A Visit to 3 Wineries of Frascati: Villa Cavalletti, Casata Mergè and Tenuta di Pietra Porzia

Malvasia di Candia, Malvasia Puntinata or Malvasia del Lazio, Bellone, Bombino Bianco, Greco, Trebbiano Toscano and Trebbiano Giallo. These are the indigenous white grape varieties that comprise one of the celebrated wines of Lazio – Frascati DOC (attained in 1966) and the Frascati Superiore DOCG (attained in 2011). Perhaps in the earlier years Frascati had not been as focused qualitatively as it is now but since the early 2000, the new generation of producers have turned towards a path of experimentation and finding the right way of expressing its territory’s great potentiality in the excellent volcanic soil composition and climate. Thus, the highest denomination, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) was attained by the Frascati Superiore in 2011. Therefore, the wine production that has been in practice for more than two thousand years in the area has started to experience a renaissance of quality, which is most interesting for their fresh, mineral, savory and moderately citrus flavors, a result of work of nature and man in the glass. It is for a fact that the consideration of the new winemakers has increased in the attentiveness to eco-sustainable production, reduction of the carbon footprint and synthetic chemistry both in the vineyards and in the cellar.

Geography
Frascati is a city located inside the province of Rome, in the Lazio region. It is about 25 kilometers southeast of Rome on the Alban Hills. There are 1,020 hectares of land out of 8,500 hectares in Frascati cultivated with vineyards destined for the production of wines for Frascati DOC and Frascati Superiore DOCG. This area includes the municipalities of Frascati, Grottaferrata, Monteporzio Catone, VII Municipality of Rome and a portion of Montecompatri. The territory’s general exposure is oriented towards west and northwest, facing towards the Tyrrhenian Sea, giving it a sea breeze that circumvents the development of humidity, with an altitude between 70 to 500 meters asl. The geography is composed of crater lakes and hilly areas with predominantly permeable volcanic soils caused by the eruptions of the Latium Volcano from the Lower Paleolithic (600,000 years ago) to Upper Paleolithic (25,000 years ago) periods.

Soil
The soil is made up of volcanic formations comprised of ashes and lapilli, which are deposited in layers of considerable thickness and cemented to varying degrees. Pozzolans give rise to sandy, deep, water-permeable and stagnant soils which are neither superficial nor deep. The lithoid tuff, identified as a distal tephra deposit from the Latium Volcano covers most of the territory and has little or no water permeability. The vines in these places must be planted with very deep holes to get to the water. The hard lava rocks cover a small part of the territory in areas close to the eruption craters which generally give rise to thin soils where pasture or woodland is preferable. The vine finds this a favorable environment condition.

Climate
Frascati has a Mediterranean climate which is characterized by moderate rainfall, low temperatures in the months of September and October, favorable for the grapes to ripen slowly and completely. Because of the prolonged and thorough maturation on the plant with a temperate climate, much of the particular bouquet of the Frascati wine is due to this prolonged maturation on the plant and under the influence of a moderate climate.

Grape Varieties
Malvasia di Candia is well suited to almost all the soils in the area, with a marked aptitude for constant productions. The resulting wine is of a deep straw yellow color, fresh, fragrant, savory, and characterized by a slightly bitter finish and is well suited to blends with Trebbiano. Malvasia del Lazio or Malvasia Puntinata, an indigenous grape, is very different from Malvasia di Candia. It tends to have a low productive yield, it loves fresh but not humid soils. It gives a full-bodied wine with a pale straw yellow color, harmonious and savory, marked by intense and fresh fruity aromas, with a significant alcohol content and low acidity. The Trebbiano Toscano has a lower sugar content than other grape varieties and as a result, it gives a delicate wine, with good freshness and acidity. For these reasons, combined with other grapes, it improves the organoleptic characteristics of the wine. The Trebbiano Giallo, also known as “Greco”, has rather tight bunches and is scarcely cultivated in the area, as it prefers particularly cool environments. It gives the wine a light aroma of toasted almonds. Bombino Bianco, whose origin can be traced to the Iberian peninsula, is able to ensure an almost constant production and is resistant to climatic adversities. The average sugar yield is generally not high, while the degree of total acidity is usually considerable. It results in a light wine with notes of tropical fruit. The Bellone, a native variety, expresses itself better in fertile and fresh soil, maturing late but giving light and fresh wine.

