I wanted to go deeper in my knowledge about wines from Frascati so we organised with some friends a visit to Azienda Agricola De Sanctis: the perfect chance to discover the potential of this exceptional terroir, that in the last years has increased the quality of the wines.
The Castelli Romani area is influenced by the Colli Albani and by the Albano e Nemi Lakes. The Colli Albani are gentle hills south-east of Rome, the 25.000 years extinguished Vulcano Laziale’s caldera. The Albano and Nemi Lakes are two of the crateres made from the last volcano’s explosions that in time have been covered by water and today they appreciate destinations for day trips from the near city of Rome.
The volcanic eruptions, mainly made of hash and lapilli, left debris layers with different depth, creating varied soils: sand, clay and volcanic stones (basalt and black rocks).
The volcanic lakes and the Tirrenean Sea influence the climate in Frascati: mild winters, warm and windy summers, moderate raining during summer months are all factors that contribute to a long growing season ensuring a slow, consistent and fully ripening of the grapes.
The traditional varieties of this area are: Malvasia di Candia, Malvasia del Lazio or Malvasia Puntinata, Trebbiano Toscano, Bellone and Bombino Bianco.
Azienda Agricola De Santis is in the hilly area of Frascati, nearly ten kilometers from Rome. The winery is a family run business and the vineyards area stretches on 30 hetares where the ancient “Lago Regillo” was (“Regillus” from the Latin): a volcanic lake dried up in the 17th century. Aparently the name “Regillo” refears to the presence in the area of temple devoted to Giunone (Juno) in the ancient time.
The vineyards are at 200/250 metres of altitude facing south-west: Malvasia Puntinata, Malvasia di Candia, Trebbiano Toscano, Bombino Bianco and (unusual for this area) Cabernet Franc are grown.
In 2009 the family decided to invest in organic wine production, avoiding any use of chemical fertilizers or spray and restricting sulphities and other chemical additive usage during the winemaking process. The winery also decided to limit the environmental impact of the production so they got a geothermal system to heat up and chill down the factory.
Francesco De Sanctis welcomed us and told us the story of the area and of his family when, in the meantime we were walking through the vineyards and the historical cellar.
Why Caberner Franc in Frascati? Francesco De Sanctis, winemaker, was enthusiast to tell us about his enolougis study experience in Friuli where his passion for this international grape variety was born. After getting his degree, he believed in the potential of the Frascati’s terroir and on the Caberner Franc’s ability of adapt, so he suggested to his dad Luigi to experiment and combine this two factors: grow Cabernet Franc in Frascati. A really interesting experiment that I had the chance to testify in person.
496 – Frascati D.O.C.G. Superiore – 2020
Malvasia di Candia 90% – Trebbiano Toscano 10%
496 as the 496 B.C. the expected year of the Lago Regillo battle, one of the first legendary victory of the Romans against the Latins.
Fermented with indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. It matures for 5 months in the tanks and for 1 months in the bottle.
- Look: cristal clear, straw yellow colour.
- Smell: medium intensity. Floral, citrus and stone fruit aroma.
- Taste: fresh and smooth. Medium plus finish with nutty aftertaste. Wine of personality.
- Pairing: carciofi alla giudìa.
Amacos – Frascati D.O.C.G. Superiore Riserva – 2019
Malvasia Puntinata 90% – Bombino 10%
From the greek word AMAXOƩ that means quite, peaceful. It is a well structured and long living wine. It can evolve at least for ten years if stored in the right way.
Fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. It matures for 6 months in french oak barrique (second – third fill) and for 1 months in the bottle.
- Look: cristal clear, golden colour.
- Smell: medium plus intensity. Floral, honey and ripe stone fruit aroma.
- Taste: smooth, fresh and mineral. Long finish.
- Pairing: roast lamb.
Onde – Lazio I.G.T. – 2020
Cabernet Franc 100%
The wine’s name comes from the smooth movement of the sea’s waves. Interesting rosé expression of this grape variety.
Fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. In contact with the lees for 5 months then it matures for 2 months in the bottle.
- Look: clear, bright pink colour.
- Smell: medium plus intensity. Red fruit and balsamic aromas.
- Taste: smooth, elegant and fresh. Medium plus finish. It has been a surprise.
- Pairing: red prawns carpaccio.
Iuno – Lazio I.G.T. – 2020
Cabernet Franc 100%
IUNO, it has been named after the mithological latin goddes Juno, Jove’s wife, the most important goddes of the ancient Rome.
Fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. It matures for 5 months in french oak barrique and for other 4 months in the bottle.
- Look: clear, ruby red colour.
- Smell: pronounced intensity. Complex, floral, fruity, herbal and spicy.
- Taste: smooth, rewarming, balanced. Medium plus tannin. Long finish. Excellent.
- Pairing: roast beef.
Producer: De Sanctis