April Wine Notes

April 2022 – Lazio

 Being the center of the Roman Empire, it is no surprise that vine growing was widespread. But even before the Romans, it all began with the Etruscans sometime in 900 BC who spread agriculture and winemaking traditions throughout central Italy. The region has it all: volcanic soil, areas with a maritime influence, mountains, lakes, sandy coastline soil and islands. Lazio is famous for white wine production using grape varieties of Trebbiano, Malvasia di Candia and Malvasia Puntinata. When blended together, they produce the wines with great refreshing acidity and beautiful scents of candy fruits, Mediterranean herbs, blossom and apricot. Although most of the wine produced is white, Lazio is home to many serious reds, like Cesanese grape that has a distinctive spicy character and is grown only in Lazio, making it truly unique to the area

 

Wines from Lazio are still relatively hard to find outside of the region, and not flooding the international market, so this time we will have some samples from neighboring Tuscany, Umbria and Molise.

Fontana Candida, Frascati, 2020
Region: Lazio
Grape:  60% Malvasia Bianca di Candia, 30% Trebbiano Toscano, 10% Malvasia del Lazio

Throughout the world, Fontana Candida is synonymous with Frascati. This ancient wine, born in the Roman hills, has deservedly been called “the wine of popes and of the people.” While the popes drank Frascati daily, the people would only drink it on important Vatican occasions. It is said that during the papal elections of Innocent X (Giambattista Pamphili in 1644) and of Clement X (Emilioi Altieri in 1670), Frascati spouted from the fountains, the marble nostrils of Marcus Aurelius’ horse and the lions of the Capitol to the delight and amusement of the people.

This wine has a delicate fragrance of wild flowers and golden delicious apples. It is dry, soft and fruit forward, with a lively taste that offers notes of peach and almonds.

Di Majo Norante, 2018
Region: Molise
Grape: 100% Cabernet

Di Majo Norante has been making wine from grapes ever since 1800, as is evidenced by the old cellars underneath the square and in the old family building at Campomarino. This noble red is made from 100% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon that is hand-harvested in October and vinified in stainless steel tanks.  The unique landscape and terroir of Molise create a delicious expression of this international varietal. Deep ruby-red in color, aromas of baked plums and black fruits complement undertones of cassis, tobacco leaf, leather, and sweet spice.  On the palate it has rich tannins and good acidity.

Poggio le Volpi Roma Rosato, 2020
Region: Lazio
Grape:  Montepulciano, Cesanese, Nerobuono

Poggio le Volpi winery is located in Monte Porzio Catone, near Rome. Mario Mergè began cultivating vines and producing wine and olive oil in the ’20s and passed on his passion to his son Armando, who eventually replaced him at the helm of the company and then sold it in turn to his son Felice, the current owner and wine expert. The Roma Rosato, the last born at Poggio Le Volpi, goes to expand the “Rome” family; it is a wine with a bright color, perfumed and persuasive, intense to the taste, elegant and with great versatility. This fresh, fragrant and savory wine has notes of wild rose, wild berries, strawberries, mediterranean herbs.

Casale Del Giglio Rosso, 2019
Region: Lazio
Grape: Cesanese

Casale del Giglio was founded in 1967 by Dr. Berardino Santarelli. Unlike other parts of the Latium region, or other regions of Italy, this territory was still uncharted in viticultural terms when he and his son Antonio launched their research project in 1985. With their focus on raising the bar, and working alongside Trentino Oenologist, Paolo Tiefenthaler (in collaboration with distinguished research institutions)  they began experimenting with grape varietals and best practices gleaned the world over. It was then Padre and Figlio Santarelli formed Casale Del Giglio, judiciously converting property in the Agro-Pontino Valley (50 km south of Rome) into a world-class vineyard and winemaking operation.

The Cesanese grape is grown only in Lazio, making it truly unique to the area.This variety hails from the Latium Province of Frosinone, once inhabited by the ancient Volsci tribe who conquered the town of Satricum in 488 BC and ruled supreme until the Romans established a colony there in 385 BC. Deep ruby red. Intense aromas of marasca cherry, typical of late varieties, followed by spicy notes of white pepper, black pepper and violet. The mouthfeel is soft, with persistent tannins and pronounced acidity. 

Casale Del Giglio Bianco, 2020
Region: Lazio
Grape: Bellone

Another indigenous grape varietal in Casale Del Giglio’s portfolio cited by Pliny the Elder and present in the Latium region since Roman times.

Today the grape is cultivated on the Roman hills and beyond to the hinterland of the coastal town of Anzio, where, in warm sandy soils tempered by a relentless sea breeze, the grape has found an ideal microclimate.

The wine evokes sunshine and ripe tropical fruit such as mango and papaya, carefully balanced by a marked acidity which makes it suitable for long bottle aging. Rich, ample, and lingering on the palate with light floral and spicy notes.

 

PoderNuovo Therra, 2015
Region: Tuscany
Grape: Montepulciano, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot

The quest for excellence and love for nature has always been a passion of the Bulgari family and has brought about intense research and development of the different potentialities of the local terroirs.Today Podernuovo uses geothermal sources to heat and cool the entire wine production and aging process. Solar power plants for energy and a non-invasive architecture guarantee a harmonic approach to the landscape.Therra has a ruby red color with dark purple and almost black hues. Hints of wild berries and blueberries with smoked and toasted final notes. Pretty cherry stone aromas; lovely weight and balance on the palate. An altogether beautifully crafted wine with a long, gently smoky, finish.

Ricasoli, 2013
Region: Chianti, Tuscany
Grape: Sangiovese

Baron Francesco Ricasoli has been at the helm of the winery since 1993 and with the deepest respect for his renowned ancestors, he has guided the estate in innovation and sustainable vineyard practices. The 3,000 acre estate includes 580 acres of sustainably farmed vineyards, ranging in altitude from 800 to 1,500 feet. Each plot is harvested and fermented separately with meticulous dedication. This opens with pretty floral aromas that recall violet and iris together with a whiff of dark berry. The bright palate delivers juicy black cherry, crushed cranberry, clove and dried anise.

Colpetrone Montefalco Rosso,2015
Region: Umbria
Grape: Sagrantino

Founded in 1995 with the construction of the current winery, it is one of the most important wineries of the Montefalco DOCG district. Sagrantino, a native grape of this area, is considered one of the most ​ancient of Italy. 

This gorgeous silky blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino and Merlot is barrel aged for a year, this is a serious red with mellow complexity, plus the freshness and silky tannins to age.

Argillae Orvietto Superiore, 2020
Region: Umbria
Grape: Grechetto, Procanico, Malvasia, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc

Argillae takes its name from “argilla,” the Italian word for “clay,” which is particularly abundant in the soil in the northwest part of Umbria; the winery is set in the hills northwest of Orvieto, and boasts some 1600 acres of land, of which more than 400 are planted with vines. 

Orvieto is Umbria’s and one of Italy’s most famous white wines and Argillae is   paying homage to its regional tradition creating this fresh dry wine, with intense aromas of flowers, citrus and tropical fruits.