The Italian region of Lazio attracts tourists primarily by Rome and the Vatican. But they also make great wine there.

Last year, we traveled around Italy by car and visited private wineries, where we learned a lot about wines.  

All the way we could not stop looking at the hills covered with vineyards. It seemed that the air was saturated with white semi-dry, which further improved the already wonderful mood. The local relief resembled a roller coaster, and we were always breathtaking from these ups and downs.

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As we were later told, nature created ideal conditions here for growing grapes and the wines here are so tasty that they did not have time to take them to Rome and were not allowed to stand - everyone drank. Probably, they just didn't want to share with anyone.

We visited the private winery Stefanoni, where a very young co-owner told that he preferred the family business to other pursuits. When I asked what advice he could give to those who have their own business and who are just looking for a hobby, Francesco said: "You can always do better." And he tries to adhere to this principle in everything, therefore, he personally participates in all stages, from harvesting to sale. Francesco is the third generation of winemakers in his family and is a fan of wine and everything connected with it.

 

“I want to make you our homemade pasta,” Francesco suggested and, before we had time to taste all the numerous wines, he was already setting the table and getting local delicacies. “So we're going to family lunches and dinners. Wine is an essential component of a meal. "

 

Francesco showed us the cellars and vineyards, and even recorded an interview with us, where he spoke about his daily routine and why, despite the financial capabilities of the family, he does not want to leave to travel or study at a prestigious university.

 

We were surprised and amused by the name of one of the wines that we tasted - “Est! Est !! Est !!! di Montefiascone ". Firstly, it is too long , and secondly, there are too many exclamation marks. As it turned out, this is one of the most famous wines of Lazio.  

According to legend, a servant of a bishop accompanying the English king was sent ahead to announce the arrival of an important person to the population in advance, as well as mark the places with the most delicious wine. The mark was "Est" on the doors of the establishments. So he traveled from village to village, tasted and evaluated wines for the king. In one village, a servant liked the wine so much that he left a triple Est with exclamation marks after each. Since then, this wine has been the hallmark of the region.

We also visited the old winery "Gattavecchi" in Tuscany. Its owners told a touching story of how their family rebuilt the winery after the war and how they tried to resume production. Now it is a successful family business: two brothers, a sister and their mother do not hesitate to pick grapes with their workers, on the contrary, they strive to be present.

When we arrived, they personally showed us their property, constantly smiling and offering us more and more wines to try. The owners of Gattavecca have managed to preserve traditional recipes and modern technologies. Almost all processes in the winery use the energy of the sun and wind, but the wine is still aged in the historical cellars for the prescribed period. No accelerated processing, otherwise it will ruin the bouquet.

The Gattavecca and Stefanoni families make very high quality products in the DOC and DOCG categories. In all countries where wine is taken seriously, there are special requirements for its production. For example, you can't mix different grape varieties or overdo it with sweetness.

All Italian wines are divided into four categories. Two of them are vintage wines DOC and DOCG. 

DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) - wines made according to a clearly defined methodology from grapes of designated varieties grown in a specific area. There are about 300 such zones in Italy, and the list is growing very slowly.   

DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) is a group of special and selected wines produced in only 24 zones. The requirements for them are even more severe.

But the other two categories - IGT and VdT - are still wines. The requirements for them are simpler : only the grape variety, the vinification process and the alcohol content are checked in IGT products; in VdT - the color of the drink and the name of the manufacturer. It is forbidden to indicate the vintage for such wines. They are much cheaper and can be found in any supermarket.    

 

The guide who accompanied us on the journey was of great help in places where English seemed useless. So we were lucky to visit places purely Italian, which have not yet lost their authenticity and flavor.

In May 2019, Goodwin travels to Italy again to visit unique places, visit small colorful cheese dairies and wineries, drive Lamborghini and Ferrari, admire the incredible landscapes that only locals know about, and fully immerse in the spirit of the country.