Alessia Fiorano Rosso Azienda Agricola Boncompagni Ludovisi.
On a June day in Rome last year, the temperature was over 100 degrees as we waited outside the city records hall for Alessia Antinori to pick us up and take us to her winery. Not one of her father, Piero Antinori’s wineries, but to the winery of the late Boncompagni Ludovisi Principe di Venosa, her grandfather. I was finally going to see where Fiorano, my favorite red wine, was made.
When the Principe died a few years ago, he left half of the estate to his daughter, who is Piero Antinori’s wife and mother of Alessia. She then 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, Alessia took over the management of the estate.
The other half of the Boncompagni Ludovisi estate was left to a distant cousin of the Principe who has released a 2006 Fiorano Rosso with the original Fiorano label under his own name, Principe Alessandro Jacopo Boncompagni Ludovisi. He also made a white Fiorano, but is using different grapes than the original. Alessia said that she hoped they could come to some agreement about the label without going to court.
As we were driving to the winery Alessia told us that she was making a number of improvements since her part of the winery was in disrepair. It fact there was not much left and Alessia has undertaken a major restoration.
I asked her about the vines and she said that the people who had worked for her grandfather told her that he ordered them covered with dirt but then a few years later ordered them to be uncovered. In an interview with the late Italian wine writer Luigi Veronelli, Alessias Grandfather said that he would destroy all the vines so that his son-in-law would not get them because Piero did not make wine the way he did. I guess he changed his mind.
Alessia said that her first vintage was going to come from the vines that were uncovered. Later, when new vineyards are planted, there will be a massal selection of old vines. She said that the winery was almost ready for its first harvest. Alessia said that she and her sisters hope to continue the legacy of their grandfather and of the Estate. This is very good news.
Despite the very hot day, when Alessia offered to open a bottle of the 1988 Fiorano Rosso, I could not refuse the offer. As I sipped the wine I did not think about the heat only of the well-structured, elegant and smooth wine with aromas of cherry and leather, the long finish and the wonderful lingering aftertaste. This is a great wine!
A few months later Alessia was in New York and came to dinner at my apartment along with her husband. She brought with her a bottle of the 1995 Fiorano Bianco and a bottle of a 2010 red, which she had made. She said that this wine will be the second wine of the Tenuta di Fiorano and a label and name had not yet been chosen.
In Rome I had bought a bottle of the 2006 Firoano Rosso made by the new Principe to compare. It was an easy-drinking wine in a modern style and did not bear any resemblance to the original Fiorano Rosso. Alessia’s wine was a much bigger, more complex wine with good fruit, but since it was a 2010 it was difficult to judge and needs time to develop.
I also opened a 1994 Fiorano Rosso (made by the grandfather) and it needed at least 10 more years to be ready to drink. I believe Alessia said that the last vintage made by her grandfather was 1995.
Next time: the story continues with a visit to the winery in May of 2013 and the improvements Alessia has made.