2014 Donatella Cinelli Colombini Passito Toscana IGT, Italy
Donatella Cinelli Colombini, the owner of the winery named after her, only drinks red wine.
But her husband Carlo Gardini and her cellar master Barbara Magnani have been wanting to make some sweet wine at the Fattoria del Colle estate for some time when in 2010 they started the first production of this sweet wine.
It is made using grapes from a small plot of Traminer aromatico (a close relative to Gewurztraminer, also know as Savagnin Blanc) located above the chapel at Fattoria del Colle.
It is a Passito wine, meaning that the grapes were dried after harvest, simply left hanging or in a basket in an attic or any other dry place. This allows to concentrate sugars and flavors within the grapes themselves, for a sweeter and deeper wine.
So how good is this 2014 Passito da Uve Traminer by Cinelli Colombini?
The answer is in the tasting notes:
A luscious bronze peach-skin color. Bright, shiny, slightly amber and silky in appearance.
The nose burst with something between super ripe fresh apricot, and dried apricot aromas. So it smells like fresh apricot, but a very ripe, sweet, and fruity one. It’s the dominant aroma really. I guess you’d find some date, peach, hay, and white pepper too.
On the palate, the wine is medium-sweet. You feel the sugar but it’s not overpowering or syrupy. Flavors are also dominated by dry apricot, but they do turn into some more vegetal, savory bitterness towards the finish, like when you eat through an apricot and it gets a little more bitter towards the stone. All in a positive bitter way here though.
This provides layers of enjoyable flavors on the slightly vegetal (tomato leaf) and floral (elderflower) spectrum, as well as some saltiness and savoriness that cut through the sweetness and make it more interesting and appreciable.
The wine reminds of citrus too. The same way grapefruit of green lemon provide upfront fruitiness combined with underlying bitterness and savoriness.
A very good medium-sweet wine, full of apricot fruitiness and richness, but never too sweet. Balanced, complex: an intriguing world of aromas AND flavors of citrus and stonefruit combined in a rather unique way. Not only can you smell the apricot and citrus, but you can also taste them.
What to pair this wine with?
Unsurprisingly, stone fruit and/or citrus dessert as long as they’re not too sweet: lemon and/or apricot tart, basil and lemon curd macaron, as far as traditional English Christmas pudding perhaps.