Great Winemakers: Roberto Cipresso, Master of Brunello

Roberto Cipresso

Roberto Cipresso is one of Tuscany’s most illustrious enologists, wine writers and wine educators.  Although he is widely recognized and awarded for his winemaking and writing talents within Italy, he is not well known among wine enthusiasts in the United States.  In this note, we focus the spotlight on Roberto Cipresso and his many achievements.

Born in Bassano di Grappa, in the Veneto region of Italy, Roberto Cipresso completed his agricultural studies and moved to Tuscany in 1987.  He began his winemaking career in Montalcino at the outstanding estate of Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona, which we recently wrote about.  In 2006, he and two partners founded Fattoria La Fiorita, located in the hamlet of Castelnuovo dell’Abate in the southeastern sub-region of Montalcino.  Roberto is co-owner and serves as winemaker at La Fiorita.

La Fiorita is a small, outstanding estate that produces a modern-style, high quality Brunello from old vineyards located around the hamlet in different micro-climates.  In Report #31 Brunello di Montalcino, the IWR rated the 2007 La Fiorita Brunello 93 points with the following tasting note:  “This is a stylish Brunello exhibiting a medium dark ruby color and displays black cherry fruit aromas with a hints of licorice on the nose.  It is fresh and lively on the palate with a soft lush mouth feel of concentrated dark fruit and tastes of forest floor, mushroom and exotic spice.  It has round firm tannins on the finish with loads of fruit and is very stylish.”

In 1995 Roberto started WineCircus, an experimental winery in Montalcino, where ideas and projects are shared in hopes of solving problems and thus learning more about the winemaking process. This project led to another, Wine Tailoring, which aims to ‘tailor’ wines for specific clients.  In addition to his winemaking and consulting, Roberto has written three books, Il Romanzo del Vino (for which he won the Veronelli prize), Vinosofia, and Vineide.  He is considered one of the world’s top wine consultants, has published in numerous wine magazines and has won numerous winemaking awards.  In 2009 he was named “Italian Winemaker of the Year” by the Merano Wine Festival; in that same year, the winery for which he consults in Argentina, Bodega Achával-Ferrer, was selected as “Winery of the Year” by Wine & Spirits Magazine. [In our Report #26 The Diverse Wines of Argentina we rated the wines of Bodega Achával-Ferrer among the very best of Argentina.] In addition, bottles from his first Brunello vintage were auctioned off at Christie’s in New York.

Already famous for his achievements in Italy and Argentina, Roberto Cipresso is rapidly gaining recognition in Europe and North America as one of the world’s elite winemakers.

Dana Rubsam, IWR Research Associate

Venice, Italy

July 2012

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