If Maximus drunk wine you can bet your bippy it was Cesanese del Piglio. Leave the monks their Est! Est!! Est!!! and the senate their sweet Mulsum, Casanese del Piglio is a wine for tough guys and Lazio fans. Cesanese del Affile (90% min variety in Cesanese del Piglio) is a difficult, stubborn little grape, gesturing in its back yard yet unwilling to travel but; is he worthy of honour?
Since the year dot (well, Roman times, if anyone knows when the year dot was I’ll send you this bottle, scroll down for competition) they’ve been producing wine on the red soils of the Ernici mountains, yet it took until November 2011 for this plucky little wine, produced solely in Frosinone province to be awarded its very own DOCG and get the chance to show some true potential. For many, this was a DOCG too far and Cesanese del Piglio has some work to do to disprove the naysayers.
With DOCG status comes the responsibility to get these wines up to international snuff and emerge as THE Lazio wine.
However, the Italian Wine quality drive has arrived in Frosinone. In recent years these wines have gained some following in the capital (Rome, not London) but also in Germany and some unexpected notoriety in the USA, still currently enjoying its Italian Varietal fad. But what about Blighty? Sorry, no. To the best of my knowledge not one of the major wine retailers, even those specialising in Italian wine carries a Cesanese del Piglio, and considering its rich, long history and growing reputation I think that’s a bit rubbish.
From the province of Frosinone, around 100kms south-east of Rome covering around 15,000 hectares, Casanese del Piglio DOCG lies on the volcanic red slopes of the Ernici mountains.
The soils are, in general, severely lacking in nutrients but cover a large area so lots of variation exists within the general quality of the grapes from the region as a whole, with vines planted from 200 m to 1000 m above sea level the exposures also vary. As with any large appellation knowing which vineyards produce the best fruit and which producers control their yields effectively is important. One variable this region shares in common is climate, and it shares that climate with Rome. Hot summers that cause drought for 1-2 months of every year. Within DOCG regulations in Cesanese del Piglio it is permissible to use irrigation in times of stress.
So what’s a Cesanese del Piglio like?
As a dry red it can be bitter and this is why several other grapes are permitted as a small part of the blend to add that touch of aroma/acidity. Currently it is permissible to add 10% Sangiovese, Barbera, Montepulciano, Trebbiano or Bombino Bianco. Cesanese del Piglio is available in a variety of styles including still, sparkling, dry and sweet. These wines are said to accompany smoked cheese and smoked meats rather well, traditionally they display blackberry and tobacco notes and can be rustic and tannic if handled poorly.
Who are the best producers of Cesanese del Piglio?
Tre Bicchiere Awards have gone to Antonello Coletti, but excellent and good value, reliable Cesanese del Piglio are produced each year by producers such as Casale della Iora, Marcella Giuliani, Colletonno, Giovanni Terenzi, Villa Simone and La Viscola.
Are these wines available in the UK?
You tell me? If you can find one, I’ll throw up a link.
/edit – It’s now 2018 and we’re selling this wine in the UK – Here’s a good example at a fair price.
Win this bottle of Cesanese del Piglio DOCG?
Q1. When was the year dot?
Q2. Do you think the bottle in the photo is pronounced “dives” or “divvies”?
Best answer wins. Leave your mail address but space it or you could get spammed! (ex. wine90 @ gmail . com)