Lazio Wine Region
Hilly and mountainous areas represent about 80% of the surface of Lazio: Anti-apennine hills precede the calcareous slopes of the Apennine to the west.
Numerous lakes (Bolsena, Vico, Bracciano, Albano, Nemi) occupy ancient volcanic craters, with vineyards lying on hills that descend from these basins towards the coastal areas. The latter are mostly flat and very fertile, with a considerable concentration of fruit cultivations. The Circeo promontory and the gulf of Gaeta on the southern end of the coast are the only hilly maritime areas within the region.
Which are the main Denominations of Lazio?
Which are the main wine-growing areas in Lazio?
Each wine-growing area in Lazio feels like a region in its own right – soils, grape varieties, training systems, and winemaking traditions differ greatly from one area to another. At times, you will find similarities between the wines of some viticultural districts within Lazio and those of neighboring regions: for instance, the Tuscia area has strong ties to Umbria, while the Isole Pontine have a lot in common with the islands of Campania.
- Castelli Romani: Lying just south of Rome, the Castelli Romani area is one of the most important wine districts in the region. It houses a number of different denominations, among which Frascati stands out, yielding the largest volumes and holding unparalleled historical relevance. A blend of native white grapes like Malvasia Puntinata, Malvasia di Candia, Trebbiano Giallo, Trebbiano Verde and Trebbiano Giallo, Frascati ranges from simple, light, and fairly neutral to fairly complex, the distinctive volcanic salinity supporting a viscous and creamy structure. Top versions are usually labeled as “Superiore” or Riserva.
- Roma: the Roma DOC appellation covers the entire province of Roma, including Castelli Romani. It allows producers to take advantage of the glorious brand of the Eternal city by producing white wines with indigenous like Malvasia Puntinata and Bellone or Montepulciano-based reds.
- Ciociaria: Cesanese takes center stage in the Ciociaria region between the provinces of Rome and Frosinone, yielding some of Lazio’s finest reds in the Cesanese del Piglio, Cesanese di Olevano Romano and Cesanese di Affile denominations, each of which offers a slightly different take on the grape.
- Tuscia: the province of Viterbo corresponds to the ancient Etruscan Tuscia region, which still feels like a region within the region to our days. Centered around a volcanic system with numerous lakes, Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone is the key white wine in this area – a blend of Roscetto, Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianca Lunga grown on volcanic soils that mostly shines for its easy-drinking appeal enhanced by herbal freshness and zingy salinity. Sangiovese, Grechetto Rosso, Violone (Montepulciano) and Aleatico di Gradoli are just some of the many different reds, reflecting the sheer variety of terroirs.
- Agro Pontino: in the southern part of the province of Latina, the so-called Agro Pontino territory consists of large plains with sandy alluvial soils: once an inhospitable marsh, it proved fertile ground for international grape varieties (Chardonnay, Viognier, Merlot, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Petit Verdot).
- Cori: on the hills overlooking Agro Pontino, the township of Cori produces high-quality wines from the Nero Buono and Bellone grapes.
- Isole Pontine: the small islands of Ponza and Ventotene are culturally and geographically tied to Campania but belong to Lazio. Biancolella, Falanghina, Aglianico, and Piedirosso planted on their terraced slopes produce savory and spicy whites and light and easy-drinking reds.