Formiconi ‘Cisianum’ Cesanese d’Affile, Affile, Lazio, Italy 2015
GRAPE: 100% CESANESE [chey-sah-NEH-zeh d-ah-FEE-lay]
Cesanese d’Affile, from Affile, certainly takes on a richer personality than the other neighboring examples and perhaps most closely represents the type of Cesanese wines that first gave it its popularity throughout the centuries when it was cherished by Roman Emperors and generations of Popes. The grape itself lends to a wide range of different flavors and textures in wine and has successfully shown that it can produce great results from rosés to reds, from sweet passito to even sparkling wine. So it stands to reason that, finally, Cesanese may soon have its day. Finally. The recent arrival of some young talent, modern approach (and by modern, I don’t mean ‘modern style’ wines) and technique in winemaking, has started the Cesanese journey towards a new identity and (finger crossed) a new wave of great red wine from Lazio.
GROWER: Formiconi is a fairly new production to the area – one that has been brought on by a new generation of winemakers – those that have had the ever important A-Ha! moment – that they could be doing things better. The Formiconi brothers always knew that their father not only had an incredibly special vineyard site, but also that he had nurtured the vines so well for so many years that they had the makings of a wine that could be next-level. They launched the family named brand in 2002 and the production was miniscule at first. Not that things have exploded in size since then as there are only about 7000 total bottles of ‘Cisianum’ made each year. They have become an important part in the new story of Lazio wines and they are proud to be able to showcase the potential that Cesanese and the Affile appellation have to offer.
GLASS: Clearly darker and more saturated on all counts than the Silene. Steeped with cooking spices and violets, ripe black cherries and baked strawberries – it shows how super versatile Cesanese can be. That savory backbone of black pepper cured salumi intertwined with a hint of bitter herbs and a waft of tar gives this wine a brooding deepness that makes it a food pairing rockstar. I just had this with a wood fire pizza with bechamel, mushrooms and black truffles and I am still drooling. Sorry, I’m sure you are now too.
SIDE NOTES: For too long, the unending sea of tourists visiting an Enoteca or Trattoria in Rome were presented with wine options almost exclusively from Tuscany. These days you’ll find the type of local pride in presenting one of Formiconi’s wines that has made a significant effect on the growing popularity of Cesanese.