Jan 07 2012
by Beraldo Leal
So you are planning a trip to Latium, also called Lazio, whose capital is none other than Rome, the capital of Italy. A great Italian author once wrote, “Roma, non basta una vita,” which translates as Rome, a single lifetime is not enough. This article is not devoted to Rome’s more than numerous attractions. Many Italians claim that most Romans will drink just about anything. Perhaps this will help explain the generally poor quality of Latium wines.
In their day the Roman emperors ruled the world. For a peek into their lives visit Villa Adriana (Hadrian’s Villa) northeast of Rome. The gardens are breathtaking. Then drop in the Villa d’Este to get an idea of how the Cardinals lived during the Sixteenth Century. You should visit Ostia Antica, Rome’s ancient seaport that was abandoned when the Tiber River changed its course. It has been extensively restored.
The Etruscans once were powerful, especially north of Rome. Cerveteri about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Rome features a great necropolis whose tombs cover some 500 years. Then continue for about the same distance to Tarquinia to see more tombs and a museum that focuses on, you guessed it. Do you need a change of pace? Head east to Viterbo whose medieval district San Pellegrino is well worth visiting. Then stop by Enoteca La Torre an expensive restaurant boasting one of Italy’s finest wine cellars. Or visit one of Italy’s oldest restaurants Tre Re that’s been in the city center since 1622.
There are a lot of so-called fine wines in Latium, more to the south of Rome than to its north. The major white varieties are Trebbiano and Malvasia. Popular red varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and the local Cesane.
Because of the volcanic soils in the Alban Hills south of Rome, this area should be producing some mighty fine wines. Maybe some day it will be.
Companies that sell wine tours of Latium include Select Italy, Dolce Rome Personal Shopper, Wine In Tour, and Incoming Rome. Latium wineries that accept visits include Casale del Giglio in Le Ferriere, Falesco in Montefiascone associated with Agriturismo Pomele, and Cantina Sant’andrea in Borgo Vodice. A few words of warning are in order. Make sure that you check ahead of time for opening hours and whether English is spoken. Some of these places may charge admission; others may expect you to buy some of their products.
Levi Reiss authored or co-authored ten computer and Internet books, but would rather drink fine French, German, or other wine, paired with the right foods. He loves teaching computer classes at an Ontario French-language community college. Visit his Italian travel, wine, and food website www.travelitalytravel.com and his wine, diet, health, and nutrition website www.wineinyourdiet.com.
I’m back in Chilean wine country for a look at two more outstanding Chilean wineries: Vina Carmen and Vina Tarapaca. These are two longtime producers who are forging exciting paths with organic farming and new grape varieties. I’ll visit the vineyards, some of the most beautiful I’ve visited, have a traditional Chilean barbecue, and sample some of the best wines in the southern hemisphere.
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