Ever since I visited Badia a Coltibuono in the fall of 2005 I have been quite enchanted by the location and therefore been interested in the winery. It is located in a gorgeous old building up on a hill, a former monastery. According to the website, the monastery dates back to the 11th century. After Napoleon took over (remember what I wrote about the same issue regarding Vereinigte Hospitien?), the monastery was closed and sold off. In 1846, the great grandfather of the current owner bought the property.
The winery is run by Emanuela Stuchhi Prinetti and her three brothers. But the owner being female is not the only reason for it being well known. Lorenza de’ Medici, a rather famous cookbook author, started a cooking school on the winery’s premises in 1980 which made it well known in English speaking countries.
The winery now has everything that any big, international producer has: accomodations, classes, organic farming etc. etc. In a way, that is one of the problems with the winery, too. To me, it has lost some of its appeal due to this commercialization, but I guess it’s what comes with growing bigger. They now produce 400,000 bottles from 70 ha.
I have had Coltibuono’s chianti and the chianti riserva in the past. I remember not being very fond of their standard chianti, just too unexpressive and expensive for the quality, but the chianti riserva I remember as being nice. Their flagship is the “Cultus Boni”, which I have not had. These are all made according to organic farming principles.
The wine that we had the other night, the Cetamura, is from their commercial line of wines called Coltibuono Selections, where they buy grapes and produce wines. This line makes 600,000 bottles a year. You can find their information on the wine here. They produced 270,000 bottles of it, it is made of sangiovese and canaiolo grapes and the wine had 12.5% ABV. For Ann Arborites: I bought that wine at Plum Market and paid $11, which is too much, I’d say.
The wine poured in a lighter shade ruby red. The nose was really pretty: intense cherry and raspberry aromas, distinctly jammy. I had not had such a nice nose in a red wine in a bit. On the palate, the wine felt velvety and was light to medium bodied. It was fruity upfront with quite some acidity. From there, it went a bit downhill. The middle section of the taste was alright, but the finish was short and abrupt, and there was not much staying on in taste except for slight bitter notes and acidity. We had it with a classic ragù pasta, but it also did not work overly well with that.
I decided to give the wine some time. After ninety minutes, the wine had mellowed out a bit. The finish now showed eucalypti and licorice. The acidity was still too prominent for my taste, but the aromas came around. When I had some of it the following night, the acidity was no real problem anymore and the wine still showed some nice red fruit, but was overall done.
All in all: It is not what I knew from their standard line up, which is definitely above this one in quality. The acidity made me less likely to buy another bottle of this wine, because it did throw the wine off balance. If you end up buying it (or already have and now want to find out more about the wine) I recommend decanting it. If you ever get a chance, go visit the place. It is gorgeous. And try the chianti riserva.