Today I’d like to tell you about an authentic urban vineyard and his best and most prestigious wine: Fiorano Rosso by Tenuta di Fiorano, a farm located inside the Rome municipal area in the natural park of Appia Antica, only a few miles as the crow flies from Ciampino airport. And yet, in spite of its proximity to the hustle and bustle of the capital, this large property of 200 hectares – of which 6 are employed for growing vines – almost seems to reside in a dreamlike world, far from the noise and the chaos.
The owner is Prince Alessandrojacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi, a local noble who can trace his lineage back to past Popes but never lost his affable ways and kindness towards his guests. Alessandrojacopo has breathed in the fresh air of wines and vineyards since childhood.
The company can trace its success to the type of soil that derives from the lava flow of the local volcano, which creates a 10-centimetre deep layer of pozzolanic ash . It’s a soil rich in minerals and eruption dust, which confers a unique taste to every wine from the vineyard. Organic farming has been employed here since the beginning, due to the favourable conditions.
The key figure in Tenuta di Fiorano was Prince Alberico Boncompagni, cousin to Paolo, Alessandrojacopo’s father. Back in the the 1940s and 1950s it was Alberico who started growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon (unknown at the time in Italy) and the native Malvasia di Candia.
The production of red wines was aimed from the start towards the production of “Bordeaux Blend”, thus making the Fiorano estate forerunners of its kind in Italy. When in 1998 Alberico decided to retire, perhaps tired and disappointed, he dug up most of the vineyard without a word of explanation. Picking up where he left off were his cousin Paolo and the latter’s son Alessandrojacopo, who took it upon themselves to manage the estate under Alberico’s watchful eye, who in the meantime had retired to his residence in central Rome due to his health problems. When it came to planting new vines for white wines, Alberico advised them to focus on Grechetto (instead of Malvasia di Candia) and Viognier (instead of Semillon). Alberico eventually died in 2005. But today we bet (and win) on red: the wine we liked the most is the Fiorano Rosso 2010.
Fiorano Rosso 2010
Cabernet Sauvignon 65% Merlot 35%
Dark, thick ruby red. Flavors of pepper and balsamic licorice. Hints of dark fruit jam such as blueberry and sour cherry on a tapestry of aromatic spice. Very fresh and intense taste that lets the drinker appreciate the fruit and the softer Merlot component. Vivid and intense tannins. Black cherry jam final. What is striking is the delightful fruit concentration. This is a great longevity wine that can be drunk many years from now. Only 5,000 bottles produced.
Other technical data: the grapes are vinified together, rather than being cut in the cellar. Maturation for 30 months in Slavonian oak 10 hl. Followed by at least two years of aging in bottle before release. The company produces a total of 20,000 bottles.
Other good vintages: 2011, 2009, 2008, 2006, 1988, 1986
Retail price: € 43 – $ 45 – My rating: 93/100
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