Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium 2020

Regular price $31.00

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Winemaker: the Sisters of the Cistercian order, Giampiero Bea

Appellation: Vitorchiano, Lazio, Umbria, Italy

Grape Varieties: Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdicchio

The Coenobium: is the basic wine of the Monastery with an approximate annual production of 12000 bottles, about 80% of which is shipped through us to satisfy the US market. Its intrigue comes from the volcanic soils that underlay the vineyards and the longer than usual contact that the fermenting juice has with the skins … this being a vinification technique encouraged by Bea.

The wine's co-harvested and co-fermented Trebbiano, Verdicchio, and Malvasia translate the power of Vitorchiano's volcanic soils with a sombre interplay of smoke and iron with green apple, fennel frond, and honey. Coenobium displays notable breadth— yet it is muscular and chiseled rather than corpulent.

Fate can have lovely consequences. Our fortuitous encounter with the Bea family of Umbria of course led to the unearthing of one of the great domaines of Italy. But, we have been additionally blessed as we marched together with Giampiero Bea as he made the acquaintance of the Sisters of the Cistercian order living and working at their monastery in Vitorchiano, ninety minutes or so north of Rome in the Lazio district. Here at this quiet religious outpost eighty women of this religious order work vineyards and orchards and gardens organically. Led by Adriana and Fabiola, this convent of 70 Cistercian nuns has been organically farming their five hectares of vines in Vitorchiano, Lazio, since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until Bea began advising them in the early 2000’s that their wines gained a larger audience. Today, a ravenous US audience eagerly awaits each new release of “the nun wine,” and we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant cannot even come close to satisfying the huge demand. Even before Giampiero began helping them gently refine their approach and commercialize their wines—only to the US and Japan, it should be noted—he was struck by the frankness of a white wine produced with almost no technology. In a region rife with highly controlled, highly sulfured concoctions, here was a wine of real character, an unadorned expression of healthy grapes grown in a fascinating volcanic-soiled terroir. Each time we visit with the sisters, we are amazed by their warmth of spirit, their serene energy, and the shockingly spartan nature of their operation. The “win- ery” is nothing more than a toolshed packed to the gills with old steel tanks, fiberglass containers of various sizes, and glass demijohns tucked here and there—proving yet again that it takes the barest minimum to produce a wine of character and truth.