colle ciocco

Colle Ciocco wines with Don Chigazola

colle ciocco

Dan Berger and Don Chigazola.

Don Chigazola has brought wines from Colle Ciocco winery run by the Spacchetti family in Italy, to taste on California Wine Country with Steve Jaxon and Dan Berger. Chigazola Merchants is Don’s company. a micro-importer of fine wines from small producers in Italy. The Spacchetti family are new suppliers to Don’s import business.

Don has been on CWC several times before, the last time was this episode in November of 2023, with wines from the Friuli region in northeastern Italy.

Don has told his story on the show several times before and again for today’s audience. He started his business about 12 years ago. He and his wife Debbie and his son Tony drive around the provinces in Italy to visit small local producers. They are farmers who have been making wine for generations. They choose the best ones to import for distribution to their private wine club members and to some restaurants and wine shops in the local area.

The Chigazola Merchants Method

Don’s favorite way of finding wine is to go to the center of town and ask the men assembled in the square who makes the best wine locally. In this case he found the Spacchetti family in the town of Montefalco, in the Umbria region. They tasted their wines at the Vinitaly show in Verona and now they have their first delivery. But first, they visited the 40-acre vineyard located just outside the old stone walls of Montefalco, to meet the family and walk the vineyard. Today Chigazola Merchants imports wine from 13 different families in 12 regions.

Colle Ciocco means “Cho-ko” Hill

Colle Ciocco is the name of the Spacchetti family winery. Pronounced “coll-eh CHOE-koe” it means “Ciocco Hill” in Italian.

The first wine they taste is a red, a 2022 Colle Ciocco Grechetto, made of 85% Grechetto grapes, plus 15% Viogner in the blend. That blend makes it smoother. Dan has noticed that the wines from this region have improved a lot in the last few decades.

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Next they taste a classic Umbrian red blend Montefalco Rosso, 70% Sangiovese, 15% Merlot and 15% Sagrantino. This is a 2019 and is their current release. “It has massive amounts of fruit,” says Dan. It has good structure but it’s light. Aged one year in oak and two years in the bottle before it is released. It has the structure of a Pinot Noir but not the flavor.

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The Sagrantino is big like a Barolo from Piemonte, but it is only grown in Umbria. The 2018 is the current release and it is still a baby. It is such a tannic varietal that it is not even approachable for the first six years. It can hold up 10 years in the bottle.

Finally, the Trebbiano, is a white wine that is delightful and does not remind you of Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, the two French varietals that we see the most of in California.

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