bodega Noemia de Patagonia in Rio Negro Valley, Argentina with Danish winemaker Hans Vinding-Diers. Cousin Piero Incisa della Rochetta of Tenuta San Guido, producer of famed Super Tuscan wine Sassicaia, set up a winery nearby in northern Patagonia, Bodega Chacra.

The luncheon was organized by Palm Bay International to showcase a line up of wines from the estate going back to 2001. Flutes of the creamy, lemony and tangy Ferrari Brut Trento DOC were passed and we were off to the races.

with shallots, chives, almond cracker

2012 Col d’Orcia Rosso di Montalcino DOC
2010 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

with veal, pork and venison Bolognese, Parmigiano-Reggiano

2006 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio al Vento DOCG
2004 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio al Vento DOCG
2001 Col d’Orcia Brunello di Montalcino Riserva Poggio al Vento DOCG

stuffed with chicken mousse and Portobello and asparagus

2010 Col d’Orcia Nearco Sant’Antimo DOC
2009 Col d’Orcia Olmaia Cabernet Sauvignon Sant’Antimo DOC

2008 Col d’Orcia Pascena Moscadello di Montalcino DOC

Please visit www.winereview.planetgrape.com for wine notes and pricing.

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