Exploring Italy: La Fiorita Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva ’06
I love exploring Italian wines and varietals, and I’ve been nothing but incredibly impressed with the quality and value of the wines I’ve sampled over the last few months. From the intensely gorgeous Zuani Bianco wines to the luscious Grand Cru-style wines of Monteverro, Italians should be thoroughly proud of the excellent wine that is being exported from their country.
The most recent Italian wine I sampled was the La Fiorita Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva 2006, which glided on to my list of favorite Italian wines with ease. This well structured and complex beauty is filled with layers of aromas and flavors: lush, ripe red and black berries galore, with fresh tobacco and vanilla nuances. The fruity flavors are balanced out by rich, supple tannins that leave a vibrant, long lasting spice-filled finish. Truly lush and absolutely delicious.
Located in the southern part of Tuscany, Italy, the small town of Montalcino covers a hill that reaches about 600 meters above sea level. With a population of just 5,000 people, Montalcino is known for growing perfectly ripened Sangiovese grapes. Labeling laws in Italy are quite strict, and if a wine is labeled as Brunello Di Montalcino, it must only consist of Sangiovese grapes from the town of Montalcino.
Frattoria La Fiorita was established by one of the world’s top winemakers, Robert Cipresso, in 1992. Cipresso had made a name for himself in Montalcino as winemaker at Case Basse, Poggio Antico and Ciacci Piccolomini; as well as, making wine at one of Argentina’s top producing wineries, Achaval Ferrer. At La Fiorita, Cipresso started out small, but later purchased some of the best land for Sangiovese in Montalcino. In 2011, Cipresso joined forces with actress and wine enthusiast, Natalie Oliveros – together they took La Fiorita to the next and highest quality level.
Their winemaking philosopy is to focus on the expression of the terroir of each vineyard, and to allow the wine to evolve correctly using sensible ideals. The cellar is located in an 18th century building that used to operate as an olive mill. Respecting its original structure, the building was restored, and the underground portion is used as an aging room where the wine is naturally protected from fluctuating outdoor temperatures.
Although the La Fiorita Brunello Di Montalcino Riserva does not go through a different process, the grapes are sourced from a single vineyard that is tended separately from the others; as well as, aging in the bottle for one year longer before being released.