When most people think of Italian wine, they think of Chianti. But as the saying goes, when in Rome, do as the Romans do and your average Joe Roman isn’t guzzling down Chianti with his pasta lunch. For centuries the Rome wine of choice has come from the Frascati region nearby and that is what Joe Roman is still drinking today. And perhaps that is also the main reason that Frascati is often overshadowed by Chianti – it has never really had to put in the extra effort to sell itself. Rome has always provided an enthusiastic market for Frascati wine so fewer bottles have been sent further afield, making it an often difficult wine to find back home.
The most beloved of the nine Castelli Romani(Roman Castles) grown only a stone’s throw from Rome, Frascati wines are known to locals as “golden wine”, so-called for both their color and their value. The color comes from the fermentation process which, in this region is done with the grapes still ‘on their skins’. They are also considered great day-to-day wines since their palate is so agreeable and their price – usually only around €10 a bottle – is so reasonable.
Frascati (in the Lazio region of Italy) is best-known for its white wines. It can be hard to put a label on Frascati produce though since the blend is often so different. Many different types of grape are used in the production of the wines and different ratios of Malvasia, Trebbiano and Greco grapes make for a very varied palate. Wines can there fore vary from dry to sweet and from still to sparkling.
The region’s most popular wines are its white table wines which are generally quite refreshing and delicate in flavor. Also popular are its dessert wines, a rich golden color and surprisingly mild in flavor with an acidity and complexity that you don’t normally find in dessert wines. Historically the Frascati wines were a lot sweeter than they are today but most agree that any changes have been for the better.
Frascati is not just about white wines though. Many vineyards produce a reasonable amount of red wines too, with a range of varieties that stretches from Syrah to Cabernet Sauvignon and a lot in between. Frascati red wines tend towards the rich and complex.Also among the Frascati vineyards are a number of olive groves, where olive oil is produced for local and international consumption.
A trip to the Frascati region is a fantastic way to escape the hustle and bustle of Rome for a day and a chance to explore the beautiful, hilly region of Lazio. It’s also a great way to get some local insight, visiting traditional vineyards owned by noble families and sampling the wine that Romans have been drinking for centuries. If you are interested in doing a day trip to the Frascati region while you are in Rome, why not check out City Wonders Frascati Wine Tour, which takes in one of the oldest, most beloved vineyards this side of Rome – home to the noble Pallavicini family.