The Rise of Cesanese and Lazio Wine

An oft-neglected Italian grape is getting the attention it's long deserved.

Perhaps you’ve never heard of it, but Cesanese is poised to become one of the hottest rediscovered red grapes in central Italy. More importantly, it’s being credited with putting Lazio—the region of capital city Rome—on the nation’s wine map.

“Among the rare red wines of Lazio, Cesanese del Piglio is the most interesting,” says Rome-based wine historian Andrea Gabbrielli. “Today, the market wants wines with identity and personality and even though Cesanese is an antique variety, it represents an exciting new trend.”

With storied winemaking regions like Tuscany, Umbria and Campania as neighbors, Lazio’s winemaking identity has often been overshadowed. It’s largely associated with the quaffable wines of Frascati and the Castelli Romani served in clay pitchers at the neighborhood osterie of Rome to quench the thirst of their unruly patrons.

Cesanese gives credibility to Lazio’s growing wine culture. Produced near the hilltop hamlet of Piglio, Cesanese del Piglio is one of three Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) wine designations in Lazio. It boasts winemaking roots that date back to 133 B.C. and the ancient Romans who first recognized the favorable position and good soils of the area.

The DOCG area, which encompasses villages in the province of Frosinone, is sheltered by Monte Scalambra and the hills of Paliano and Anagni. Southwest exposures keep the climate temperate, and frost is rare. Soils are red and dark in color, and volcanic tufa stone is common in the Colli Albani area.

“Cesanese perfectly expresses its territory of origin,” says Claudio Latagliata, of Principe Pallavicini. “It is versatile and gives surprising results, considering that until recently Lazio was wrongly seen as devoted only to the production of white wines.” Cesanese, says Latagliata, is his estate’s best-selling wine.

There are two subvarieties of Cesanese: Comune (common) and d’Affile (with origins in the nearby town of Affile). Cesanese tends to offer fine aromas of forest floor, mulberry, blueberry, violet and juniper. Warmth, balance and elegant tannins also characterize the wines. Pairing possibilities include potato gnocchi, polenta and sausage, pork ribs, abbacchio (lamb) or sheep stew.

Edit Module
Edit Module

Related Articles

The Wines of Catalonia

This Spanish region's wine is as fiercely independent as its people.

Tips for Touring Through Wine Country

The dizzying number of options—from what to taste to which vineyards to visit—can quickly transform a fun wine-country tour into an exhausting experience. Here’s how to get the most out of your trip.

The New Napa

The famed region’s renaissance is being fueled by a young and adventurous band of visionaries.

Spring's Best Lagers

Known for being crisper, cleaner and more refreshing than ales, lagers shouldn’t be misinterpreted as being boring or watery.
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit Module


You can unsubscribe at any time. View an example of our newsletter.

Edit Module
Edit Module


Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit Module

Related Web Articles