The region of the capital of Italy, Rome, was at the heart of the ancient Roman Empire.
Lazio is a region in central Italy, and home to the ancient capital city of Rome. The region’s reputation is mainly based on its white wines, the mainstay grape varieties being Trebbiano, Malvasia di Candia and Malvasia Puntinata.
The volcanic hills provide an excellent base for viticulture thanks to the fertile and porous (well-drained) land. Nourishment for the grapes is provided by lava and tufa soils, rich in potassium. This type of soil is particularly suited to white grapes as it ensures a good balance of acidity.
This grape takes its name from the shepherds who used to eat its berries while accompanying their sheep’s flocks up and down the valleys searching for food. Pecorino is usually delicately herbal with balsamic nuances and with crisp apple and pear aromas and flavors. As the wine ages, it develops an almost milky, cheesy aroma. Acidity is high in these typically medium-bodied wines.
The Passerina grape is a hardy variety that can be quite complex and special, with herbal notes, ripe citrus, and tropical fruit flavors and high acidity. Passerina is used to make sparkling wine as well.
Malvasia del Lazio is a white grape that is also called Malvasia Puntinata, which means speckled, due to the appearance of the grapes which have rust colored spots on ripe berries. Malvasia wines presents spicy aromas of musk and apricot with rather high residual sugar levels that is particularly suitable for the production of sparkling wines and sweet wines.
Cesanese is one of the most important red grapes in the Lazio region and was very popular with Papal Rome and high society. This wine profile is moderate in acidity with well-balanced tannins on the palate, red fruit aroma, and vanilla with a bitter finish. Herbaceous and savory wines like Cesanese will taste more fruit-forward when paired with a rich, meaty dish.
Lazio is home to roughly 27 DOC titles, representing a varied collection of wines. Three DOCs stand out in terms of profile, led by the Malvasia based Frascati just to the southeast of Rome. Frascati itself is one of a number of picturesque fortified towns around which the Castelli Romani appellation is based. Cesanese is the historic red wine from the Piglio area, a favorite of princes and popes. Despite historical Roman extravagance, Lazio cooking is simple and down to earth, putting together products from the region's volcanic soils. Best-loved foods are bread, cheese, lamb, olives, fresh vegetables (particularly wild greens), locally produced. Additionally, Lazio enjoys the influence of Jewish cuisine.