Italian wine: Frascati, The White Wine of Lazio
- WTI Magazine #138 Apr 17, 2021
Whether you may have heard the name Lazio or not, if you’ve been to Italy most likely you visited Rome, which is actually in the central region of Italy called Lazio.
Lazio is a region dominated by white wines by about 70% over reds that are primarily based on the Malvasia and Trebbiano white grapes. In Lazio you’ll find a couple different types of Malvasia including Malvasia Bianca di Candia and Malvasia del Lazio. In the Lazio wine region they have the most planted Malvasia Bianca di Candia in all of Italy. The same goes for Trebbiano where you will discover Trebbiano Giallo and Trebbiano Toscano.
You’ll find the appellation of Frascati up in the southeastern hills outside of Rome in an area known as Castelli Romani. The Frascati appellations take their name from the actual town of Frascati located there. When we’ve spoken about volcanic wines in the past throughout Italy Lazio may not come first to mind, but the soils located in and around Frascati consist of volcanic matter.
Lazio hosts a very large number of DOCs with limited DOCGs and Frascati occupies 2 of the 3 DOCGs of Lazio: Frascati Superiore DOCG and Cannellino di Frascati DOCG. What makes up the difference between the Frascati DOC, Frascati Superior DOCG and Cannnellino di Frascati DOCG? Since the wines are all produced within this area there are some differences in what classifies the wines produced in this area into each appellation.
Both the Frascati DOC and Frascati Superiore DOCG are made from the same requirements of grape composition at 70%+ Malvasia Bianca di Candia and/or Malvasia del Lazio and up to 30% blending grapes. The Superiore though has lower yields, higher alcohol levels and can produce a Riserva style with a year plus of aging. Typically, Frascati is a light-bodied, dry wine showing apple, florals and citrus. As with many Italian wines the Superiore will tend to produce wines with more complexity and depth over the regular Frascati DOC.
Cannellino di Frascati DOCG on the other hand is more of dessert style wine produced from the same variety and percentages of grapes, but the grapes are produced in a sweeter style opposed to the dry versions we previously discussed. It’s mandatory that the grapes be harvested late, but it’s optional whether the grapes reach the favorable disease known as botrytis, also known as noble rot, or whether or not they go through an appassimento process where the grapes are partially dried.