2009 Cesanese di Olevano Romano – Compagnia di Ermes

It’s hopping at TWH as our customers are taking full advantage of our 36th Anniversary Sale. So in between ringing up orders, answering phone calls, and re-stocking wine, I will do my best to put down a few short and sweet words for this weekend’s pick. The savings are deep in Bordeaux and in Burgundy, but do not forget, we sell wine from all over the world!  The 2009 Cesanese di Olevano Romano from Compagnia di Ermes is a relatively new acquisition. Originally, I had brought in the wine to include in our monthly Dirty Dozen, but we kept selling out before it made it into the sampler. It was obvious we needed to buy more; it was quickly finding a fan base. As the vintage came to a close, we swooped up all we could and are now offering it at an even more attractive bottle price. But since it is our 36th Anniversary Sale, we’ve added a bonus: A Special Full Case price of $100!!! 

$100 a case for a decent red wine is a good deal, but this is NOT an ordinary red. Cesanese is the name of the grape and the appellation. Cesanese di Olevano Romano is located in the hills just south of Rome, within the region of Lazio, and is a native varietal for the region. Historically, it was over-cropped, thus producing simple, humble wine. In 2003, three friends who are winemakers and vineyard owners from Lazio decided to pool their talent in order to elevate this unique grape and to make the best Cesanese possible under the name Compagnia di Ermes. The 2009 is full and broad on the palate. Though it sees no time in oak, the impression is of a wine that does, given its concentrated fruit. Flavors of plum and pomegranate dominate, with undertones of dried brush and herbs that drift in and out of reach. I’ve had many, many bottles of this wine and I have yet to really nail down that herb note…is it leafy, savory, or dusty? In many ways this Cesanese reminds me of dry reds from Portugal’s Dao district, but like so many native varietals that are given their due with careful growing practices, limiting yields and attentive winemaking, it displays a uniqueness all its own. 

I visited Rome once and it was memorable. I had avoided traveling there previously, foolishly listening to naysayers. Rome is an amazing city seeping in history. Plus, I had excellent meals, including many bowls of one of my favorite all-time pasta sauces, Amatriciana. What I wouldn’t give right now for a bowl of that tangy, porky, tomatoey pasta and a large goblet of the 2009 Cesanese from Compagnia di Ermes to wash it all down. It warms me just thinking about it sitting here inside our frigid warehouse. The hustle and bustle of end of year activity is in full swing. Keeping a case of this gorgeous red on hand will save you time and effort, allowing you to quickly grab a bottle as you rush down to meet the taxi cab on your way out to the next dinner party. Unexpected drop-ins? No problem, pull the cork, or two, on this unique red and not worry that you’ve blown your budget. I can assure you, I will be taking yet another case home with me! – Anya Balistreri
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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Cesanese, Lazio

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