Exclusive Feature: La Fiorita


A special article with tastings of recent wines along with interviews with Natalie Oliveros & Roberto Cipresso. Tastings are of 2006 and 2007. As of publishing, the 2008 has not yet been released.

La Fiorita

Precision. Singular focus. That is the drive at the Brunello wine estate of La Fiorita. In a time where most wineries in Montalcino produce, seemingly at a minimum, a Rosso di Montalcino and some form of IGT, La Fiorita remains steady with its production of Brunello and Brunello alone.

This past January, I had the pleasure of meeting winery owner Natalie Oliveros at Benvenuto Brunello and we began discussing her Calabrian roots and her dream of making her own wine. As a little girl, she crushed the grapes in her grandfather’s basement for his homemade wine. Time and technology have been kind to Oliveros and in 2006, she purchased the La Fiorita Estate in partnership with winemaker Roberto Cipresso.

La Fiorita’s story begins in 1992 when Roberto Cipresso harvested a tiny 1/2 hectare vineyard in Castelnuovo dell’Abate that yielded a mere 1,000 bottles of Brunello. The famed Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence bought the entire production of the estate for their Ristorante. Slowly, as new vineyard plantings came online, production has increased to about 25,000 bottles.

Selected Tastings

Over the past few weeks, we were able to sample some of the fine Brunello from this estate.

2006 Brunello: This is a dark garnet color with just a faint fade to violet at the rim. We let this sit a full 60 minutes in the decanter after removing a fine silt like sediment. The time seems to have helped the wine because the aromatics were very expressive. Crushed red fruits are joined by freshly shredded flowers, a slight hint of espresso, rich tobacco and exotic spices. Wonderful to smell. On the palate, the wine is slightly more austere than I expected given the profile of the nose. There is a large core of ripe berry fruit that is joined with smoke, leather and a fine sense of minerality. This still needs some time in this classic vintage but I think in two or three years time, this will blossom. Tannins clamp down on the finish. Served with grilled NY Strips. 91 points, about $36.

Next up was the 2006 Brunello Riserva. Served alongside Osso Bucco, this wine was perhaps more expressive than the 2006 estate Brunello and that surprised me a little. Darker black in the glass and decanter, the fruit aromas are intense and focused with fennel, tobacco and worn leather combining nicely. Rich and powerful on the palate, everything is dialed up a notch here. There’s a full bodied, viscous mouthfeel that is sensual, sexy. Loads of ripe tannins still assert themselves on the finish but this is outstanding and very much like I remember it at Benvenuto Brunello. Wow. 95 points. About $90. Disclosure: This bottle was an importer provided sample.

Finally, we tasted the 2007 Brunello. This is a deep ruby color and doesn’t have the concentration of color that the 2006s exhibit. However, the nose is spicy and exotic with bright cherry, fresh meat, smoke and spices mingling nicely. Wonderfully ripe and long on the palate, this has lots of pure, juicy, ripe primary red fruit to which fresh fennel and sweet pipe tobacco are added. Peppery spice livens up the finish where silky tannins and acidity remain balanced. This is one of the best 2007’s I’ve had. Really wonderful. 93 points. About $36 Disclosure: This bottle was an importer provided sample.

The pics and interview at the link.