Every time I am in Rome, which is often, I try to visit Fattoria di Fiorano. Alessia Antinori, the owner, invited me there for the first time several years ago while it was still under construction. It is only a 20 minute cab ride from the center of Rome and it is across the road from the Ciampino Airport.
Alessia inherited the winery from her grandfather Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, Prince of Venosa. Her mother, Francesca, is the daughter of the Prince and her father is Piero Antinori.
When Alessia told me she would be in NYC in May I invited her to come for a “Fiorano” lunch at our apartment. This is a tradition that has gone on for many years but was interrupted because of the Pandemic.
My guests and I asked a lot of questions about the estate. She said it is not only a winery. Part of the property is now a country retreat for anyone seeking a day out of the city during the warmer months. It’s especially popular with Romans. Visitors can come for lunch or dinner on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. The guests can pick their own vegetables that they want to eat from the large organic garden and the chef will cook it for them or they can choose to eat at the restaurant, L’Orto di Alberico (Alberico’s Vegetable Garden), named in honor of her grandfather Alberico. He had taken very good care of the land and believed in organic farming. Alessia said she was following in her grandfather’s footsteps.
Alberico Lazio DOC Vino Bianco 2016 100% Sémillon, Fattoria di Fiorano. After a careful manual selection, the best grapes were destemmed and soft pressed. Fermentation in casks and the wine completed its six months of aging in puncheons. These are oak barrels of 500 liters. They are used for wines that are do not need a high oak extraction. The wine was aged in bottle for a minimum of 24 months. This is an exceptional balanced wine with complex aromas of subtle tropical fruit, hints of citrus fruit, and a slight touch of vanilla with a very pleasing finish and a long aftertaste. It is a very special wine. Alessia said it is a white wine that will age and I agreed. In fact I told her it was a white wine as good as the Sémillon or the Malvasia di Candia that her grandfather made!
Both the Fiorano Bianco and Rosso are now named Alberico in honor of her grandfather.
Our first course was Basil Ricotta Gnocchi with Tomato Sauce — The recipe is from Michele’s book, The Italian Vegetable Cookbook
The Fiorano Rosso is a balanced, elegant and stylish wine with the dominating aromas and flavors of black cherry and leather with a touch of cassis and a note of blackberries. On the palate it is smooth, with fruit, lovely balance and a long pure finish.
Vino Rosso Fiorano 2010 Fattoria di Fiorano, Rome. Alessia said she found on the estate eight vine rows of two red grape varieties, four of Merlot and four of Cabernet Sauvignon, that were planted over half a century ago by her grandfather and farmed organically. These are the vines which produced the legendary Fiorano Rosso. By propagating these vines, Alessia is able to make wines as her grandfather once did. After harvesting, the two varieties are separated, the grapes destemmed and the juice fermented in temperature-controlled cement tanks. Alessia said this was to fully bring out their aromas and flavors. After being run off the skins, the wine goes into large oak casks for a minimum of 12 months. She said this is done to assist the full expression of the exceptional character conferred by the old vines of her grandfather, and by the singular volcanic soils created by an ancient lava flow. The wine completed its 24 months of oak aging in puncheon oak barrels and was then bottled before completing the process with a period of bottle aging, which lasts over two years. Alessia, like her grandfather, numbers the bottles. The 2010 is #243 of 510 bottles produced. Both the fruit and the leather were here but to a lesser extent. I believe the wine needs more time and am very happy that Alessia is following in her grandfather’s footsteps.
The vegetables — Gratin of zucchini, potatoes and tomatoes.
Fiorano Rosso 1997 Vino da Tavola Boncompagni Ludovisi Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principe di Venosa
Many believe that 1995 was his last vintage. Alessia said the last vintage was 2000. However, the last 3 vintages were not as good as her grandfather was very old at the time. This bottle was missing the portion of the label with the bottle number. Leather was the dominating aroma and flavor in the 1997 with the fruit in the background.
Our main course was Roasted Rack of Lamb with Rosemary, the Gratin of Vegetables, and Sauteed Spinach. The perfect combination with Fiorano Rosso
Fiorano Rosso 1988 Vino da Tavola Boncompagni Ludovisi Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, Principe di Venosa
Both the 1997 and 1988 were aged in large numbered barrels. Of the 1249 of the bottles produced in 1988, this was #30. The fruit dominated here with the leather in the background
The Fiorano Group: Michele Scicolone, Maurizio di Rosa (owner of Locanda Borboni in Brooklyn) Gino Composto, someone-me- that had too much Fiorano, and Alessia Antinori. Photo taken by Lauretta Socci.
The wines were excellent and we all enjoyed them. It’s always a pleasure to see Alessia Antinori and taste her wines.