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When Federico Fellini wrote about wine to Georges Simenon from the Fattoria dei Barbi

The letter from the master of cinema to the “father” of Commissaire Maigret mentions Montalcino and Brunello, in memory of Francesca Colombini Cinelli

“Dear Simenon, today, while traveling by car through the valleys near Chianciano, we arrived at Monte Alcino, a legendary hill that is at least as magnificent as Olympus was for the Greeks in Homer’s time. Here too there is a divinity: Brunello di Montalcino, a red wine that can advantageously compete even with the most celebrated French wines”. Thus began the letter that the master of world cinema Federico Fellini sent to his friend Georges Simenon, one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, “father” of Commissaire Maigret (published by Adelphi in the small but precious volume “Carissimo Simenon. Mon cher Fellini. Correspondence of Federico Fellini and Georges Simenon”), written “in the office of the owner of the company” and accompanied on “idea of Giulietta” Masina, by a bottle of Fattoria dei Barbi. And this is just one of the fascinating tales behind the great Italian wines, which tell how figures such as Francesca Colombini Cinelli, the “lady of Brunello” and of the historic Montalcino winery, anticipated the times, bringing to the territory the great characters already in the seventies.
In the letter that WineNews quotes from Fellini, he continues, “I am writing these lines in the office of the owner of the company, a little overwhelmed by the avalanche of prizes, diplomas, medals, cups that dominate me from every side and from photos of reigning cardinals, and very famous drunks from all over the world with dedications of total gratitude. So I too am caught a bit in the vortex of emphasis. I don't know much about wine, in fact, I don’t know much about it, but this Brunello, tasted in front of the extraordinary landscape of the Val d’Orcia, seemed very good to me. However, the idea to have it judged by Simenon was Giulietta’s. So here it is, I hope it arrived in good shape. Let’s toast to the happiness of our friends Teresa and George. Prosit! Cheers! Hurray! With affection, Federico Fellini”.
The Fattoria dei Barbi, now led by Stefano Cinelli Colombini, wrote the history of Montalcino and Brunello, thanks to a pioneering personality like Francesca Colombini Cinelli, one of the first women, from a very young age after the death of her father, to lead the important Italian winery, member of the prestigious National Academy of Vine and Wine. A whole life lived in and for the territory, for its agriculture, wine tourism, and for its culture, establishing relationships with the peasant world and with great writers, artists, and men of culture among the most illustrious ever, founder in 1981 of the prestigious “Premio Barbi Colombini”, which brought to Montalcino characters such as Federico Fellini and Giulietta Masina, the Nobel Prize for Literature Saul Bellow, the writer Mario Rigoni Stern and the poet Mario Luzi, the art historian Cesare Brandi, journalists Enzo Biagi, Giorgio Bocca and Sergio Zavoli, and many others.
Gone in December 2022, from yesterday to December 31, an exhibition in the cellar of the Fattoria dei Barbi, where the old Brunello Riserva rest, recalls the figure of Francesca Colombini Cinelli, with memoirs and works of art, fragments of private life and columns of American tabloids that marked an era. “My mother Francesca was a remarkable and versatile woman. For almost a century she has been one of the major figures of Italian wine. She was an eclectic personality because she was also an artist, an intellectual, and a writer. From childhood memories in Florence, where the Colombini house was the gathering place of the most significant writers, in Montalcino with its Brunello, up to its paintings and artistic ceramics, passing through the many who loved her wine and the people of her company. A collection of photos, videos, accessories, objects and much more, to retrace connections, anecdotes and significant moments of long life”, underlines Stefano Cinelli Colombini.

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