Monastero Suore Cistercensi "Benedic" Lazio Rosso 2021

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2019 Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo It’s difficult to believe that we are preparing to receive our fifteenth vintage from the sisters of Monastero Suore Cistercensi. Led by Adriana and Fabiola (pictured left), this convent of 70 Cistercian nuns has been organically farming their five hectares of vines in Vitorchiano, Lazio, since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until the legendary Giampiero Bea began advising them in the early 2000s that their wines gained a larger audience. The sisters produce a very small amount of red wine: a blend of roughly equal parts Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo, with a splash of Merlot from a newly planted site near their historical holdings. Despite a two-week maceration, Benedic is always a pale-colored, translucent wine that more than makes up for in charm what it lacks in power. High toned and bursting with red fruit, almost jammy yet incredibly lifted and quaffable on the palate, this is a quintessential warm-weather red. An appealing hint of balsamic on the nose underlines the link between the nuns and Bea and speaks to the wine’s lack of manipulation, and the palate offers macerated cherries, black tea, and an intriguing spice element vaguely reminiscent of red chilies. Note: Benedic performs best when served around cellar temperature, which emphasizes its innate freshness.