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Region: Lazio

Castelli Romani DOC

Castelli Romani is located in Colli Albani, an area in the Alban Hills situated 20-25 kilometers southeast of Rome. The vineyards are situated up to approximately 600 meters in altitude, part of which lies in volcanic soil, especially around the crater lakes of Lago Albano and Lago di Nemi. Castelli 

Romani also include vineyards around Frascati and Marino, on the north side of Lake Albano and on the southwestern slopes of Castel Gandolfo, summer residence of the Pope.

Wine has been produced in Rome and the surrounding area for several thousands of years, that is since the Romans learned from the Persians how to grow wine and started covering the Lazio map with vineyards. The ancient wines ‘Cecubo’ and ‘Falernum’ were the favorites of the Roman poet Horace (65-8 BC). The poet stated that the wines from Castelli Romani were so extraordinary that they even loosened the statesman Cato’s (234-149 B.C.) rigid and otherwise unwavering moral feelings. The poet Juvenal (65-135 C.E.) claimed that the region kept the best wine from Castelli to themselves, selling the customers some “terrible squirt that should have been used to remove grease from the wool instead”.

The origin of the name Castelli Romani comes from the many large villas or small castles (castelli) in the area. Wealthy Romans built the villas during the Middle Ages and they are all positioned to offer the best view of the beautiful landscape.

Previously, the Castelli Romani wines dominated Rome’s “ostarie” (small bars and restaurants), but the quality was poor, which gave Romans a good reason to joke, especially about the white wines. Several producers, some owning small “ostarie”, had to admit that, in order to increase sales in other services, they had to set the price of the wine so low, that the only way of making a profit was that of fledgling wine up with water. There are indications that old Juvenal was right.

Thankfully, all that is now history, and today the wines of Castelli Romani DOC are good, simple, honest and accessible wines. There are several different grapes used, which have ideal growing conditions in the volcanic soil in the hills southeast of Rome. Red wines and rosé’s (Rosato) are mainly grown from Sangiovese, Cesanese, Montepulciano and Merlot varieties. White wines are mainly from the Malvasia and Trebbiano varieties. All wines are presented as dry, lightly sweet and/or bubbly or sparkling types.

The 20 municipalities in the Castelli Romani DOC cover the entire area around Cori and parts of Aprilia and Cisterna di Latina, in the Latina province. 


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