2021 Monastero Suore Cistercensi "Benedic" Rosso, Lazio, Italy

Juicy texture with crunchy red fruit, blood orange, and Mediterranean spices, this wine is perfectly suited to a slight chill. Those expecting power may be disappointed, but a wine this guileless is nearly impossible to dislike.



The sisters produce a very small amount of red wine: a blend of roughly equal parts Sangiovese and Ciliegiolo, augmented for the first time in 2018 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. 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.


Cistercian nuns has been organically farming their five hectares of vines in Vitorchiano, Lazio, since the early nineties, but it wasn’t until Bea began advising them in the early 2000’s that their wines gained a larger audience.

Fate can have lovely consequences. Giampiero Bea made the acquaintance of the Sisters of the Cistercian order living and working at their monastery in Vitorchiano, ninety minutes or so north of Rome in the Lazio district. Here at this quiet religious outpost eighty women of this religious order work vineyards and orchards and gardens organically.

Today, a ravenous US audience eagerly awaits each new release of “the nun wine." Even before Giampiero began helping them gently refine their approach and commercialize their wines—only to the US and Japan, it should be noted—he was struck by the frankness of a white wine produced with almost no technology. In a region rife with highly controlled, highly sulfured concoctions, here was a wine of real character, an unadorned expression of healthy grapes grown in a fascinating volcanic-soiled terroir. Each time we visit with the sisters, we are amazed by their warmth of spirit, their serene energy, and the shockingly spartan nature of their operation. The “winery” is nothing more than a toolshed packed to the gills with old steel tanks, fiberglass containers of various sizes, and glass demijohns tucked here and there—proving yet again that it takes the barest minimum to produce a wine of character and truth.


Grape(s) Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Merlot
Farming Organic