What is Roma DOC? When in Rome, Discover the Latest Wine Denomination of Lazio

Being more than two thousand and seven hundred years old, Rome continuously lives as an ancient city rich in layers of history. The culture of wine has always had importance in the ancient Roman civilization. The origin of the production of wine dates back to the Etruscan settlements and the ancient Roman Empire. Wine has always been a part of life on the table, as medicine and as well as in the religious sphere. They found the most suitable lands for cultivating vines in the volcanic soil of the Colli Laziali, Caere and Sabina. However between the 5th and 10th centuries, they suffered a drastic decline in wine production. It was the Church that preserved the patrimony in the grounds of the monasteries and abbeys. When the requests for wine resumed again in Rome because of the increase of population, the papal court regulated the production in the vineyards of Rome and the surrounding areas.

At the turn of the 16th century, under the pontificate of Paul III, the Roman market turned its attention to the wines of the Castelli, Sabina and Colli Prenestini. This is because the so-called "Romanesco" wine (the one produced within seven miles of the Campidoglio and in particular on the Gianicolo, outside the Porta di San Pancrazio, in the Vatican and in Monte Mario) was not sufficient for the consumption of the city. In the 19th century, the urban growth of Rome has made vineyards erode and as a result, the production areas moved further away from the city. The most suitable Castelli wine from the most suitable areas of Castelli Romani, Cerveteri and Sabina. Viticulture in the territory has proven its significance over the centuries and to the present day, Roma DOC wine was born to reestablish this great role of wine in Rome.

The modern viticulture tradition of the territory has paved way to wine of higher quality. In fact, the region of Lazio now has 3 DOCGs, the highest denomination having distinctive features of superior quality of wine and 27 DOCs, the second highest which has less strict regulations. The most recent DOC that Lazio attained is Roma DOC which was recognized in 2011.

Roma DOC

The Roma DOC denomination, recognized in 2011, is reserved for wines that meet the conditions and requirements prescribed by the regulations of production. The wines produced withe the disciplinary are derived from vineyards distributed in an area of the central part of Lazio on the coastal territories, Sabina Romana, Colli Albani, Colli Prenestini and part of the Roman countryside, in the province of Rome.

There are different types of wines that fall under the Roma DOC designation. The types of white ones are Roma Bianco, Roma Classico Bianco, Roma Bianco Amabile, Roma Classico Bianco Amabile (semi-sweet) and Roma Romanella Spumante (sparkling) which are all produced with 50% Malvasia del Lazio or Malvasia Puntinata and 35% Bellone, Bombino Bianco, Greco Bianco, Trebbiano Giallo or Trebbiano Verde and the other 15% white grape varieties cultivated in the region of Lazio. The other white wines have the indication of the more dominant white grape variety used namely: Roma Malvasia Puntinata and Roma Classico Malvasia Puntinata produced with 85% Malvasia Puntinata and the rest are white grape varieties cultivated in the territory. The same case goes for Roma Bellone and Roma Classico Bellone wherein 85% used is Bellone and the rest other white varieties. Whereas for the red, there are Roma Rosso, Roma Classico Rosso, Roma Rosso Amabile (semi-sweet ), Roma Classico Rosso Amabile, Roma Rosso Riserva, Roma Classico Rosso Riserva, Roma Rosato (rosé) and Roma Classico Rosato (rosé) which are all produced with 50% Montepulciano, 35% Cesanese Comune, Cesanese di Affile, Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or Syrah and the other 15% red grape varieties cultivated in the region of Lazio. In addition, the Roma Rosso Riserva DOC must be aged for at least 24 months.

Roma Doc wines are generally aged in stainless steel or sometimes in oak barrels for the reds, depending on the style that the producer wants to attain. The white wines are typically dry, refreshing, delicate floral especially fresh roses and citrus fruit aromas with tropical notes like pineapple. The acidity and mineral notes are generally notable. The reds instead have an intense and more complex aromas in the nose. Think dark berries and dark stone fruit, spices and some earthiness. On the palate, balance, softness and elegance with the notable mineral notes characterize the wine.

The Territory

The territory of cultivation of Roma DOC wines has a mixture of plains and hills with an altitude that reaches 600 meters above sea level. The geological area of the production of Roma DOC wines dates back from the Quaternary (or Neozoic) and the most recent geological period which is the present surface of the soil is characterized by main geological units. The first one is the flat areas of the Tiber and Aniene valleys where there are marine sediments consisting of a substrate of alluvial sediments. In the second, the internal one, is determined by the eruptions of the Lazio volcano, dating back to the end of the Pliocene. Here, the soils are composed of various types of tuff on which ash and lapilli have been superimposed and deposited in layers of considerable thickness and cemented to different extents.

Whereas for the climate, it can be generalized as temperate Mediterranean. This is characterized by more copious average rainfall in the higher areas while the temperatures are highest in the summer months and lowest in winter from November to April, with significant diurnal temperature variation in the hilly areas which are positive factors that determine the development of the wine's aromas.

Consorzio di Tutela di Vini Roma DOC

The Roma DOC denomination was born in 2011 thanks to the establishment of the Associazione Produttori Vini DOC Roma (Association of DOC Roma Wine Producers) founded by a dozen companies. The producers, aware of the potential of their territory and the strength of the name of the Eternal City, wanted to promote and protect its name in the production of wine of great quality. Since then, many other producers have joined the project and the association has grown to the point of reaching an important reality that needed a more structured organization, a requirement that materialized in the establishment of the Consorzio di Tutela di Vini Roma DOC, which was officialized on 15 February 2018. It was the fifth consortium that obtained recognition after those of Frascati, Cesanese del Piglio, Marino and Atina.

