- Cabernet Sauvignon
THROUGH THE HISTORY
Lazio has a mixed landscape, made up of volcanic land around lakes, hill country and drained marshland (the Pontine Marshes), which give rise to a wide variety of wine. It is primarily a land of white wines: with 36 certified DOCG (controlled and guaranteed designation of origin), DOC (controlled designation of origin) and IGT (typical geographical indication), Lazio is the equal of other regions, and Rome heads the list in terms of production areas and, among other things, for having obtained Italy's first DOCG certification for its famous Frascati. But every province has more than one outstanding product. A few examples among many are Cesanese del Piglio (Frosinone), Moscato di Terracina (Latina), Colli della Sabina (Rieti) and l'Aleatico di Gradoli, Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone, Colli Etruschi Viterbesi (Viterbo).
The hill country to the south-east of Rome, known as the Roman Castles (Castelli Romani), is Lazio's most important wine-growing area. This is an ancient land, dotted with Medieval villages and villas, carpeted with woods and vineyards, and the traditional place for day trips from the city. In the vineyards white grapes predominate: Malvasia and Trebbiano in several varieties; then there is Bellone, Bombino, Greco and other local cultivars. Red varieties include Cesanese, Sangiovese and Montepulciano, alongside Merlot, Ciliegiolo and Bombino Nero. The entire area is covered by the Castelli Romani DOC certification, which includes primary production and covers several local wines such as Frascati; then there are the DOC areas of Montecompatri, Colonna, Zagarolo, Cori, Velletri, Colli Lanuvini, Colli Albani and Marino.
Where Rome meets Frosinone we enter the Ciociaria area, and the vast area planted with Cesanese vines, an indigenous red grape variety which gives rise to both dry and sweet red wines. This is often blended with Barbera, Montepulciano and Sangiovese, sometimes with the addition of Trebbiano Toscano and Bombino Bianco. The DOC labels here combine the grape variety with the names of the three production areas: Olevano Romano and Affile in the province of Rome; Piglio in the Alto Frusinate. Finally, Genazzano holds the area's fourth DOC certification, producing both red and white wines.
The province of Latina is a newcomer on the Lazio wine scene. Over time, although the white wines are important, it is the reds which have prevailed, to become the emblem of local wine-growing.The first area to be developed as vineyards was Aprilia, which now bears its own DOC certification. Very recently the coastal area between Latina and Terracina has received recognition with the Circeo denomination, deservedly referring to the promontory which is the area's foremost feature.
In Viterbo province, the volcanic soils surrounding Lake Bolsena provide a particularly favourable habitat for vines. Here white grapes take priority, such as the Toscano and Giallo varieties of Trebbiano, and Malvasia. The most famous of these is Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone; worth a mention among the reds is Aleatico, which has its own DOC in Gradoli. Both areas are also covered by the wider Colli Viterbesi DOC. There are two DOC areas: Tarquinia in Viterbo province, and Cerveteri in Rome.
The province of Rieti, with a large part of its territory in the Apennines, has one DOC, Colle della Sabina, shared with the province of Rome, which follows the right bank of the Tiber for almost its entire length.