Azienda Agricola Villa Cavalletti

Address: Via XXIV Maggio, 73/65, Grottaferrata (RM), Italy
Website: https://www.villacavalletti.it/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/villacavalletti

Villa Cavalletti, built in the 16th century, is one of the few Renaissance Ville Tuscolana that has remained intact to this day. Located in the area of Alban Hills in Frascati, it has 27 hectares of complete beauty of nature immersed in a centuries-old park and surrounded by an extensive agricultural estate with olive groves and vineyards. The terrain slopes down to a natural terrace overlooking Rome. At the Republican ages of ancient Rome, the area was once a favorite destination for its luxuriant and the scenic charm dotted with affluent residences of the wealthy patricians.

Villa Cavalletti Spumante Bianco Brut
A long Charmat method brut sparkling wine produced with 30% Malvasia Puntinata and 70% Trebbiano Giallo grape varieties. The must ages on the lees in an autoclave for 6 months. The result is a light straw yellow color with a fine and persistent perlage. In the nose, white flowers dominate, notable bread crust, citrus fruit, crispy green pear and a touch of stone mineral. The mouth has a pronounced acidity accentuated by the citrus fruit, elegant, and a long persistence.

Villa Cavalletti Roma Doc Rosso Riserva 2018
Obtained from 80% Montepulciano and 20% Cesanese and aged in barrique for 12 months. In the glass, the wine has a full ruby red color with a complex fruit-forward nose ruled by red berries and blueberries, ripe plums, licorice, black pepper, and eucalyptus. It becomes more interesting and expressive in the mouth with grippy tannins and marked acidity.

Villa Cavalletti Meraco Lazio IGT Cesanese 2019
Obtained from 100% Cesanese which were harvested a few days late, some of which were left to dry in trays for a month and a half then aging takes place in barrique between 10 to 12 months. In the glass it has a full ruby red color with garnet edges, an intense and complex nose that opens to a dominant floral feature of violets and red roses accompanied by red berries, blush, and stone mineral. In the mouth it gets more fruit-forward with a light sweetness, silky tannins, dark fruit jam, marked acidity ending with raisins that linger in the end. It promises to evolve well in the next years.

Casata Mergè

Address: Via di Fontana Candida, 381, Rome, Italy
Website: https://casatamerge.it/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CasataMerge

Located between Frascati and Monte Porzio Catone, Casata Mergè holds an ideal position for the cultivation of native and international vines thanks to its volcanic soil, landscape and climate. Manlio Mergè began his activity as a winemaker in the 20th-century while today, Luigi Mergè, with his sons Massimiliano, Marco, Mariabeatrice and Marianna, after four generations, continue to keep that first graft alive, producing wines following the traditions but in step with the most advanced technology.

Sesto 21 Frascati Superiore DOCG Riserva 2019
Obtained from 60% Malvasia Puntinata and 30% Bombino and Trebbiano Giallo, vinified in stainless steel and partly in untoasted oak barrique. Straw yellow with golden hues, an intense nose of stone mineral, white field flowers, tropical fruits and a note of smokiness. In the mouth it has an underlined acidity, lightly dense, savory and persistent finish.

Sesto 21 Frascati Superiore DOCG Riserva 2020
Straw yellow color with an intense nose. Compared to 2019 the nose less complex and less evolved. It is more floral, fruity with crispy green pear and apple, fresh, elegant, stone mineral and thin while in the mouth it reflects the olfactory characteristics with marked acidity, fresh herbs and balsamic note, with a long finish.

