They’ll Drink Anything in Rome #ItalianFWT
Lazio and #ItalianFWT
This month we’re off to Lazio, dominated by Italy’s national capital, Rome! When you think of Rome, you think of the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Vatican. You’re probably not thinking about wine.
Lazio Wines are Tough to Find
As we slowly tour Italy, region by region, I’ve been surprised by the ease with which I have been able to purchase wines. Even for less well known regions, local shops here in Minnesota have had a selection. That is, until we hit this month: Lazio, the region which includes Rome. Beyond a Frascati here or there, nothing. (click on any photo to start the slideshow)
Do a little research, and you’ll find there are few standout wineries in the immediate area around Rome, mostly due to the voracious appetite for wine in the Capital City. As reported in several books, most producers go strictly for quantity as nothing more is wanted beyond wine to fill carafes in the big city. In fact, the Slow Wine 2014 book was brutally honest in their review, a level of frank reporting we rarely see in American publications. Ouch!
As it turns out, there are some wineries making nice wines and Worldwide Cellars, our local importer brings in a couple wines from Castello di Torre in Pietra. What a treat, they’re inexpensive (no one expects much from Lazio) and imminently drinkable. I had an idea what to expect from the Vermentino, but the Roma DOC blend was a mystery. Time to sharpen my blind tasting skills!
Saltimbocca alla Romana
Wines in hand, the only thing remaining was choice of food. Again, a bit of research points to Saltimbocca alla Romana as a classic dish with Roman origins. “Saltare in bocca” literally means “jump in the mouth”. The dish is claimed to be that good. Know what, they’re right! Easy to make, it features classic Italian flavors including sage, veal and prosciutto.
Roma DOC reds
My first thought on sampling the wine was Sangiovese, it certainly had cherries and herbs on the nose. Next, I decided to look to the DOC regulations to see if I could glean any more. Rosso (Rd): Minimum 50% Montepulciano; minimum 35% Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cesanese, Sangiovese, and/or Syrah; maximum 15% OAR. OK, so I was off, as Montepulciano is the dominant grape, but look at that list! Lots of freedom. This was a 100% enjoyable wine, with some complexity at a great price.
Castello di Torre in Pietra Roma Rosso DOC ($16 at South Lyndale Liquors)
This wine is a blend of Montepulciano, Sangiovese and Cesanese (a native grape from this region).
Eye: Clear, mid red, purplish edge. Dark but translucent to the center
Nose: Cherries with a strong herbal/rosemary component. Very nice
Mouth: Ripe bright red cherries, med tannins, lively. Good finish.
Very nice everyday wine, before knowing the grapes, I guessed Sangiovese.
Lazio is best known for its white wines, with Frascati being the best known and most popular. I tried one in my research for this post, but that winery or that particular bottle was so marred by sulfur on the nose, I couldn’t even give the wine a fair evaluation. I’ll let others in our #ItalianFWT group cover Frascati. Happily, the Vermentino I found was a wonderful wine. Phew!
Castello di Torre in Pietra Vermentino Costa Etrusco Romana IGT ($16 at South Lyndale Liqours)
Eye: Clear, medium straw yellow
Nose: Fresh, green apples, pears, floral
Mouth: Medium body, lively acidity, not tart but definitely mouth-watering.
Saltimbocca alla Romana
Wine Pairing with Saltimbocca all Romana
Both went well, however, prosciutto in the dish always seems to lean the flavors to red wine as a better pick. We enjoyed both, you could certainly enjoy the Vermentino with the Saltimbocca as the Vermentino has enough body. However, the rich texture of the Roma Blend was just perfect with the richness of the meat.
#ItalianFWT goes to Rome
Take a look at our Italian Food, Wine & Travel blog posts for Lazio:
Cooking Chat – Orzo, Salmon and Pesto Paired with a Frascati
Rockin Red Blog – Live Like Caesar
Enofylz Wine Blog – A Taste of Lazio
Christy’s Palate – Living La Vita Lazio
The Palladian Traveler – Civita di Bagnoregio: The Dying Town
I haven’t been to Rome as a tourist for a while. Work has taken me there a few times, but never for any sightseeing or pleasure activities. My last real visit was (whoa!) in 1976. 19 years old, a midshipman in the Navy. All I have now are some faded photos. Still, fun memories!
You can cook the cutlets flat or roll them up. We tried both. We thought the rolled up versions retained more moisture and flavor. Also, you can remove the toothpicks after cooking, the cutlets will stay together. A classic side dish is mashed potatoes. We used a mix of potatoes and cauliflower. Ingredients Instructions
Saltimbocca alla Romana
You can cook the cutlets flat or roll them up. We tried both. We thought the rolled up versions retained more moisture and flavor. Also, you can remove the toothpicks after cooking, the cutlets will stay together. A classic side dish is mashed potatoes. We used a mix of potatoes and cauliflower.