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One of the most beautiful things in Italy are the food and wines. We want to offer you a unique experience: the tour of the cellars with tasting of wines from the Roman countryside. Someone has already done it and told it for us.
My wife Bridget and I have always been fascinated by good food and good wine. We have not been sunbathing for years because the idea of being there, standing on the beach doing nothing, frightens us.
This is why our favorite destinations are California, France and Italy (undoubtedly the most beloved).
On our last trip to Italy, we explored the countryside of Rome, a green area southeast of Rome. Previously we had been in Tuscany, Umbria, Piedmont, Veneto and Sicily, lands where good food is accompanied by superlative wines.
The idea of spending a week in the Roman countryside came to us surfing on internet. We were looking for something new. Chianti, Sassicaia, Barolo and Prosecco wines are fine. But you can find good bottles of these wines also here, in the United States. We wanted to go further and find a less known Italian wine, which at the same time was strongly appreciated by the Italians themselves. Reading the reviews of Italian experts, the choice fell on the Cesanese DOC, a full-bodied red wine produced only in the Roman countryside, in countries called Olevano Romano, Piglio and Affile. And so we embarked on this adventure.
Organizing a trip in the Roman countryside was not so simple. It is an area little known to mass tourism and all the travel agencies of our city to which we turned to the organization, did not even know where it was. In short, if we had listened to them we would have found ourselves in the center of Rome drinking the classic “romanella”, a light and pleasant wine that in our opinion does not deserve a journey of over 10000 Km.
Fortunately, at the end we found an italian travel agency specialized in trips to the Roman countryside, as well as having organized everything with expertise and precision, they had girls who spoke perfectly in English (by the way “Ciao Italy Where Else !!!“).
The flight till Rome was very well. At Fiumicino airport we found an elegant driver who with his Mercedes took us in about an hour, in a delightful farmhouse with lots of green lawn, olive trees and two beautiful farmhouses dating back a few centuries ago.
The following days were all a succession of flavors, emotions, laughter and thoughtfulness.
Our tour guide Giovanna, has made us visit 3 cellars, in which in addition to tasting the Cesanese (we love it!), we have discovered other wines of the area delicious and unknown. A white wine, called “Passerina” and a sparkling Brut of Lazio!
We are used to drink sparkling wines from Veneto and Piedmont. We would never be expected such a good spumante from Lazio.
But let’s go by order. In our tour of the cellars of the Roman countryside we first tasted a very full-bodied Cesanese of Olevano Romano, in a local winery. If I had to explain Cesanese, I would compare it to a wild colt that is difficult to tame. In fact, if you do not know how to do it well, the contained tannin comes out in a strong, almost disgusting way. But if you find the right alchemy, the Cesanese becomes one of those wines to keep in the cellar always and to come out to amaze guests with passion for wine.
A curiosity: there is also a rosé version obtained from Cesanese grapes. Vinified in this way it becomes a good meal wine, really pleasant.
We replicated the Cesanese tasting at another local winery. The result was the same. A really good wine. But what we discovered here is a very good white wine called “Passerina del Frusinate“. It is obtained from “passerina” raisins and is really very pleasant, reaching peaks of excellence in the version refined in oak barrels.
The last step of this tour of the cellars of the Roman countryside was a farm that produces white and sparkling wines. If the whites, although good, have nothing more than many other California white wines, the sparkling wine was a pleasant surprise.
This company works with the typical grapes of this area and transforms them into a phenomenal Brut sparkling wine. We could taste it directly in the cellar … and what a cellar. A deep cave dug into the tufo stone, where the wines rest in wooden barrels and bottles.
I am not here to tell you how good was the food which accompanied our tastings. Typical local dishes to which certain wines were paired. All in the conviviality typical of Italian homes. We were all seated around a table, just like at home, and between a tasting and the other we told a lot of stories. At the end, a piece of our heart remained in the Roman countryside.
This tour of the vineyards was just what we wanted. A unique experience, never made before on our many trips to Europe. We have discovered new foods and wines, we have made a close friendship with wonderful people and we have known a bit of their fascinating story.
I wonder if we will come back to that place.
Vineyards in Olevano Romano and Piglio
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