Lazio is probably one of the lesser known names among the Italian regions, and it is because the region is so completely overshadowed in everyone’s consciousness of the capital of the region: Rome.

Rome – with its long history before Christianity and an even longer history as the seat of Christianity – is not just known for religion, but architecture, art in all its forms, and it has always attracted travellers, whether they were pilgrims or non-religious tourists. This huge crowd of foreigners who come, stay a few days and then leave again, is an ideal market for entry-level, everyday wines, and until a few years ago it was one of the greatest pleasures to sit in a Roman trattoria with a decanter of easy drinking white house-wine without any precise origin.

Now, Rome has become more sophisticated, and you’ll notice if they serve you a Frascati, an Est!Est!!Est!!! di Montefiascone or an Orvieto, three wines with a history that goes back centuries they will now be presented in a significantly better way. In these three areas, they are making a strong effort to get out of the “house wine-image”, and this work includes finding the original grape varieties that grew on the vines before the phylloxera louse devastation end 1800’s. The work goes on slowly, because nobody wants to destroy the huge market of modest, refreshing wines that will always have a place in Rome.

White wine is the main part of Lazio’s wine production, and the reds are literally a secondary business in this context, especially when they are made from grape varieties such as Sangiovese and Montepulciano, that can be found in so many other places in Italy. In these years however, a great effort is being made to help the local red, Cesanese, emerge as the Roman red answer to Frascati. But there’s a long way to go. The most ambitious attempt was made with three DOCs directly east of Rome (Cesanese del Piglio, among the others); all three were created in 1973, but only within the last decade their development has begun to be fruitful.

But recalling the famous yet unnamed monk, who went out as a gastronomic scout for his cardinal and wrote the famous Est!Est!!Est!!! on an osteria wall, meaning that the wine there was particularly good, we can say that his work would not be much easier with the present day red Lazio wines.

Regional capital: Roma
Population: 5.728.688
Area (km2): 17.235,97
Wine production: 1.259.000 hl
Important DOCs/DOCGs:
Cesanese del Piglio DOCG; Frascati DOC; Castelli Romani DOC; Est Est Est di Montefiascone DOC; Orvieto DOC.
Most important grape varieties:
Cesanese, Montepulciano, Sangiovese,Malvasia Bianca di Candia, Malvasia del Lazio, Trebbiano Giallo.