When you drink a bottle of fine wine, smell the aromas of its land and identify the little nuances transmitted to your palate, you taste also the expression of nature and personality. Nature is obviously a fundamental component in the making of wine. However, the crucial impact of its end-result is the personality behind the process of making that product. So, to complete your tasting experience, I would like to you meet Roberto Cipresso, an icon of the wine making process, and consultant for various wineries in Italy and around the world, nominated Best 2006 Winemaker by the Italian Sommelier Society.
Gabrio : Roberto, welcome to New York and thanks for being here for this interview.
Roberto: Thanks Gabrio! It’s a pleasure!
G: Let’s talk about the beginning of your career. Is there a character that left a mark with you and helped develop your career?
R: Well, there are a lot of people, producers especially. When you develop the passion for wine, then, a great curiosity is triggered and that’s when my never-ending journey started. So, I’ve met numerous “vignaioli” friends, or rather, wine-makers who have become my friends and each one of them has had and has something important to say. Most of all, I got closer to the older producers, the ones who have lived in strict contact with the land and have been able to tell me things… real things about wine and about life.
G: After getting your education, followed the classical training period, which we all have to face, then your first job: what do you remember?
R: Oh my God! That was a strange experience. It started in 1986. I was into mountain climbing and skiing. One excursion went wrong, and that pushed me away from that passion. Since I was studying in San Michele all’Adige at the time, I was given the great opportunity to meet with Gianfranco Soldera and move to Montalcino. There, I worked at his estate Case Basse. From there, I started moving with others, like Poggio Antico, until I found a truly steady ground working for Ciacci Piccolomini of the Bianchini family, who had recently inherited a property in Montalcino and gave me the opportunity to express myself by assigning me role of executive director of the project. In a short period of time we were able to plant new vineyards, reorganize the cellar and improve the whole productive process, allowing Ciacci Piccolomini, an estate unknown at the time, worth to be highlighted on the Montalcino map thanks to the power, the complexity and the freshness of its wines. With the very great success of the 88 and especially the 90 vintages, my career as a consultant/wine maker has taken a turn, increasing my curiosity to look at various vineyards and vines from all over the “boot” and the world. In Italy I worked in some regions like Veneto, Friuli, Piedmont, Toscana Marche Sicilia and Sardinia. Outside of Italy, I’ve been in interesting places like Croatia, Spain and Argentina, a land where I left a piece of heart that is has been giving me a lot of satisfaction.
G: After that, you decided to strengthen your Montalcino roots and became partner of La Fiorita. Tremendous start! First bottling in 1993; the old production was bought by Giorgio Pinchiorri, owner of Enoteca Pinchiorri, and, then, auctioned in part at Cristie’s. Now, from the little I know about you, you talk to the vines. So tell me: what did you feel when you found the vineyards for your estate and what makes La Fiorita different from other estates in Castelnuovo dell’Abate?
R: La Fiorita, like if often happens for the most beautiful things, was a lucky discovery. I’m from Bassano della Grappa, and I met up with two people who had nothing to do with wine. In fact, they were involved in car racing, more specifically rally, Micky Biason and Tiziano Seviero, who fell in love with Montalcino during their races and decided to start a small, microscopic project. So, I found a piece of land with two olive trees and a shack on it and we started like that; a place to hang out, eat meat and drink good wine among friends more than anything else. Then, my two partners began taking on different projects and I took more interest into that estate and started looking around, gathering new vineyards, putting a lot of myself into it, and trying to express an maximize the expression of the terroir.
Buona Bevuta a Tutti