Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Fountain in Piazza Navona - Rome

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is widely celebrated in Italy and is a public holiday. The day commemorates when Mary, the mother of Jesus, was graced by God to lead a life “free of sin” according to Catholic belief but yet gets pregnant with Baby Jesus on this day. Nowhere is Italy’s catholicism so on display as in Rome where you do see cardinals walking around in their robes.

I have had the pleasure of spending this day in Rome in the past. Whenever there I try to drink local wines.

sistine_chapel_vatican_871495

I’ve found that Romans tend to have a mix of wines at their meals. Perhaps a red wine with lamb. It could be Cesanese del Piglio which is a local grape from Lazio. I first discovered this grape variety in 2005 when I was doing a series of interviews with winemakers throughout Italy for a project. Cesanese del Piglio is 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. I’m going to do a piece on these wines later this week.

zagarolo

For dessert, Romans have a few fun local wine choices including Malvasia del Lazio which I wrote about as part of my Italian indigenous grape variety series. Or perhaps Cannellino from Frascati made with Malvasia and Trebbiano.

Lazio is a region that doesn’t get enough love from writers. sommeliers and general wine enthuiasts. I look forward to seeing that turn around someday in the not too distant future. I can’t wait to go back and visit as soon as we can travel.

Today’s Charity is the International Rescue Committee . They do amazing work with immigrants and refugees. I did a project for them some years ago and witnessed first hand just how impressive the organization was.

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