(Eager-beaver pizza delivery boys in Rome. Two dudes on a bike, 13 pizzas, no hands, that’s just how they roll in Rome…)
Don’try that at home, but definitely try one of my favs while in and around Rome: Frascati.
Frascati, although one of Italy’s largest selling wines, unfortunately suffered national and international demise of its reputation following decades of oxidized, flabby, and unexciting overproduction. It hails from the Castelli Romani hills just southeast of Rome - one of the two sets of hills outside of Rome that are the most important wine areas in Lazio. Dig through the dull veneer of its lackluster reputation and you will find quality Frascati worth drinking at home and when in Rome. I have a soft spot for Frascati and will often go in search of it locally because it pairs well with many of my favorite dishes from Lazio, and because I get giddy just thinking about where this wine’s grapes were grown – right in the soil of antiquity surrounding the heart of the Roman Empire. Centuries and millennia of Romans and Italians have been in those hills, on that soil. The Castelli Romani hills have grown with the rise of an empire and continued to live on, producing grapes for local wine after the demise of a great empire. It gives me such a thrill to pop a bottle of wine made from grapes that probably grew in soil that witnessed the rise and fall of an empire and birth of modern day Rome.
I recently popped a bottle of Frascati, Tenuta di Pietra Porzia Saula Frascati Superiore 2010, and paired it with a favorite dish – Torta di Bietole (Swiss Chard Pie). Yummy. Find any recipe for Swiss Chard Pie, chill a bottle of this baby, and you won’t be disappointed. Light straw in color, the somewhat fuller body surprised me, a little on the acidic side with a zingy citrus finish. Refreshing, palate cleansing, and it stood well with the buttery crust and cheesy chard in my Swiss Chard Pie.
The winery of Tentua di Peitra Porzia has returned after a multi-year hiatus to produce some quality Frascati. You’ll likely have the luxury of two choices available to you – the Etichetta Bianca (white label) or the Etichetta Nera (black label) Frascati…take the white label one.
Frascati is made from Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes – around 70% Trebbiano or Malvasia di Candia and up to 30% Malvasia di Lazio or occasionally Greco varietals. Although Frascati is dry (in this case labeled secco or asciutto), is sometimes comes semi-sweet and even more rare, sparkling. I’m a fan of sticking with the dry version. I suggest serving chilled between 43-48 degrees.
And when you’re finished enjoying the Frascati, please don’t litter your bottle here:
(Poor chappie…a stolen seat and trash in his basket…there is better luck to be had in Rome)