The wine of the beautiful Orcia’s valley

Author: Marco Negro

In the heart of Tuscany, the Orcia river crosses the valley to which it gives its name Val d´Orcia. It extends between the provinces of Siena and Grossetto close to Mount Amiata (a mountain group of volcanic origin, 1738 masl). The hills are light and the pastel colors alternate from the yellow of the wheat fields to the green of the chestnut groves to the expanses of the vines. Beech groves, olive groves, streams of water, from Mount Radicofani you can see the whole valley, Pienza, San Quirico, Castiglione, Montalcino. Like waves of the sea, the hills are soft flows of natural movements punctuated by millenary cypresses. In the Val d´Orcia it is like entering a space-time dimension far from reality. Hills, Castels, Medioeval Towns, cypresses, everything here is a combination that seems that came out of the brush of a skilled painter.

Landscape with hills and cypresses

The red wine Orcia Doc was born in this beautiful valley which includes 12 municipalities in the province of Siena, including the very well-known Buonconvento, Castiglione d’Orcia, Pienza, and Montalcino. Orcia is considered to be the most beautiful countryside in the world, so much so that in 2004 UNESCO included it in the World Heritage Site, this is the reason why a recent promotional campaign by the Consortium had as its theme “Orcia the most beautiful wine in the world“. Despite being very popular with wine tourism, the Orcia valley still has hidden gems that only the inhabitants of these areas know well. With a little attention and following us on our voyages of discovery through Bella Italia, you can find out small wonders hidden in the hills, such as the Pieve di Pienza.

Crete Senesi in Tuscany

Orcia Doc and his territory

Designed to safeguard and promote the image of the Orcia wine and its region, Orcia DOC became official on February 14, 2000 thanks to the producers who were also founders of the “Consorzio del vino Orcia”.  The geographical area of ​​the Orcia Doc includes the hilly area south / west of the province of Siena to the east and west of the Orcia river basin. Historically this area has always been considered an area of ​​excellence for the cultivation of vines and the production of wine. It is wedged between two other areas highly valued from the wine-making point of view (Montepulciano and Montalcino). Twelve municipalities are in the territory of the Orcia Doc: Buonconvento, Castiglione d’Orcia, Pienza, Radicofani, San Quirico d’Orcia and Trequanda, as well as areas around Abbadia San Salvatore, Chianciano Terme, Montalcino, San Casciano dei Bagni, Sarteano and Torrita di Siena. The red, white and rosé wines express characters and great balance. The red Orcia Doc is made from Sangiovese grapes (minimum 60%) and other grapes authorized. For the cultivation of the vineyards, the soils has to be not excessively humid or insufficiently sunny, this is why the vineyards are located at an altitude not exceeding m. 700. The particular pedo-climatic environment of the Orcia DOC area and the optimal exposure of the vineyards combine to create an environment suitable for prestigious and quality wines. The olfactory profile of the Orcia DOC wine is vinous, fruity and on the palate it is dry, savory, harmonious.

Vineyards and hills in Tuscany

Capitoni winery: in the heart of Val d’Orcia

The Capitoni family, farmers by vocation, for generations have lived and taken care of one of the most beautiful and photographed lands on the planet, the Orcia Valley. With their 6 hectarses of vineyard, they remain a family business. The company is located in the ancient Podere Sedime, which lay in the middle of the Val d’Orcia. Their main goal remains to respect the land they inherited and to produce wines with a strong territorial character. At the moment, three red wines are produced: Orcia Rosso Doc “Capitoni” made from Sangiovese with a small amount of Merlot, Orcia Doc “Frasi” consisting mainly of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Colorino and  Orcia Doc “Troccolone”. Capitoni.

