2018 La Fiorita, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany, Italy.
The 2018 Rosso di Montalcino is a pure Sangiovese that is wonderfully aromatic, deep in color and nicely detailed with a classic array of dark fruit, spice, a light sense of earth and just the right amount of savoriness, all making it finely balanced and compelling in the glass. Fattoria La Fiorita lies on the southeast facing slope within the Montalcino zone and has three distinct vineyards, Poggio al Sole, Pian Bossolino and Il Giardinello to draw top quality and ripe fruit from to make their top Brunello offerings, as well as this baby Brunello (Rosso) that really stands out for value. The 2018 Rosso shows blackberry, plum, black cherry and strawberry fruits, which are accented by sweet floral notes, cigar wrapper, anise, cedar and dried herbs along with a touch of chalky mineral, with a full bodied texture, supple tannins and a youthful burst of natural acidity. This vintage saw a care grape selection and was fermented in Slavonian wood fermentors with a maceration period of about 18 days and then put into second use French oak cask, where the Rosso rested for about 10 months, then moved to stainless for an additional 4 or so months before bottling, a regime that allows for early drinking pleasure, as this wine proves. The Rosso di Montalcino DOC comes of all organic Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello clone) vines that are set on Tufo and galestro soils, comprised of clay and limestone that has a sandy topsoil that helps give this bottling its class and character, it is a wine that certainly speaks of place and wonderful with rustic cuisine, especially wild mushroom dishes, grilled meats and or hard sleep cheeses.

La Fiorita gained a lot of notoriety in 2011 when adult film actress and wine fanatic, Natalie Oliveros, joined forces with Roberto Cipresso, one of Montalcino’s top winemakers who had founded this label back in 1992, and has helped raise the game, now with Vincenzo Pirrone as winemaker, putting La Fiorita in the upper echelon of producers. Natalie Oliveros confidently took over the Estate, and she pushed the shift towards organic viticulture here and in 2014 she planted her Giardinello site, which is showing a lot of promise, as well as adding a forth vineyard, then she turned her attention to her cellars which she modernized into an all gravity fed winery. The La Fiorita winemaking is leaning toward a natural and traditional style, the team employs concrete tanks and old wood open top vats for primary fermentation and aged their wines in large Slavonian oak casks to preserve the properties unique terroir influences and personality. Natalie Oliveros born and bred in Northern New York owes a lot of her interest in wine, especially Italian, to her Calabrese “Nonna” grandmother who gave her an education steeped in her family history as well as exposing Natalie to wine and food culture, including making basement wine. Oliveros, formerly known as Savanna Samson, has made a seamless transition into her wine career, with humor and humility, overcoming some serious chauvinistic and prejudice issues with grace and passion, which is something we should admire, it has been a remarkable success story. I tasted through the latest set of wines from La Fiorita, the two Brunellos, both of which were stunning, from the highly acclaimed 2016 vintage, along with this 2018 garnet and ruby edged Rosso, that impressed me almost as much and is far less weighty on the wallet!
($30 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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