The vineyards of the relatively young winery are located on a gentle slope around 200 meters above sea level
owned by the German entrepreneurial Börner family. It’s 40 kilometers to Rome, 25 to the sea. This puts the estate in the middle of Lazio, which initially makes wine connoisseurs frown. There are no famous wines here yet. After the first tasting, this state gives way to relaxed joy, because: the Chardonnay asserts itself confidently with Meursaults or Batard-Montrachets, the Cabernet blend outstrips the venerable Sassicaia and the Merlot is praised on a par with the Masseto. A crazy story about the finest drops.
The growing area
Lazio is by no means known for its outstanding wines. However, the actual cradle of European wine culture has the best climatic conditions. During the day, the fresh breeze blows in from the sea, at night the wind blows from the Albanian mountains – ideal conditions for the health of the leaves and grapes. A cool spring, plenty of sunshine in summer without extreme heat and a mild autumn ensure that the grapes ripen harmoniously without green notes, which is extremely important for the aromas and harmony of the wine. The volcanic soil, rich in minerals, gives the vines strength and an intense flavor. Low yields and hand-picked grapes guarantee purity and form the basis for ageing in the cellar. After fermentation, the wines are given the finishing touches with at least six months of ageing on the fine lees and the wonderful phenol exchange in small French oak barrels of varying degrees of toast. This is followed by maturation in the bottle, for which a great deal of time is also taken. Thanks to so much affection, the wines of Ômina Romana become something very special.
The Börner family and their winery
In 2007, the German-Italian Börner family went on vacation to Italy and thought about buying a summer home. They would certainly never have imagined that it would become an 80-hectare vineyard in the ancient municipality of Velletri, where Emperor Augustus was once born.
Daughter Katharina now runs the business, whose sensational wines won gold medals shortly after their market launch.
All in all, an amazing success, because it was only after the family vacation that the planting of the best vines began, which were selected on the basis of extensive analyses by the German Wine University in Geisenheim and combined with autochthonous varieties. Eleven red and seven white grapes grow on the estate today. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are cultivated – Petit Manseng and Tannat, as well as the indigenous Bellone and Cesanese and others.
Ômina Romana now has over 30 employees, led by oenologist Claudio Gori and agronomist Paula Pacheco, all of whom look after 70 hectares of vines and 10 hectares of olives.
The project continues to receive intensive support – and this is unique – from the universities in Geisenheim and Florence, the Instituto Tecnico Agrario Garibaldi in Rome and the Instituto di Ricerca sul campo agrario in Velletri. This means that the vines on Ômina Romana are probably the best documented of all. Not only does each plant have its own number. Each floor is closely observed and continuously described. New theories from the universities are tested and conclusions are drawn together, which ultimately has an extremely positive effect on the productivity of the winery and, above all, on the quality of the wines.
Both single-varietal wines and cuvées of astonishingly high quality, named after Roman gods, are currently available in shops and upmarket restaurants. We tasted Diana Nemorensis I 2017, a blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with elegance, robustness and plenty of lively power from nature – a symbol of Diana, the goddess of the hunt.
We continued with Ceres Anesidora I 2015, a selection of the best Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and thus a tribute to the Roman goddess of agriculture. This wine is powerful and opulent, lively and deep.
Thirdly, the Cesanese 2015, the noblest red grape variety in Lazio. This autochthonous wine is fruity and mineral, powerful and velvety at the same time, and its unique taste reflects the typical characteristics of the region.
The Chardonnay 2019, which is only grown in rows with Osund on sandy-loamy soil, is also extremely fine. A perfect white wine that can compete with the greats, extremely aromatic, with a strong character and minerality. Murmelz likes.
Vino e Opera – the opera festival
But so much enjoyment is not enough for the Börners. As a special experience for all the senses, the Vino e Opera event series takes place once a year in Ravello on the initiative of the family. A very special pleasure spectacle, because different musical styles such as classical, opera, jazz, pop and rock are artfully combined with the tasting of Ômina Romana wines.
The event came about because an artist told Anton Börner during a wine tasting that he could hear music in his wines. Smell and taste created melodies, so that the artist finally assigned individual musical instruments to the wines, which were complemented with arias by an opera singer from Naples. Since then, the opera evening has opened the series of events that runs from mid-August throughout the summer.
A truly artistic experience for all the senses, because: the event on the Amalfi Coast is naturally rounded off with culinary magic, which is of course matched to the fine wines. At the most beautiful sunset – when the red sun sinks into the sea.
Ômina Romana – Mens et Manus, Mind and Hand. The finest wines from an underrated growing region in Italy. Murmelz likes!
Here is a video… “how it all began” at Ômina Romana
S.A.F. La Torre
Via Fontana Parata, 75
00049 Velletri (RM)