Oh happy day! It’s Friday! This has been a week, hasn’t it? It’s been incredibly busy with work, but also with some family fun, dinners out, and time outdoors. When it hit 50, it felt like summer. I for one am completely over this wintry weather and ready for running in shorts and boating season. I suppose we do have some nice, summery evening light though, don’t we? I am anticipating working for most of the weekend, but looking forward to doing so in cozy pajamas, keeping warm and enjoying the quiet of home. I am craving quiet.
Today’s guest post from Sarah from Dark Rome Tours, is pretty timely, considering the world’s focus on Rome this week. It covers some lesser-known wine regions of Italy. I only wish I had this post before our last trip to Rome. While in Italy, I tried to drink wines from the region we were in on each stop, but I knew nothing about the wine region surrounding Rome.
Luckily, we have Sarah to shed some light on these wines.
Rome and the Lazio area are not exactly known for being the greatest in terms of Italian wines, but they do have a particular brilliance with white wines and possibly their most famous wine: Frascati. It is so famous in fact that you can find Frascati Wine Tours consistently. But what other vineyards and wineries could you come across in the capital city area?
The Castelli Romani
Slightly south of Rome you can find the collection of vineyards that often are called the Castelli Romani due to that being the type of wine grape they grow in that area. Many of these wines come with some interesting hints of tastes thanks to the volcanic lakes that surface in the same area and the ways these grapes are often used for their wine. Many of the vineyards in this area do produce the Frascati wine, but a select few also provide other forms of dry and sweet white wines like from the grapes Puntinata and Trebbiano.
The Orvieto Zone
Heading north of Rome you can find the Orvieto area, which provides another selection of white wines, which are not actually Frascati. In fact this area had become famous with its vineyards for some wines named after the zone. The Orvieto Abboccato and the Dolce are probably the most known wines, but they are also produced in such small quantities that if you manage to get some bottles whisked away from the Roman area, you are probably among the few to do so.
Most of the wines they produce are dry with a lack on the sweet, and utilize Grechetto and Trebbiano grapes commonly; however they have some of the most beautiful golden-yellow colors. Surprisingly this area also manages to produce a few red wines that are blended with some of their white grapes.
The Castle of Marino
Yet another neighbor to the Frascati wines, the hilltop castle town of Marino happens to produce a wine of the town’s name, which utilizes grapes of the Frascati but in a different manner. Due to the other types of crops grown in Marino, this white wine manages to pull in flavors similar to artichokes. It also happens to benefit from the volcanic soil of the area, since it is technically near or sometimes considered in the Castelli Romani.
The greatest spectacle for this town happens to be their grape festival, which has supposedly produced a white wine fountain in the center of town during the festival. It can be one of the most interesting and exciting spots to check out. The Marino wine also happens to hold a slightly sweeter yet also more dry texture than the Frascati, and many people prefer it better due to a greater intensity of flavours that can be found in it.
The Cesanese Comune
The Cesanese wine is probably the most famous actual red wine of the Lazio region. This red wine is also quite sweet due to it generally being blended with a mix of the sweet white wines from the Lazio region. This wine happens to be one of the best to have with most normal Roman foods, due to it going well as a pairing to anything with tomatoes in it. This is why the Cesanese wine has managed to obtain the name around Roman locals for being the ‘King of Wines’. The Cesanese is actually grown in a couple of different places across Italy, but usually produced in the Lazio area, and best done there because of the soil and sweet wine grape combinations added to it.
The berries of the Cesanese in the Lazio area happen to come at a rather large size, almost akin to normal edible grapes. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that this Red wine actually manages to maintain a fruity yet spicy smell and taste.
Do not fret if you don’t manage to find a wine suited to your tastes in the Roman area, because they are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast amount of Italian wines available. If you don’t enjoy the wines you find from a simple wine tasting of the region, then you can always move further into the areas of Italy that are more known for having some wonderful choices for the most exquisite wines.
Sarah Murphy has worked in Dublin for the last two years as a blogger, web content manager and marketing coordinator. A journalist by training and travel junkie by nature, she regularly travels to Italy for both business and to experience some of the Rome tours where she mostly spends her time in search of the perfect gelato.