When I share a meal with family and friends, I often ask them which Italian wine they like best. Many will mention a red from Tuscany, most likely a “super Tuscan,” a 1980s term for Tuscan red blend that uses wine grapes not indigenous to Italy, including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.When I suggest a wine from Lazio dazed and confused faces abound, never mind the eyebrow raising glares when I utter the red wine grape Cesanese. Lazio does have some identity problems. It’s a somewhat indistinct central region that has long been overshadowed by more renowned neighbors Campania, Tuscany and Umbria. Even visitors to Rome don’t always know that Lazio is the region that Rome calls home. Rome’s importance as the capital make it feel like an oasis in the desert, a landlocked island enclosed by the Grande Raccordo Anulare (GRA), the ring road/highway that encircles Rome. Just a short ride beyond the motorway lie rolling hills speckled with olive groves, orchards and vineyards and land of the antique grape variety Cesanese.
Continue reading about Cesanese and Lazio vineyards here.