Monastero Suore Cistercensi

monastero_logo Coenobium sisters w Giampiero '07 I Coenobium
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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. Under the guidance of Bea, they produce two wines as honest and sympathetic and gracious as they are.

The vineyards are planted to a series of four essentially local white grape varieties: Malvasia, Verdicchio, Grechetto and Trebbiano.

 

Coenobium 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 Ruscum: is a blend of the same four grapes (Trebbiano, Malvasia, Verdicchio and Grechetto) but, in this instance, the juice is left to ferment on the lees for a period of two weeks or more, extracting all of the flavors, colors and textures of its fruit. The result is a wine of often deep golden color and penetrating minerality with hints of herbs, particularly anise, and wild flowers. There are approximately 4000 bottles produced annually of this cuvée, the overwhelming majority of which comes to the USA.
2016 “Benedic” Rosso: The sisters produce a scant amount of red wine: a charming blend of equal parts Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo called “Benedic.” Despite a two-week maceration, “Benedic” is typically a beautifully pale, translucent wine. Registering just 11% alcohol, its color is calm, soft, and almost coppery—one can sense its gentle nature just from looking at it. A pure, honest nose of red licorice, dried leaves, and fresh pipe tobacco introduces an ethereal caress of a palate with almost no detectable tannins. “Benedic” is a pretty, tasty, plain-speaking wine with no makeup and no pretension, and its softly floral edge puts one in the mind of springtime. Those expecting power may be disappointed, but a wine this guileless is nearly impossible to dislike.

Monastero Suore Cistercensi

2018 Coenobium, 2018 Ruscum, and 2018 Benedic

It’s difficult to believe that we are preparing to receive our fourteenth vintage from the sisters of Monastero Suore Cistercensi. Led by Adriana and Fabiola (pictured left), this convent of 70 Cistercian nuns has been…

‘Producing Wine With Each Other and the Creator’: A Group of Nuns on Operating Their Italian Vineyard

Religious women at a monastery outside Rome produce serious wines.

Passing by the vineyards at Monastero Suore Cistercensi, you may see figures pruning the vineyards or checking out clusters of grapes. What’s unique about these figures, though, is they are each wearing a nun’s habit.

We’ve all heard of beers made by Trappist monks—Chimay—and liqueurs by Carthusians—Chartreuse—but there is wine made by religious women too. At this monastery in Vitorchiano, Italy, the Sisters of the Cistercian Order tend five hectares of vineyards to make two white wine blends, Coenobium and Ruscom, as well as a red wine blend called Benedic.

Wineaux: Collecting nun stories and nun wine

  Wineaux By Susana Leonardi My high school biology teacher, Sister Mary Justine (or maybe it was Sister Mary Martine — I confuse them) made the class spell aloud, in unison, the name of our current unit: S-E-X. I have no idea why shouting the letters was somehow more acceptable than her just saying the […]

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