Monastero Suore Cistercensi 2007 “Coenobium”, Lazio

Posted by Keith Wallace

You have to be a certain age to remember when cloyingly sweet Riesling with a “Blue Nun” label was all the rage, or, more to the point, what was available to wine drinkers of modest means.

The nuns who produce “Coenobium” near Vitorchiano, north of Rome, have blended a wine of depth and complexity that won’t leave anyone who tries it feeling the least bit blue. With consultation from Giampiero Bea, son of Montefalco’s Paolo, the good sisters have elevated Trebbiano Toscana above its often pedestrian persona – first, by blending it with Grechetto, Malvasia, and Verdicchio; second, by allowing the juice to remain in contact with the skins for about two weeks.

The result is a medium-bodied wine that fills the mouth with just-ripe peach and apricot flavors that take on a savory, earthy quality. Aromas of herbs, dried flowers, and chalky minerals keep rising to the surface. There’s a solid core of flavor aided by persistent acidity that delivers sensations of warmth all the way to a mildly dry finish. In a word, delicious.

Paradoxically, this is a relatively obscure wine even though approximately 80% of the total production per year is shipped to the States, a little over 3000 cases.

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