Sesto 21 Sauvignon Blanc IGP Lazio 2020
Obtained from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, vinified in stainless steel for 10 months and aged in the bottle for 3 months. In the glass it has a bright straw yellow color with a very intense and powerful nose with the prevalence of fresh tomato leaves, passion fruit, ripe yellow peach, and citrus peel while in the mouth it has a racy acidity and reflective of the olfactory characteristics. Understandably one of the most awarded Sauvignon Blancs in Italy.

Sesto 21 Syrah IGP Lazio 2018
Obtained from 100% Syrah, which were harvested 15 days later, fermentation in stainless steel, maturation in 40% barrique and 60% tonneaux for 9 months then refinement for another 6 months in the bottle. It has a full ruby red color with an intense nose with emerging savory aroma, red berries, blueberries, mature dark plums, black pepper, and light tea tobacco leaves. The mouth is round with velvety tannins, mature dark stone fruits and spices and long finish.

Azienda Tenuta di Pietra Porzia

Address: Via di Pietra Porzia, 60, Frascati (RM), Italy
Website: https://www.tenutadipietraporzia.it/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tenutadipietraporzia

Tenuta di Pietra Porzia is owned by the Giulini family, situated just 5 km. off Frascati in a land of 55 hectares, 38 of which are dedicated to vineyards while 12 are cultivated with olives. In the estate, there is also a post-modern villa converted into a small hotel of 12 rooms and equipped with a swimming pool, a garden, an ancient underground wine cellar and an underground cave with a pool of crystal clear water in the middle of the vineyards. It is just a short hop from Rome at about 20 kilometers. The vines cultivated in the estate are Malvasia del Lazio, Malvasia di Candia, Trebbiano Toscano, Greco, Bombino, Montepulciano, Merlot and Lecinaro.

Danae Frascati Superiore DOCG 2020
Obtained from 70% Malvasia Puntinata and 30% Greco. Vinified in stainless steel with ageing on fine lees. In the glass, it presents a crystal-clear straw yellow color, a nose of delicate white flowers and fruits which also presents in the mouth. Moderate acidity and sapidity in the mouth.

Leda Frascati DOC 2020
Obtained from 50% Malvasia del Lazio, 20% Malvasia di Candia, 10% Greco, 10% Trebbiano and 10% Bombino. Fermentation in stainless steel at a controlled temperature then refinement in stainless steel with fine lees for 2 months. Straw yellow in color with a fruit-forward nose, a prevalence of ripe yellow pulp, marked acidity and long persistence.

Lecino Roma Doc Rosso 2018
Obtained from 50% Montepulciano, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Lecinaro, vinified in stainless steel at a controlled temeperature with micro-oxygenation of the must and refined in stainless steel between 4 to 8 months. In the glass, it presents a ruby red color with a nose of red berries, herbs and a note of cocoa while the mouth reflects the olfactory characteristics with good acidity and sapidity.

Semele Malvasia del Lazio 2020
Obtained from 100% Malvasia del Lazio which were harvested early. In the glass it presents a straw yellow color with golden hints, an intense nose of mature yellow peach, fresh herbs and notes of white flowers while in the mouth it has a feathery sweetness with the prevalence of fruits and herbs and good acidity.

Era Cannellino di Frascati Docg 2019
Obtained from 70% Malvasia del Lazio and 30% Greco, fermented at a controlled temperature with selected yeasts with a drastic interruption in the fermentation by lowering the temperature to 0°C to maintain the unfermented natural sugars then refined in stainless steel between 5 to 6 months. It presents a brilliant golden yellow color with notes of honey and dried yellow pulp fruit and dates while in the mouth, it gives a delicate acidity.

Consorzio Tutela Denominazioni Vini Frascati

Largo Donatori di Sangue
00044 Frascati (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 06 94015212
Email: info@consorziofrascati.it
Website: http://consorziofrascati.it/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/consorziovinifrascati