Harvest is in full swing this weekend in Frascati and along with this comes the perfume in the air of the must while freshly pressed grapes invade the senses. Three wineries are opening free to the public for ‘Cantine Aperte’ on the 21st September (Harvest addition). A chance to get a taste not only of the wines, but also of the views and the atmosphere, whetting your appetite for exploring more wineries on your next visit to Frascati.
CANTINE APERTE (OPEN CELLARS) IN FRASCATI
Casale Marchese in Via di Vermicino, 68, the oldest of the three that are participating, is run by the Carletti Family and is built over two ancient Roman cisterns, whereas the other two are modern wineries, on the site of the dried lake Regillus.
Casale Marchese also organizes a quaint ‘mercatino’ with local products for sale in the courtyard and the view from the terrace is amazing.
They will also announce the winner of the photography competition ‘Waiting for the Grape Harvest’, open to non professional photographers, deadline is the 20th September.
Merumalia – in Vicolo Prataporci, 8 – will be hosting some excellent watercolour painters (belonging to the ARA, Rome’s Watercolour association) with the possibility of buying lunch and relaxing in a nice seating area created using up-cycled palette furniture and providing a visit and explanation of the history of the site; again with fabulous views.
De Sanctis – in the nearby Via di Pietra Porzia 50 – produces organic wines.
You will be able to assist the wine pressing as they will be in full regime making their wine, even though it’s Sunday!
All are just a few kilometers from the center of Frascati. Renowned for late renaissance and baroque villas, but a retreat from chaotic Rome since the romans discovered the delights of Tusculum. This weekend you might also like go on to Tuscolo to join in at ‘Frammenti‘, where activities including music, readings, trekking, guided visits of the archeological site, children’s entertainment and bar are taking place from the 18th to the 21st inclusive.
FRASCATI – THE TOWN
With the announcement by the Frascati Wine Consortium indicating that grape prices for the Frascati Doc grapes should be raised to 45 euros minimum per quintal (100 kilos) + VAT, in addition to the news that the harvest in central Italy will indeed be a good one, when other regions of Italy will suffer from the difficult climatic conditions this year, plus the 3 Bicchieri awarded by the Gambero Rosso guide to a Frascati DOCG (Principe Pallavicini; Poggio Verde, Vintage 2013) there is a lot of ferment around Rome’s Wine Country this year.
After difficult times of the past (30 years ago for goodness sake!) for the name of this underestimated great white of the environs of the lovely town in the Castelli Romani – made famous (again….after all it has been around for 2500 years) during the Sixties as it became part of the Dolce Vita when the likes of Richard Burton and his violet eyed companion would escape to the hills just up the road, between scenes being filmed at Cinecittà – hard work and toil and sacrifices of more recent years is starting to pay back to the passionate farmers.
Some estates have been around for centuries, like the afore mentioned Pallavicini Estate; in the hands of the same family – one of the most important noble families in Italy – since 1670, at Colonna, but even before that was producing wine (”Cabernette”) in the same place for Pope Gregory XV at the end of the 16th century. Often built on ruins of historical Roman Villas, cisterns of ancient aqueducts and sites of famous battles such as Lake Regillus, that saw the defeat of the Latins and Etruscans of Tusculum by the Romans with the help of Castor and Pollux, the celebrated giant twin cavaliers on winged horses whose statues you can see on Monte Cavallo in front of the Quirinale Palace in Rome.
They can hardly be imagined from the chaotic roads leading out of Rome, in the web-like shape designed on the map. Blocks of flats visible from the Tuscolana or Casilina, the suburbs of Rome, hide many an oasis of hectares and hectares of green rows of vines, olive groves (yes there is EVO too up here!) and our very own soft rolling hills and cyprus trees. The only vineyards in the world with a view over the Eternal City. Time warps, that if it wasn’t for the odd crane and the Calatrava skeleton invading the skyline, you could imagine you were William Turner or Charles Dickens admiring the City (and the Cupolone) from Rome’s green lung.
EASY FRASCATI WEBSITE
If you are intending to visit Frascati and the Wine Country take a look at Easy Frascati, the new website set up with an abundance of information on Frascati, its history, what to see, a wine tasting glossary and the possibility of obtaining a host of special discounts to enter wineries for tours and tastings and other activities (including short courses) and services. It also provides a free mp3 audio tour download when you purchase your discount ‘pass’.