COLOMBAIA is a winery in the township (‘commune’) of
OWNER | Dante Lomazzi (whose mother owned the estate) and Dante’s wife Helena Variara.
BACKGROUND | Dante Lomazzi’s great grandfather was a wine merchant involved in mass production of wines made of red wine and vermouth. When Dante’s father took over the family business, he changed direction and in 1974 bought an abandoned farm and vineyard in the Chianti area, Azienda Agricola Colombaia. The house was used for as a communication post, using doves (una colomba). Renato from Podere Casanuova rented their vines for a bit, now Dante and his wife Helena Variara (born in Brazil; aged seven she started school in Florence) are going it alone. Dante’s family still own the house, but Dante and Helena renovated the winery. Dante and Helena’s first vintage was 2003 – a tough first year they told me.
VINEYARDS | 2009 2ha of Sangiovese, around 1ha of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca, and around 1ha of Canaiolo. Replanting 1ha of Sangiovese, Colorino and Cabernet (the oldest vines had been Cabernet Sauvignon, but they were grubbed up after the 2008 harvest). Also Malvasia Nera. 2011 4ha (10 acres). 220 metres. Calcareous clay. All cordone speronato.
BIODYNAMICS | 2019 Member of Renaissance des Appellations.
CERTIFICATION | 1980 Organics begins. | 1999 First vintage with full organic certification. 2005 | Started Biodynamics. | 2008 Demeter Italia Biodynamic certification for the first time.
WINERY | Have large botti, cement tanks (submerged cap), four 26hl Austrian foudres (Dante’s father lives in Austria. They cost €4,000 each), and small steel tanks. Gravity bottling. No oenologist – Dante’s father taught him to make wine. Use the lab in Poggibonsi.
PRODUCTION | 2011 10,500 bottles annually.
COLOMBAIA ACESTRALE BIANCO
COLOMBAIA ACESTRALE ROSATO
TOSCANO BIANCO DOC, COLOMBAIA | 2011 Trebbiano Toscano, Malvasia. ‘Some skin contact, 22mg/l sulfites,’ (Isabelle Legeron 2014, p166).
TOSCANA BIANCO FRIZZANTE | 2008 Trebbiano & Malvasia. No added sulfites. Nice rustic fizz at the winery on 12th Sept 2009 with Steve and Sarah Walter.
TOSCANA BIANCO | 2008 Trebbiano & Malvasia (hit by rain at flowering, so less Malvasia than normal in the blend). 2,000 bottles. Sold to Aubert & Mascoli in the UK. Nice and mealy, decent weight at the winery on 12th Sept 2009 with Steve and Sarah Walter. €10 retail.
TOSCANA ROSATO FRIZZANTE | Sangiovese, Colorino, Malvasia Nera, Canaiolo. No added sulfites.
TOSCANA ROSSO, COLOMBAIA | 2003 Dante and Helena’s first vintage. Quite a rich, crisp red, not bad at the winery on 12th Sept 2009 with Steve and Sarah Walter. | 2007 80% Sangiovese, 10% Malvasia Nera, 5% each Canaiolo & Colorino. Aged in Slavonian oak vats (26hl).
TOSCANA ROSSO, COLOMBAIA VIGNA NUOVA | 2007 Sangiovese, Colorino, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite tannic at the winery on 12th Sept 2009 with Steve and Sarah Walter. Dante said the 2007 was more tannic than 2008 due to the Cabernet, and the dry season made for small berries. 2008 Sangiovese + Colorino (no Cabernet). 13%. 2,000 bottles. Lovely and fresh at the winery on 12th Sept 2009 with Steve and Sarah Walter. 2009 2009 97% Sangiovese + 3% Colorino. Stainless steel. 4,000 bottles.
Isabelle Legeron MW, Natural Wine, An introduction to organic and biodynamic wines grown naturally (2014, Cico Books, London & New York), p166.
La Colombaia, Mensanello 24, I-53034 Colle Val d’Elsa (SI = Siena), Italy | Tel (0)577.972835 Website www.colombaia.it
Take the exit for MONTERIGGIONI on the Siena-Firenze dual carriageway (4 corsie). Follow direction Colle Val d’Elsa, after the Bar dell’Orso strada che scende sulla destra dopo il rettilineo si trova una strada sula sinistra direzione STROVE ABBADIA ISOLA. Follow this road (pretty, hills, keep doing and do not turn off). At the end of this road there is a crossing at which Colle Val d’Elsa is indicated on the right and Follonica and Ponte Santa Giulia on the left. Right after the bridge there is a road to Mensanello, Casole d’Elsa. Salire qualche curva, poi un breve rettilineo. Sulla destra una cipressa e difronte verso sinistra un MURO DI CINTA CON CASELLA DI POSTA ROSSA. Da li a sinistra parte una strada sterrata che porta alla COLOMBAIA.