By Paul Caputo

Introducing Lazio as a wine region is rather challenging. It simultaneously a place of huge potential and startling disappointment. Arguably one of Italy’s most misunderstood wine regions, it is certainly one of the least fashionable internationally. The prevailing perception that Lazio is merely a source of cheap white wine and little else is a fairly common one, yet to believe it is to miss out on the best the region has to offer. A new generation of winemakers, with a renewed and welcomed interest in local grape varieties, is starting to make wines worthy of discussion and attention.

Lazio, located on the the west coast of central Italy, and home to the eternal city, is a region that boasts 30 different DOC wines. Most of them are scarcely known and many barely function, but nevertheless, they all theoretically offer something slightly different for the wine lover to get stuck in to. The majority are in the south of the region, in the rolling hills just south of Rome. Here, on these ancient slopes, known as the Castelli Romani, winemaking is easy. Conditions are perfect.

The majority of wine lovers know Lazio for its famous and historically significant Frascati wine. Produced from Malavasia and Trebbiano around the town of Frascati, the wine is known for its light, easy drinking simplicity. In recent years Frascati’s reputation has suffered. Like many classic Italian white wine areas, the 1970s and 80s saw the creeping influence of big bottlers, whose push for volume over quality resulted in lakes of uninteresting wine. Much like what happened in Soave, a Superiore version of Frascati was upgraded to DOCG status in a bid to protect the image of Frascati. The decision has not yet had the impact it’s had in Soave, although Frascati Superiore benefits from strict production rules that have the creation of quality wine at their core.

Appellations of Lazio

Aleatico di Gradoli DOC

Taking its name from the village of Gradoli in Provincia di Viterbo, Aleatico di Gradoli DOC produces still red wines from the Aleatico variety as well as Liquoroso and Passito style wines.

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Aprilia DOC

Aprilia is typical of the Italian DOC system. It was created in 1980 but there is little evidence of any producers bothering to support it.

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Bianco Capena DOC

Named after the small village of Capena, this little white wine producing zone around 30km north of Rome is home to wines produced from local grapes such as Malvasia Bianca di Candia and Malvasia del Lazio and Malvasia Bianca Lunga.

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