Every day we bring guests into the beautiful Rome countryside on a wine-tasting tour of the famous Frascati region. Along with tastings on the Pallavicini Wine Estate, they get to see how the famous wine is made and stored in the remains of the old underground aqueducts. We asked the owner a few questions about life on the vineyard in the region.
1. What types of wine are famous in this region?
Our region, Lazio, has many types of wines. The most important in the Castelli Romani area just 25 mins southeast of Rome, is definitely Frascati. It takes its name from the historic town where it is made.
There are many versions. Frascati DOC, Frascati DOCG, Cannellino di Frascati DOCG are all exclusively whites. We have IGT wines such as Cesanese which are rarely seen outside Lazio. The reds are made from a very particular grape with a distinct personality. There is also a newer DOC called Roma, in both red and white versions.
2. What wine does your winery specialize in?
Our winery makes 12 different wines, but most of our production is Frascati DOC, Frascati DOCG, Roma DOC Bianco, Roma DOC Rosso, IGT wines made with international varieties such as Cabernet and Shiraz.
3. What does this wine taste like and what would you pair it with?
Frascati wines are refreshing with a mineral taste. Because 70% has to be from one of the two Malvasias (which is an aromatic grape), it has a lovely fruity and floral perfume. The minerality comes from our volcanic soil but they can also be persistent with an aftertaste of sweet almonds. Pair with typical pasta dishes of Roman cuisine such as Carbonara, Cacio e Pepe or Gricia, but also fried seafood, fried vegetables or enjoy as an aperitif.
4. When did your cellar start producing wines?
1670, but it was already a winery before then! The previous owners made wine even as far back as 1586.
5. What else does your cellar produce?
Extra Virgin Olive oil from our 1200, centuries-old, olive trees.
6. What are the typical foods from your area?
There are so many to mention. We have a tradition of using the land in between vines to supplement income by growing fava beans, artichokes, peas, courgettes so we have lots of vegetables. Then, of course, you have to remember Porchetta, a spit roast whole pig, with a history dating back to Roman times.
We also make Pecorino Romano cheese. Our Egg-pasta was developed to use up egg yolks leftover after using the egg-whites to clarify the wines. This is very rarely done these days due to the introduction of rack wines, but we still have the pasta.
7. What are your tips for visiting your region?
Hire a car and explore. You will be glad you didn’t go all the way to Tuscany: we have lakes, hill-top towns that are close together, great food and excellent wines and the people are very friendly. Stay a night at least in Frascati to enjoy the piazza life al fresco, when everywhere buzzes.
8. Are there any unique festivals in your area?
Too many to list! In June there is the Sagra della Lumaca, the snail-eating festival. Traditionally snails were cooked and eaten to ward off evil spirits. Nowadays they are eaten because they are delicious. We also have a traditional wine festival in October.