Italian Indigenous Varieties: Cesanese Comune & Cesanese d’Affile from Lazio

I first discovered these grape varieties in 2005 when I was doing a series of interviews with winemakers throughout Italy for a project. The grape hails from Lazio where I have spent quite a bit of time thanks to a dear friend who lives in Zagarolo. Cesanese del Piglio is the only wine in Lazio that was given the Denominazione d’origine garantita e controllata (DOCG). It must be made from a minimum of 90% Cesanese Comune and Cesanese d’Affile.

Cesanese is not that widely seen on wine list menus and I think it is a real shame. It produces wines that are hearty and ruby red in color. It also brings spice and supple tannins to the table and blends well with other grape varieties.

Lazio is one of Italy’s regions that still needs to be explored by many. In addition to wonderful wines, it boasts incredibly interesting small towns that are worth a visit such as Anagni, Alatri, Ferentino – three towns that I visited in the Ciociaria. The Ciociaria is well known thanks to the movie by De Sica that won Sophie Lauren an Academy Award – La Ciociara.. Don’t miss the opportunity to see this movie, visit the area and of course, drink wines made from Cesanese.

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