Our first wine from Lazio is from the Frascati DOC. Similar to Lombardy, Lazio is one of the most important regions of Italy when it comes to just about everything except wine. It is the third most largely populated region (to my surprise, Campania is second after Lombardy) and of course home to Italy’s capital and most populous city, Rome. The Frascati DOC is one of the three most well known white wine regions of Lazio (which, if we’re being honest, isn’t saying all that much), alongside the Castelli Romani DOC and the Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone DOC (which has one of my favorite stories behind it’s name, but more on that later). The Frascati DOC is contained entirely within the Castelli Romani DOC, sitting just southeast of Rome (the Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone DOC lies north of Rome), alongside a handful of other Lazio DOCs. The area is hilly, with volcanic soils that date back thousands of years and are very rich in potassium.
Wines from the Frascati DOC are always white, and involve four primary grapes: Trebbiano Toscano, Greco, Malvasia di Candia, and Malvasia di Lazio. The last two grapes are very similar in name, but are actually completely different grapes, similar to the difference between Trebbiano Toscano and Trebbiano di Soave, the latter being one of the main blending grapes used in the Soave DOC. Wines produced in the Frascati DOC must be made from at least 70% Malvasia di Candia and/or Trebbiano Toscano, with a maximum of 30% Greco and/or Malvasia di Lazio. Traditionally Frascati has been fermented on it’s skins, similar to the process used for making red wine, giving the wines a golden color and more body. Some modern producers, however, choose not to follow this practice, opting instead for crisper wines that tend to be lighter in body.
This wine comes to us from Fontana Candida, a well known Frascati producer that is part of the Banfi portfolio of wines. It has the designation Superiore, which means it has been aged longer than a regular Frascati needs to be. It has a light, clear appearance that is lemon in color. The nose is clean and somewhat light, with a little toastiness, which indicates that the wine probably spent a little extra time in contact with yeast during the fermentation process. Other notes are slightly floral, as well as mineral and vegetal. The palate is dry, with medium acidity and body. Light citrus flavors come across along with lemon, green fruit, and a crisp minerality. There is a lingering tartness as well that hints at grapefruit. The finish is medium in length, with the alcohol (13.5% ABV) noticeable on the back of the tongue. Overall it is a nice and crisp wine, very refreshing.