A couple of posts ago I already mentioned a great wine tasting experience we had while in Rome, Italy. We really enjoyed it and decided to do another similar thing. Since not many such opportunities are available in Rome, we chose to go outside the city.
I saw the fact this wine tasting was taking place in hills not far away from Rome as an opportunity for a getaway trip from the city. Since this time we were not travelling by a car I looked at our options and decided a guided tour might be our best choice. Since usually we are not too fond of mass guided tours I really looked into it before booking.
It was not long before I realized Frascati Wine Tasting Tour from Rome was what we were looking for. We liked the fact that pickup and drop-off in the center of Rome was taken care of as a part of this tour.
We started the trip from our meeting point at Piazza Re di Roma. Since it is not a very busy square but still has good public transportation connections it was just perfect. As our group of 16 random wine enthusiasts gathered, it started raining. Since I was hoping for a few nice photos I was not too happy with that.
During about an hour long drive to Frascati hills our guide for the afternoon shared some interesting facts about the history of wine. In the meantime rain picked up but eased to a drizzle just upon our arrival. It did not bother us too much during the tour of the winery. Unfortunately weather was far from ideal for photography.
The Principe Pallavicini winery is the largest privately owned vineyard dedicated to production of Frascati, boasting 50 hectares of white Frascati DOC grapes. They have 80 hectare of vines in total.
The place has been renovated but still has lots of original character since new buildings have been perfectly integrated with the ancient ones. A section of an authentic Roman subterranean aqueduct serves as a charming cellar and antique stables are now used for drying grapes.
After the tour of the estate we continued to Osteria della Colonna for the actual wine tasting. The tasting was led by Mauro de Angelis, Principe Pallavicini's agronomist and wine connoisseur. Our guide Massimo took care of necessary translations between Italian and English.
We got to taste four of Principe Pallavicini's many excellent wines :
- Poggio Verde 2012, Frascati DOCG Superiore. Grape variety: Malvasia di Candia (50%), Malvasia del Lazio (20%), Trebbiano Toscano (10%), Greco e Grechetto (20%).
- Soleggio 2010, Lazio IGT. Grape variety: Cabernet Sauvignon (100%).
- Casa Romana 2006, Lazio IGT. Grape variety: Petit Verdot (60%), Cabernet (40%).
- Stillato 2011, Lazio IGT. Grape variety: Malvasia del Lazio aka Malvasia Puntinata (100%).
All of the wines we tasted were really great - each one in its own way. First was a dry white, quite typical for the region but the carefully chosen grape variety contributed a special note to it. The Cabernet Sauvignon was good but not all that special - the 2010 we tasted still has plenty of time to mature. The last two were definitely special and worth taking home - Casa Romana 2006 is a perfectly mature dry red with complex flavour and lasting aftertaste, while Stillato on the other hand is a macerated white desert wine with perfectly interwoven flavours.
During the wine tasting we also had an opportunity to taste some locally produced olive oil. It was quite mild (not as spicy as are most Sicilian varieties) and very delicious. As was the case with wine, we could also buy some olive oil.
As you have probably guessed by now, we enjoyed this wine tasting experience a lot. In my opinion it was just the right combination of things. Our guide was really knowledgeable and shared interesting information about local wine history, the chosen location (the estate of Principe Pallavicini) delivered just what one would expect from a place with centuries of history and finally, the wine we got to taste was excellent.
During this tour we were also offered to join the same company on a full day trip to Tuscany which also includes a wine tasting. Since we have been to Tuscany many times before, we decided to skip it.