Frascati is produced in a small area just south of Rome in the Lazio region of central Italy. The official territory was first delineated in 1933 and covers the villages of Frascati, Grottaferrata, Monte Porzio Catone, and parts of Rome and Montecompatri. Located in the centre of the region of Lazio, the DOC currently covers around 1000 planted hectares and extends as far as the Colli Albani.
The Frascati production area is characterised by volcanic soils. An eruption thought to date back 600,000 years was followed by subsequent eruptions that have created complex volcanic soils formations throughout the DOC.
The main grape varieties used in Frascati are Malvasia del Lazio and / or Malvasia Bianca di Candia. Between them, or individually, they must represent a minimum of 70% of the blend. Malvasia del Lazio is known as Malvasia Puntinata in the Frascati area. A range of different grapes can make up the rest of the wine. The most common are Bellone, Bombino Bianco, Greco Bianco, Trebbiano Toscano and Trebbiano Giallo. Additional varieties that are present in the region of Lazio may make up a maximum of 15% of this 30%.
Frascati is typically known as a simple white wine with a straw colour. While this is still the case, there are some signs of greater experimentation. Some wineries are experimenting with extended skin maceration to create much deeper colours.
Since x the DOC has permitted the creation of sparking wine. This will appear as Spumante on the label. Frascati Spumante wines must have a minimum alcohol of 11%.
Frascati DOC was created in 1963. Since then, it has had at least 20 modifications, one of the most tampered with DOCs in Italy.
Wine has been produced around the village of Frascati since the days of Ancient Rome. The eternal city has always provided a large and thirsty market for the wine which in turn has lead to greater exposure and awareness. During the 1960s and 70s it was known as a simple, inexpensive table wine.
Like many white wine areas in Italy, the 80s and 90s saw a culture of industrial farming techniques and the pursuit of volume over quality. The period lead to a fall in reputation. In part, the creation of the Frascati Superiore DOCG was an attempt to separate producers seeking to make high quality wine from those making interested only in providing large quantities of inexpensive wine.