Blind Wine Tasting of Frascati DOC and DOCG 2017 and 2018 Vintages

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 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. The geography is composed of crater lakes and hilly areas with predominantly permeable volcanic soils caused by the eruptions of the Volcano Laziale from the Lower Paleolithic (600,000 years ago) to Upper Paleolithic (25,000 years ago) periods.

Frascati is an Italian white wine named after the town of Frascati which is located just outside Rome. It has gained the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status in 1966 and DOCG status in 2011. The Frascati DOC wine is obtained from the grapes of the vineyards in the designated areas which are at least 70% Malvasia di Candia and/or Malvasia del Lazio (Malvasia Puntinata), and 30% maximum of Bellone, Bombino Bianco, Greco Bianco, Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbiano Giallo, either alone of combined. The Frascati Superiore is subjected to a maturation period of not less than 12 months, of which 3 months of aging in the bottle may bear the additional mention of Riserva.

A blind tasting organized by the Consorzio Tutela Denominazioni Vini Frascati was held at their headquarters last 7 March 2019 with the introduction of the president of the consortium, Paolo Stramacci. Thirty one Frascati DOC & DOCG wines from the vintages 2017 and 2018 were in the line-up, including a sparkling wine, Frascati DOC Spumante Brut 2012 and a sweet wine, Cannellino di Frascati DOCG 2016. 

2017 and 2018 Climatic Years

The 2017 climatic year had been characterized by high temperatures and low rainfall causing an early budding of 14 days, damaging spring frosts and a record summer drought which reduced the production by 30% compared to 2016. It had been the most scarce year in the last 70 years. However, the dry summer made it possible to obtain very good grapes with good acidity and aromas making 2017 a fairly good year. With the work and skills of the winemakers and the oenologists, they were able to obtain wines of excellent quality even if the quantities are smaller compared to the average.

The 2018 climatic year instead went through bouts of widespread cloudiness, heavy rainfall and temperatures below the average in spring which significantly slowed down the budding. Summer was punctuated by violent storms which caused defoliation and lacerations in the vineyards. The 2018 vintage had been particularly difficult for the production of the grapes however, with the great capacities of the wine producers, they were able to manage the fluctuating climatic conditions and their repercussions on the harvest, resulting in grapes of good quality and in some cases excellent even if the quantities are much lower than the production average. The good news is that the production quantity went higher by 35% compared to the 2017 harvest but it is still lower than the average.

Even if the two climatic years have produced quantitatively lesser wines, the quality of the Frascati DOC and DOCG kept their distinguishing characteristics. Straw yellow, from light to medium tones with golden highlights for the Riserva, the youthful and mild personalities of the Frascati DOC to the riper and more determined elements of the Superiore and Riserva and most often with the distinctive white floral aromas and yellow stone fruits and pineapple for the more aged ones, as well as good acidity and sapidity in the mouth. 

The first 10 wines that I highlighted with the best points from my blind tasting were:

Poggio Le Volpi Frascati Superiore DOCG People 2018
Casale Vallechiesa Frascati Superiore DOCG Heredio 2017
Castel de Paolis Frascati DOC Campo Vecchio 2017
Tenuta di Pietra Porzia Frascati DOC Regillo 2018
Merumalia Frascati DOC Terso 2017
Castel De Paolis Frascati Superiore DOCG 2017
Fontana Candida Giv Frascati Superiore DOCG Santa Teresa 2017
Principe Pallavicini Frascati DOC Il Principe 2017
Merumalia Frascati Superiore DOCG Primo 2017
Poggio Le Volpi Frascati Superiore Riserva Epos DOCG 2017

Consorzio Tutela Denominazioni Vini Frascati

Largo Donatori di Sangue
00044 Frascati (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 06 94015212