Thursday, July 17, 2014

Winey Tasting Notes: When In Rome....Drink Frascati

We did it! The Winey Family is just back from a long awaited trip to Italy, a country we have been saving and scheming to visit for about 2 years. To misquote Julius Caesar: "Venimus, vidimus, omens nos" (translation: We came, we saw, we did it all!) From the sightseeing to the eating  and shopping and of course, the wine, it was the trip of a lifetime. Over the next few posts, I'm going to tell you a little about the Italian wines I sipped, and I'm going to start out with a wine that will come up every time you hear the phrase "Italian wine": Frascati.

I cannot lay claim to knowing
families eating dinner in Rome
A splendida serata (wonderful evening) in Roma!
about Frascati before heading over to Italy and our first stop, Rome. It just so happened that in the way of all great minds, one of our best buddies from college (we are all proud Northwestern University alumni) was also visiting Italy with his family this summer, and we discovered that we'd have a night in the eternal city together. Plans were made to get together for dinner, and it was there that The Winey Friend and his wife told us they'd tried Frascati the night before and loved it.

I picked up some info on Frascati after our dinner from a cookbook I had bought in Rome*. It's a varietal from the Castelli Romani hill town of - what else - Frascati. It's one of the oldest Italian wines - Pope Paul the Third was a big fan, and he was Pope in the 1500's!! It is usually a drier wine (there is a sweet version, but it's rare) and is usually a sparkling wine.

wine cork from a bottle of Frascati Superiore
I didn't lug the bottle all over Italy,
but I did save the cork!
The Frascati we drank that night was Casale Marchese Frascati Superiore DOCG (2013, 13.5%, Italy).  It was the sparkling kind, and started out with a nose of fresh air. No flowers, no smoke, not anything but a whiff of fresh air. The tiny bubbles were very lively in the mouth and the flavors were layers of minerals, followed by faint lemon and a hint of flowers. It finished on a bit of sour citrus (Meyer lemons).  Our friend said it best when she remarked, "It's light but it's full of flavor." I think the bubbles had something to do with it. They just took all the minerality and citrus and exploded them in my mouth. It was wonderful paired with my white fish dinner, but would be terrific with shellfish, chicken, pizza, prosciutto or just about any food you can think of that you'd eat al fresco on a gorgeous June evening while you are in Rome.

Maybe you are thinking that my glowing review of this wine is a bit prejudiced by the fact that while sipping it, I laughed and reminisced and talked and ate and laughed some more. But given the fact that I'll soon be on a hunt to find some Frascati here in Ohio, I'd have to say that I liked the wine as much as I loved the evening we spent drinking it. Frascati is available lots of places but I will caution you to plan on drinking it soon after you buy it. As the Casale Marchese website says,"Frascati should always be consumed before the next harvest starts." In fact, it's on sale about a month after its first bottling. Good excuse to drink up promptly, isn't it?

Cin cin!

*The Flavours and Scents of Rome. 2013 ed. Rome: L'Ortensia Rossa SRL, 2010. Print.
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