La Fiorita Brunello: Metaphor for Harmony

La Fiorita Brunello: Metaphor for Harmony

la-fiorita-oliveros-cipresso-meAlong with a small group of wine lovers, I joined Natalie Oliveros and Roberto Cipresso in New York for an intimate luncheon and tasting of wines from their La Fiorita winery.

Located in Montalcino, Italy, La Fiorita produces earthy, rich Brunello, the kind that tempts fine wine lovers and Sangiovese geeks alike.

Cipresso, a self-described “wine tailor” interested in putting together different vineyard expressions of Sangiovese, explained that “…Montalcino is a magic mountain…” and that the expression of terroir is that “magic moment” when wine becomes emotion.

la-fiorita-brunello-2007Lunch kicked off with La Fiorita’s Rosato 2013 which was enjoyable and immensely drinkable, setting the right mood for what was to come.

Wines were served in a single flight during lunch, providing a great opportunity to taste each of the wines alone, compare them to one another, and to experience each one paired with wonderful food plates prepared by La Masseria:

La Fiorita’s Brunello 2007 is typical of the vintage with a soft, warm palate, sporting bigger tannins than the 2008, more muted fruit, while the Brunello 2008 set a deeper, darker tone, moody and magnificent (available in California, not yet on East Coast).

la-fiorita-brunello-pouringCipresso’s Brunello 2006 Riserva has gained even more harmony since my last tasting of that wine in 2013. Complex aromatics, mouth filling density, muscular yet supple. A long life ahead of that one. (for more on this particular wine, see my article, link below). The 2004 Riserva, on the other hand, is a more delicate, refined Brunello, ripe and silky tannins, super elegant with the lightness of fine Burgundy. Ethereal.

Cipresso is not so much interested in the macro view of Brunello as in exploring the possibilities of different growing areas. Interestingly, La Fiorita is a couple of vintages behind many peer producers as they prefer to hold their wines longer, meeting mandatory wood aging requirements for the denomination, but keeping the wines for additional aging in bottle – 30 months, in fact, for the Riserva bottling.

la-fiorita-brunello-2006-riservaAs a group, the wines are connected by unifying suites of ripe, fine tannins and an astounding harmony of elements that are at once both interdependent and independent, not unlike melody lines in the musical counterpoint of JS Bach.

A great tasting of La Fiorita Brunello, intelligent, selfless, wines of depth, beauty and structure, that serve to enrich all that we know about Montalcino and Brunello.

You can read more about La Fiorita and the Brunello 2006 Riserva in my related article here.

A Florentine Reverie

firenzeIt is more than once that I have contributed to the number of tourists who, between April and September, outnumber the local population of Florence, Italy.

Relax. I am not readying to prattle on about the history, culture, or art that, according to Wikipedia, draws two million visitors a year to Florence, the world’s 59th most visited city.

On the contrary.

What follows is great stuff that you never hear about … stuff that, in one way or another, has led me to something good to eat or drink while traveling in Florence.

firenze-finocchionaBut, today is such a rainy, overcast, chilly afternoon in New England that I shall first require a motivating energy to recount this Florentine reverie:

My mantra, please:

Travel with Venere to Florence.

OK: We can now proceed 😉


Yes, I know, in Italy it’s called a Panino. But, when I walked into a shop so hungry that my stomach was beginning digest itself, it was “sandwich” that my brain was screaming for. Now, to this point, I have never seen Finocchiona on anyone’s list of motivating reasons to travel to Florence. But, if you suspect that “food & wine geek” is a label that might even remotely apply to you, firenze-stormI suggest that this regional specialty pork salami, uniquely flavored with fennel seeds, should reside comfortably near the top of whatever short list you are keeping to justify getting to Florence.

Opportunities for the Unexpected, Romantic and Quirky

After a drive through the gorgeous hill country surrounding Florence, we meandered far enough to arrive in Anghiari, a fortified medieval hill town. On foot, amid gathering clouds, we followed winding stone streets upward, until arriving finally at Caffé Giardino del Vicario, whose backdoor opens to a panoramic vista high above the ancient town. What happened next can only be appreciated by those romantic and quirky enough to know that a glass of vino served at a ringside seat to a totally unexpected thunderstorm of biblical proportion is an opportunity not to be missed.

firenze-al-frescoAl Fresco Dining

One certainly doesn’t need to travel to Florence to dine al fresco. But, surely, Florence is one of the best cities in the world to enjoy that favorite pastime of open air dining. Whether at a sidewalk restaurant or in the hills above the city, dining al fresco is an essential part of the Florentine summer. If you are unmoved by the ambience of a countryside dinner taken amid olive groves, grape vines and cypress trees, well, check your pulse. You may be dead.