As readers of my blog know, the Fiorano Rosso Vino da Tavola from Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe of Venosa may be my favorite wine. I first had the 1961 at restaurant Checchino dal 1887 in Rome in 1983 and I have enjoyed it ever since.
Whenever I am in Rome I try to visit Alessia Antinori at Fattoria di Fiorano (Fattoria di Orto di Alberico).
Walking along the the to the Fattoria lined with olive trees.
Recently, I visited with two friends and Alessia explained to them the complicated history of the estate. The Prince, her late grandfather, began making wine in 1946 and stopped making it around 2,000.
It was said that he had destroyed all of the vines, but this was not true. When the Principe died in 2005, he left half of the estate to his daughter, Alessia’s mother, Francesca, who is the wife of the renowned winemaker Piero Antinori. Mrs. Antinori gave her share of the estate to her three daughters.
Alessia lives in Rome and since the winery is only twenty minutes away, just across from the Ciampino Airport, she took over the management of the estate.
The other half of the Boncompagni Ludovisi estate was left to a distant cousin of the Principe. His first release was the 2006 Fiorano Rosso with the original Fiorano label under his own name, Principe Alessandro Jacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi. He also makes a white Fiorano, but is using different grapes than the original.
Alessia said that she has turned part of the property into a country retreat for Romans who want to leave Rome during the warmer months. They can come for lunch or dinner on Thursday, Friday, Saturday or Sunday. The guests can go to the vegetable garden and pick the vegetables that they want to eat. They can picnic or eat at the restaurant “L’Orto di Alberico” Alberico’s Vegetable Garden, as we did.
We started with her newest wine.
Lazio Bianco Appia Antica 400 2019 Alberico made from 80% Sémillon and 20% Malvasia. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel. This is an easy drinking wine with hints of citrus fruit, floral notes, touch of orange blossoms and good acidity. 400 Appia Antica is the address of her grandfather’s villa on the estate and the place where her mother was born.
Fried cauliflower with mint mayonnaise
Tortino of cauliflower with farro and spinach
Gnochetti with cauliflower
Boneless pork with dried chard
An agreement had to be reached between the cousins about the rights to the Fiorano name. The result is that Alessia change the name on her labels. She chose Alberico, which is her grandfather’s first name.
Lazio DOC Vino Bianco Alberico 2016 100% Sémillon 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. 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!
Lazio DOC Vino Rosso Alberico 2015 Alessia said she found on the estate eight vine rows of two red grape varieties, four of Merlot and four of Cabernet, 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 barrels and was then bottled before completing the process with a period of bottle aging, which lasts over two years.
There are about 14 hectares of vines planted on the estate now. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sémillon are the vines which come from a “massal” selection (propagated from old vines).
Fiorano Vino Da Tavola 1986 Alberico Boncompagni Ludovisi, Prince of Venosa made from 50 Cabernet and 50% Merlot. The wine has hints of leather, smoke and cherry with a hint of balsamic. This is a very special wine and I am very happy Alessia opened it for us.
Selection of cookies
Biscotto with ricotta on top
The soil at the estate is very special, Alessia said, volcanic with mineral salts and excellent for growing anything and grazing sheep. She said that the shepherds liked to bring their sheep there to graze and the sheep would become fatter and darker in color because of what they ate, and the dust from the soil would stick and make them almost black in color. Her grandfather grew wheat and was very fanatical about it. He cultivated a “mother” from the natural yeasts in the area in order to make his own bread.
Alessia’s grandfather had taken very good care of the land and believed in organic farming. Alessia said she was following in her grandfathers’ footsteps.
Fattoria di Fiorano (Fattoria di Orto di Alberico)
Via di Fioranello 34 – Rome (GRA Ciampino airport exit)
Hours: from Thursday to Saturday, 12.30 – 14.30 | 19.30 – 21 on Sunday, 12.30 – 14.30
Restaurant and picnic reservations: 3408088211