Wine Wednesday: The Italian Wines of Lazio
There are a few reasons that the wines of Lazio aren't as well known as the wines from it's neighboring Italian regions, but just because they've been overshadowed by the likes of Chianti doesn't mean they should be overlooked. In fact, some of the wines here are finally getting some recognition, and deservedly so.
The most popular wines of the Lazio region, home to Rome, are often white wines, particularly those made in the region of Frascati. Known as a "golden wine" -- both for its price point and its color -- Frascati wines are largely considered a favorite of locals as an every day table wine.
Made with a blend of Greco, Trebbiano, and Malvasia grapes, there's actually quite a wide variety of these wines, ranging as they do from dry to sweet, and even from still to sparkling, depending on the ratios of the grapes.
But, surprisingly, it isn't these wines that are drawing more attention to winemaking in Lazio. Rather, it's the red grape Cesanese, which is an 'antique' grape of sorts, considering it's thought to date back to ancient Rome, specifically 133 BC!
Grown across more than 6,000 acres of vineyards, demand for Cesanese wines has started to increase, and the wines can be found throughout Lazio, including Piglio. This wine pairs particularly well with stick-to-your-ribs kind of meals, like lamb, gnocchi, polenta, and sausage dishes.
The various wines of region can be discovered during our La Cucina Romana in the Sabine Hills trip. The 6-night experience includes a cheese and wine tasting at the castle of Palombara Sabina as well a visit to a regional winery to learn about the winemaking process, and of course, have a tasting of wine. They also often offer special themed itineraries around an important aspect of their regional traditions - like wine!
While the red wines of Lazio are growing in popularity though -- as our tours of region shows -- white wines are still quite the favorite of locals. They're enjoyed alongside dinner, and used as ingredients in their recipes as well. For one, here's a recipe for Ciambelle al Vino (wine biscuits).
- 1 kg (2 lb 2 oz) flour
- 300 ml (10 1/2 oz) white wine
- 300 ml extra virgin olive oil
- 250 gr (8 3/4 oz) sugar
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- Anise, to taste
1. Combine and place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and anise on your work station.
2. Add to this mixture, the oil and wine, and then knead the dough.
3. Once the dough is properly mixed, form a loaf that is smooth and homogeneous. Then form this dough into donuts/biscuits.
4. Dip the donuts into a small bowl of sugar, and then arrange them in the pan already greased.
5. Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C (350°F).
Learn more about the wines of Lazio with one of our Italy culinary vacations.
By Liz Hall