What the ancient Romans used to drink
Last summer in Rome I was scrolling through the wine list of the famous restaurant Flavio al velavevo detto (read all about it in my Ultimate Rome City Guide and stumbled upon a wine I had never heard of. The so called Cesanese del Piglio. I instantly googled it and to my surprise I read it is one of the oldest varieties to be found in the region of Lazio! Supposedly this is the grape the ancient Romans made their (sweet) red wines with! Established as a DOC since 1973 and a DOCG since 2008.
Cesanese del Piglio
Of course I had to order the wine to taste this special varietal and what I tasted did not disappoint me! A beautiful ruby red color, aromas of plum, cherries and tiny black fruits, floral tones in the nose and a very elegant on the palate. The aftertaste had some bitters which is very common among Italian wines. It paired so well with the home made ravioli with tomato sauce I ordered! In fact it is a wine that pairs well with all traditional Roman dishes. Think of Cacio e Pepe, Amatriciana and Carbonara.
Save the grape
Nowadays the variety is in decline since there is less than a 1.000 hectares left. Some Roman restaurants have the wine on their wine list but not many! I did go looking for it in some local supermarkets and couldn’t find it there. I recommend if you are in Rome and want to taste it, you go to the better wine stores or try the traditional restaurants. Of course you can order the wine online!