Wines of Lazio

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Written By Gilberto Mattei

Wines of Lazio: DOC, DOCG and IGT wines of Lazio

The passion for wines in Lazio has very ancient origins, one only has to think of the festivals of the ancient Romans, the bacchanals to give an idea of how wine in Lazio has always had an important history.

The wines of Latium have a wide territory available for cultivation, mainly hilly and sunny, while table grapes have their natural home more in the plains.

Latium wines in ancient Rome

In Roman times, the wine-growing areas of Latium were predominantly the Castelli Romani. At that time, wines from neighbouring Campania were actually the most popular, while among the wines of Latium, the only one that was really appreciated was Albano. This was the case despite the fact that the Frascati appellation was already well established in the area at that time and quite well-known.

Wine production in Lazio

Today, the wines produced in Lazio each year amount to no less than four million hectolitres, including almost one million hectolitres of DOC wines. The main types of grapes from which the vast majority of wines in Lazio are made are Bellone, Aleatico, Cesanese, Malvasia Bianca, Greco, Merlot, Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia Laziale. The latter, together with Malvasia di Candia, is one of the essential components in the production of Frascati wine.


Latium wines from the provinces

It is not only Rome that is the province from which the main DOC wines of Lazio originate. There are in fact fine wines produced in the province that have nothing to envy in terms of quality and organoleptic characteristics. This is the case of Cesanese produced in the province of Frosinone. Then there is Latina, which stands out for the production of Falerno and Sangiovese; let us not forget to mention the province of Viterbo, which we bring to the attention of gourmets for the production of Aleatico.

14 Brief history of wine and Latium

Bishop Johann von Fugger in the 12th century was on his way to Rome to attend the coronation of Emperor Henry V. Excellent drinker, he thought it best to be preceded by a trusted family member named Martino, whose job it was to discover the best wines offered by the taverns and to mark them, on the doors of the taverns, with the conventional term 'East'.

The journey passed between many stumbles, given the many stops, and unexpectedly ended in Montefiascone. Here, in fact, Martino had come across a Moscatello that had ignited his imagination, so much so that it prompted him to mark the fateful 'East' three times.

The prelate drank a lot of it until he died, and was buried in the basilica of San Flaviano. The tombstone, adorned with a coat of arms, bears the following epitaph:

"Est Est. Propter nimium Est Johannes Fugger dominus meus mortuus est".

This story is so well thought out that it seems true, but the distinguished art critic Corrado Ricci has managed to demolish it. The East is produced in the dry and amabile types: in terms of alcohol content it is not very strong, but overall has a fine texture. The former accompanies fish, the latter is for dessert or suitable for afternoon drinks.


Other wines from Lazio

The other very famous wine from Latium is Frascati, dear to many artists and poets who descended on Rome from all over the world. Ercole Patti suggests the best way to ascertain its genuineness: true Frascati 'must be as clear as amber in colour. A good drinker must recognise it just by looking at it, without tasting it. If, on the other hand, the colour is deep, the colour of barley sugar, then you can be sure that the wine is tainted and that who knows what devilry has been thrown into it'.

Frascati is but one of fifteen localities around Rome collectively designated as Castelli Romani. The other fourteen are:

Rocca Priora, Montecòmpatri, Monte Porzio Catone, Colonna, Grottaferrata, Rocca di Papa, Marino, Castel Gandolfo, Albano Laziale, Ariccia, Genzano di Roma, Nemi, Lanuvio and Velletri. There is more production of whites than of reds, in flavours sweet, amabile on the vein, dry or dry.


"If you really want to get to know these wines,' wrote the Englishman Charles G. Bode in 'Wines of Italy', 'it will not be a bad idea to take a day to visit the Castelli. You will find small osterias everywhere: in Rocca di Papa, Albano, Nemi, etc. And it will remain among the happy experiences to see the innkeeper descend into the depths of the cellar and return with your wine. A fresh veil of dew will spread around the carafe as soon as it comes into contact with the warmth of the environment above."


Red wines in Lazio

Predominant in the Latium region are the whites; the reds, not many, can be summed up in the oldest ones: Cesanese di Piglio, Serrane and Olévano Romano. Intense in colour, with a strawberry 'bouquet', almost never perfectly dry because a more or less pronounced vein of sweetness often emerges, they go well with game and other strong foods. Also worthy of mention are the wines of Aprilia, Anagni, Cerveteri, Cori, Nettuno, Anzio and finally Cécubo, which probably has only the name of the ancient.


The wines of Lazio are:

  • Est! Est!!! Est!!!
  • Marino
  • Frascati
  • Cesanese del Piglio
  • Atina
  • Aleatico di Gradoli
  • Aprilia Trebbiano
  • White Capena
  • Roman Castles
  • Cerveteri
  • Cesanese di Affile
  • Cesanese di Olevano Romano
  • Circeo Trebbiano
  • Albani Hills
  • Sabina Hills
  • Colli Etruschi Viterbesi
  • Colli Lanuvini
  • Choirs
  • Genazzano
  • Montecompatri Colonna
  • Neptune Bellone
  • Tarquinia
  • Terracina Muscat
  • Velletri
  • Vignanello
  • Zagarolo


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