Cesanese. Say it with me: “che-zuh-nay-zay”

Damiano Ciolli

Damiano Ciolli, Birk O’Halloran and Leticia at Vinitaly 2013.

There are very few wines indigenous to the region of Lazio, and even fewer from the area close to Roma.  That’s what makes the Cesanese grape so very special.  It’s unique, it’s esoteric, and it makes a seriously delicious wine in hands of capable and passionate winemaker like Damiano Ciolli.Silene

His straight-forward Cesanese “Silene” is matured in large, neutral barrels.  The wood does much less to flavor the wine than it does to simply help the exchange of oxygen during maturation.  It’s a decidedly savory wine with notes of wild sage, wet earth and blackberry.  Deep and rich- this wine is a shining example of the potential of Lazio’s wine making terroir.

I will be visiting this estate in person soon- can’t wait to see the vineyards in person and to revisit the wines closer to their birthplace.  Damiano Ciolli himself is a sweet, jovial, handsome young winemaker, with a tendency to speak in rapid-fire, heavily-accented Italian.  I am already equally as excited to see him again as I am terrified of attempting to translate for him.  A presto, Damiano.  Bravo!