Coenobium – a hard to pronounce wine made by nuns

“Pass some more of the nun wine.”

I overheard someone say that at the other end of my table recently. Not Blue Nun, mind you. But a wine actually made by nuns!

Since the Trappist monks in Belgium still make (and market) Chimay beer, I was pleased to discover that Trappist (Cistercian) nuns still make wine in Lazio, a little to the north of Rome.

The wine in question, Coenobium from the Monastero Suore Cistercensi, is a blend of Trebbiano, Malvasia, and Verdicchio. If you’re looking for a fresh, breezy, fruity, summer quaffer, look to other wines. This white has an oxidative quality that blankets layers of minerals, faint nuttiness, and acidity. The reason these grapes produce such complexity is in large part because the consultant winemaker, the acclaimed naturalista Giampiero Bea, has left the wine in contact with the skins, unusual for a white. They actually make another wine with even longer skin contact called “Rusticum.”

It’s a wine of contemplation that I happened to serve on my deck on a cool summer evening, a context that I think made it more appealing than on a searing hot day.

To finish off our unofficial women and wine week, here’s a picture of the nuns in the vineyards with Giampiero Bea.

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10 Responses to “Coenobium – a hard to pronounce wine made by nuns”

  1. Howard Goldberg quipped on Twitter:

    “Actually it’s easy to pronounce once you get into the habit.”

  2. This Saturday, all the comments cam in on Twitter! Too bad I don’t have a plugin enabled to capture the comments from there. Here’s a sampling (user handle is before the colon):

    winechapNYC: LOVE Coenobium. pairs well with the Eucharist.

    SSMMW: @howardggoldberg @drvino – you just gotta have a little faith…

    RandallGrahm: RT @seriouslywine: Coenobium – a hard to pronounce wine made by nuns – This wine is absolutely magnificent.

    RandallGrahm: @howardggoldberg And I’d really like to get into the habit, as Groucho might suggest

    JamesSuckling: thought Blue Nun! Hahahaha!

    JParadisee: The sisters that make the wine also happen to be sisters!

    etouchcriminal: Love this wine. Wish I was still selling it.

    chapsholic: This is some good juice.

    educatedpalates: A good thing we all like it-I’d worry abt insulting nuns

    franklywines: Coenobium = summer nuns. Rusticum for winter nuns

    nyplayful1: 1st time I had it was @inoteca. It was love at 1st sip

    cathycorison: You go girls!

  3. But I still think Howard had the best comment, bar nun.

  4. I feel like this has been the wine everyone has been talking about all year. I was so excited that when we stopped for a sandwich while following the cyclists during the Tour of California and I discovered that the store stocked it, I bought the rest of their stock.

    It was also my favorite of my Giro wines.

    Fun stuff.

  5. Fantastic, I have to try it!

  6. […] Coenobium: A hard to pronounce wine made by nuns – Dr. Vino […]

  7. I bought a bottle of this last night from Red and White Wine in Chicago and can’t wait to drink it tonight!


  8. I love this wine. Can anyone recommend wines with a similar oxidative flavor profile? I’m so sick of tart, crisp, refreshing whites. Thanks.

  9. […] 30 miles north of Rome, the Coenobium wines are produced on site at Monastero Suore Cistercensi. There the nuns of Cistercensi tend the grapes […]

  10. I know it’s been awhile, but in response to John, try Vina Tondonia from spain for nutty oxidized whites & roses! Also, check out yellow wines from the Jura (region) in France!


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