Featured: 80 +1 is a Magic Number

Featured: 80 +1 is a Magic Number

Welcome back to our weekly Featured stories. As always, the only way to get these stories direct to your inbox, and with deep discounting, is to sign up for our newsletter. 

***UPDATE*** These wines are SOLD OUT. The story is not one to miss, so do read on. But, be sure to sign up for our Newsletter. It's the only way to ensure you're notified when rare wines arrive. 

 

Today's featured wines are from Monastero Suore Cistercensi.

In 1963, against a global backdrop of corruption and turmoil, a group of 80 women came together and did something that didn’t feel, at the time to be very revolutionary. Together, they planted vines in Lazio, which lies about ninety minutes north of Rome. Almost sixty years later, the vines are all grown up. And their revolution has only just begun. 

Photo curtesy of Mad Rose Group.

The 80 women who planted the vines are all gone now, but there are still 80 women watching the vines and making wine from them. Those 80 women are Sisters of the Cisterian Order who live and work at the monastery in Vitorchiano. Over those 60 years, while the world rushed on around them, where one period of corruption gave way into...well, another period of corruption, little changed for the Sisters or the vines. 

No, the Beatles playing Ed Sullivan, or the US putting a man on the moon didn’t rock them. The 70s, 80s, and 90s passed quietly by. Shockingly, they even made it through the aughts without dropping out and becoming surfers. But, a few years ago, there was a single, dramatic change: Giampiero Bea entered the story. In a way, Bea-tle mania finally hit the Sisters. (Sorry.)

Photo curtesy of Mad Rose Group.

The bottles pictured above may look slightly familiar. Why? Because of their eerie resemblance to the labels of Paolo Bea! Giampiero is Bea’s son and the current winemaker at the family winery. And it is Giampiero who now works with the eighty nuns and their vines.

This is a wine story unlike any other. Fate and circumstance meeting up with dedication and tradition, just an hour outside of Italy’s most famous city. The nuns had been working for decades, unknown to the wine world. But Giampiero found them, created an authentic and dedicated relationship with the Sisters that has greatly impacted the wines. 

Photo curtesy of Mad Rose Group.

The mark of Paolo Bea is all over these wines, and not just their labels. They have Bea's rare combination of wildness and elegance. They are unique, but not weightily so; they are even playful. In art terms, you might compare these wines to a work of Jasper Johns.

Like so many of the wine’s best kept secrets, we used to have these on our shelves all year long. Now they're even more tightly allocated than Bea’s wines, and everything we are able to buy for the vintage sells out very quickly.

While we don't have any more to sell at this time, we thought the story was worth sharing! Please read about the wines we offered in our Newsletter below. And, sign up, so you don't miss out on the next vintage! 

Photo curtesy of Mad Rose Group.

Monastero Suore Cistercensi, Lazio Bianco "Coenobium," 2017

(very limited)

A blend of Verdicchio, Trebbiano and Malvasia, grown organically and naturally in volcanic soils. Winemaking is also natural, and sometimes unexpected things happen. In 2017, a refermentation occurred, and as a result there is some residual carbonation in the wine. It drinks a bit like a pet nat! 

Monastero Suore Cistercensi, Lazio Bianco “Ruscum,” 2017

(very limited)

The same blend of grapes as the Coenobium, but this one is made with extended skin contact to give it a more golden color...even orange?

Monastero Suore Cistercensi, Lazio Rosso “Benedic”, 2018

(very limited)

The sisters produce a scant amount of red wine. This rather charming blend of equal parts Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo is fresh and beautifully pale. Soft springtime floral notes are followed by scent of red licorice, dried leaves, and fresh pipe tobacco. Low in tannins and alcohol this is an unpretentious wine that is irresistibly delicious.