The consortium is headed by Tullio Galassini as president. Always at the forefront for the protection and enhancement of regional wine production, Tullio Galassini is an oenologist who completed his studies in northern Italy at San Michele in Alto Adige. Furthermore, he also served as the president of the previous Associazione Produttori Vini DOC Roma. Among other things, he is also grape producer at Galassini Viticoltore. Flanking him is the vice president, Rossella Macchia of Az. Agricola Poggio Le Volpi.

Today the Consorzio di Tutela di Vini Roma DOC represents 47 producers and bottlers for a current total of 305 hectares of vineyards and a production of about 1,880,000 bottles (2022 data).

Tour from Frascati to Monti Prenestini of 4 Wine Producers

For the month-long tour of the Roma DOC territory, six itineraries were mapped out by the consortium on different dates. The first itinerary was "Tour from Frascati to Monti Prenestini" which I attended. It included four wine producers from the area of Frascati to Monti Prenestini, namely Fontana Candida, Poggio Le Volpi, Principe Pallavicini and Vinicola Federici.

Fontana Candida

Fontana Candida has over sixty years of history, bringing the age-old tradition of the wine of the popes. They give value to enhancing the denominations of the territory with their wine production. The wines are the result of the winemaking tradition that meets the most modern tastes, in an authentic and refined expression of the native vines. They own 214 hectares under vine, 6 of which are in the Monte Porzio Catone property. The cellar has over 100 tonneaux and barrique barrels but the main feature is the beautiful tuff cave from the ancient Roman period. A typical feature of their terrain is the potassium-rich pozzolan which are made up of volcanic ash that give rise to deep sandy soils.

Roma DOC Labels
Roma DOC Rosso: Cesanese, Syrah
Roma DOC Bianco: Malvasia Puntinata, Bombino, Greco Bianco

Address: Via Fontana Candida 11, 00078 Monte Porzio Catone (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 3474212526
Website: www.gruppoitalianovini.it

Poggio Le Volpi

The origins of the company date back to 1920, when Manlio Mergè began producing wine and oil in bulk. The passion for the land was passed on to his son Armando and then to his nephew Felice, who founded together Poggio Le Volpi in 1996. The experience of Felice as an oenologist has made Poggio le Volpi one of the most interesting wineries in the region and extends over 50 hectares of vineyards in Lazio, with an adjacent cellar and tuff cave. In the premises is the Epos restaurant, with its Latin name, expresses the company's desire to narrate the territory not only through the wines, but also with the gastronomic proposal. Poggio Le Volpi blends tradition, passion and modernity, the key points for producing truly fine wines that identify the area.

Roma DOC Labels
Roma DOC Rosso: Montepulciano, Syrah, Cesanese
Roma Doc rosato: Montepulciano, Syrah, Cesanese
Roma DOC Bianco: 100% Malvasia Puntinata

Address: Via di Fontana Candida 3/C, 00078 Monte Porzio Catone (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 342 1086072
Website: www.poggiolevolpi.com

Principe Pallavicini

The history of the Pallavicini, a family of winemakers since 1670, begins with Cardinal Lazzaro and Stefano Pallavicini and has developed over the centuries with the Colonna and Cerveteri estates, covering a total area of almost 80 hectares. The company includes the Osteria a Colonna, the Le Marmorelle vineyards, that is the heart of Pallavicini, the Pasolina vineyard, the caves and the two cisterns of the ancient Claudio aqueduct. Pallavicini had been supplying wine to the Vatican and to the Queen of England as evidenced by documents found in the historical archives of Palazzo Pallavicini. In 2016 a new project for the separate vinification of each single vineyard began, with the aim of identifying the characteristics and potential of each one and offering wines of excellent quality.

Roma DOC Labels
Roma DOC Bianco: 100% Malvasia Puntinata
Roma DOC Rosso: Montepulciano, Syrah, Cesanese

Address: Via Roma 21, 00030 Colonna (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 3473325001
Website: www.principepallavicini.com

Vinicola Federici

The history of the Federici family in viticulture began in the 1960s. In 2001 the company began to cultivate its own vineyards and devote itself to the entire production process, up to the expansion in 2013 with the purchase of new land, reaching 110 hectares, 80 of which are vineyards. With the new generation led by Damiano Federici, attention to the international market increased, consolidating the Federici labels on foreign markets. The secret is to carry on the tradition handed down from generation to generation, loving the territory and committing oneself daily in the vineyard and in the cellar. The company's labels come from grapes from its own vineyards, or from those of the nearby winemakers who meet the same standards.

Roma DOC Labels
Roma DOC Bianco: 100% Malvasia Puntinata
Roma DOC Rosso: Montepulciano, Cesanese

Address: Via Apollaria Vecchia 30, 00039 Zagarolo (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 3345761350
Website: www.vinifederici.it

Consorzio di Tutela Vini DOC Roma

Address: Largo Donatori di Sangue, snc, 00044 Frascati (RM), Italy
Tel: +39 3334466907
Website: http://www.vinidocroma.it
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vinidocroma/




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