Frascati, a light white wine grown exclusively in the Lazio region of Italy near Rome, is a relatively lesser known wine in the US that has a long rich history in Central Italy. Named after the town of Frascati, originally the ancient town of Tusculum, 25 km southeast of Rome, the Frascati designation dates back to the 5th century, B.C. The Romans called it the golden wine, not only because of its color, but also as an indication of its quality. In the 16th Century, Frascati became known as the “Wine of the Popes” as it was said to have flown out of the fountains of Rome to celebrate the inauguration of Popes Clement X and Innocent X.
The Frascati DOC is exclusive to its area of origin near Rome, and consists of a minimum of 70% Malvasia (Bianca di Candia) and Trebbiano, a maximum of 30% Greco and Malvasia (Del Lazio), and a maximum of 10% various local white grapes, including Bellone and Bambino bianco. In the late 1980s, Frascati was fairly popular in the US, but a few mass-producers who encouraged some vineyards to increase yield at the expense of quality caused the Frascati brand to suffer. Those mass producers have since largely abandoned the market, leaving primarily low volume, higher quality producers to rebuild the image. The rebuild is still a work in progress, although the quality of Frascati available has vastly improved.
Frascati is a fresh, crisp, refreshing wine with an unmistakeable citrus flavor from the Malvasia grapes and some floral notes from the Trebbiano grapes. Our own Frascati is imported as a fresh juice from the Lazio region. The vineyard does not reveal the exact makeup, but judging from the fresh citrus flavor of our Frascati, I suspect that it is at least 60-70% Malvasia (Bianca di Candia). Our Frascati is especially suited to be served cool to cold in the summer, is a great wine to sip on your patio (or better yet on our piazza), and pairs well with white meats like chicken, fish, and even pork, antipasti, pasta with cream sauces or carbonara, and deserts. Personally, I have found (by mistake) that Frascati pairs perfectly with butter pecan ice cream or gelato.