Vineyard of Capitoni family in Tuscany

The Orcia Rosso “Capitoni” is a red wine, still and dry. The wine is rounded on the palate with aromas of red and black berry fruit, toasting and light spice. It is harmonious and balanced with rich tangy peaks typical of the nature of the soil where the vines are grown, endowing the wine with its unique and recognisable character. The perfect wine to represent the family

The Orcia Doc “Frasi” consists of classic Tuscan grape varieties, enhanced by the use of large wooden barrels for ageing to obtain a very traditional wine with the particularly confident features of the local area, a strong indication of its Tuscan character. The name “Frasi” was chosen because every vintage corresponds to a different phrase. Every year the label shows a new phrase – a metaphor to describe the nature of the current vintage.

The Orcia Doc “Troccolone” is an absolutely peculiar wine because its process is exclusive: Capitoni family wants to enhance the particular characteristics of aromas and freshness of Sangiovese. To do this they vinify and refine the wine in particular terracotta amphorae.

Cinderella between the two step-sisters

When we talk about Orcia wines it is almost impossible not to talk about a woman that made the sort of this wine and the sort of the wine tourism in Orcia and Montalcino. Donatella Cinelli Colombini is one of the most known and influent women of the wine’s world. In 1993 she founded the “Movimento del turismo del vino” and invented “Cantine aperte”, the day that in a few years brought success to wine tourism in Italy. In 2012 she received the International Vinitaly Prize and the following year she was elected National Vice President of “Donne del Vino” and President of the Consortium of Orcia wines. In 2014 she was nominated ‘Cavaliere della Repubbica Italiana”. In 2016 she was elected National president of “Wine Women Association”. In addition to the company located in Montalcino: “Casato prime donne” (the first Italian winery staffed entirely by women) she has another company in Trequanda called “Fattoria del Colle”. It is in this last winery (based in the beautiful Val d’orcia) that we see the birth of the best known Orcia doc. One of the most important wine is the Orcia Doc “Leone Rosso”. The rampant lion is the symbol of Donatella’s ancestors, those who built Fattoria del Colle in 1592. The blazons representing this family called, either Socini or Soccini, are found in the entrance, on the ceilings, and on some of the furniture of the villa.  Donatella received the estate from her father Fausto Cinelli in 1998 and has dedicated to the Socini family the first wine that she produced there, “Leone Rosso” Orcia Doc. This is a Orcia with a blend of Sangiovese (60%) and Merlot (40%). Fragrant, fine aroma with floral and fruity components. Full, warm, immediate, soft taste.

Bottle of Cenerentola Doc wine in a frame of a painting

The best representation of this great wine is given by the second wine: Orcia Doc “Cenerentola” (Cinderella) like the young girl in the fairy tale has two older and richer sisters who get invited to the Prince’s ball while she has to stay at home. The “Cenerentola” wine belongs to an appellation called Orcia born on February 14th 2000 (Valentine’s Day) between the territories of the Brunello di Montalcino and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The Orcia region is consequently the youngest, between the “sisters”, that get invited to the tables of princes and kings. On the label there is a woman with no face who descends the steps, by night, from the Tuscan hills. The story of this wine is the story of a challenge, the challenge of a young wine region that wants to get noticed. Obviously to succeed in this goal a little magic is necessary. For this reason Donatella Cinelli Colombini who produces the “Cenerentola” wine at Fattoria del Colle, on the high hills of Southern Tuscany, has decided to use two autochthonous varieties: Sangiovese king of the Tuscan vineyards (65%) and the Foglia Tonda (35%), a variety abandoned more than a century ago. This is the magic touch that makes Cenerentola different. This wine is aging one year on the oak barrels. It is a fine and complex wine, which recalls small ripe red fruits and spices. On the palate is very intense, harmonious, soft and structured. This wine has all the requirements to make us dream like a modern Cinderella.

12 th October 2020
Marco Negro

Picture of Marco Negro
Marco Negro
Expert of communication of Italian wine. He has a knack for connecting people.
Picture of Marco Negro
Marco Negro
Expert of communication of Italian wine. He has a knack for connecting people.

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