The Grand Wine Tour has arrived in Lazio! Located 50km south of Rome in the Agro Pontino Valley, Casale del Giglio has been pioneering viticulture in the region since 1967.
Nestled near the Tyrrhenian Sea, Casale del Giglio is a countryside paradise just an hour away from the Eternal City. Located in the Agro Ponto Valley in the Latina province south of Rome, the winery is 180 hectares of vineyards and olive groves that sway in the gentle sea breeze. And of course, being so close to once formidable Roman Empire, ancient ruins have been found and excavated on site. Sounds romantic, right? It definitely is, but ancient ruins aside, the one thing the winery definitely is not is old school.
In fact, behind each bottle of Mater Matuta, their flagship red wine or Aphrodisium, their award-winning white, is over 30 years of dedicated research and data on the best viticultural practices for their region. It all began in 1985, when Antonio Santarelli, the founder’s son embarked on a huge research project with Paolo Tiefenthaler, a young enologist from Trentino. Inspired by the models of cultivation and vine management in Bordeaux, Australia and California, they studied how these coastal vineyards could be best adapted to their land close to the Mediterranean. What resulted was the experimental planting of over 60 varietals to find the best fit.
Even though they found that the international varieties Syrah, Petit Verdot, Viognier, Sauvignon and Petit Manseng are best and strongest, the duo continues to conduct extensive research especially on more local varieties such as Greco and Fiano. They have even ventured into native grapes such as Bellone and Cesanese which have histories that reach back to the Romans.
Ancient Ruins and the Sea
The ancient site of Satricum, first discovered in 1896, was a temple dedicated to the goddess Mater Matuta. After an initial couple year of intense excavation, the site was left until the early 20th century when archaeologists had a renewed interest in the ruins. They thought that had dug most of the findings up, but in 1975 a team extended the dig site to under the winery’s vineyards. This twenty-five-year dig uncovered some very important findings, such as Stone of Satricum which is dated to around 500 BCE.
Nowadays, you can visit the dig site at the edge of our vineyards and see a few remaining ruins of the temple.
You can also forgo the past and enjoy the present at Sperlonga or Gaeta; the two beach towns closest to the winery. Rich in their own individual histories, each town offers a fantastic seaside getaway from the dust of Rome, after an afternoon tasting of course! Buy a bottle and enjoy it on the beach with local seafood for a truly local experience.
Worth the visit
However, much you love Rome and don’t get us wrong, it is a magical place, the crowds wear down on everybody. Enjoy a different perspective on the culture, both modern and ancient, through a personalized wine tasting! Viticulture is one of the oldest practices in Italy and a great way to interact with the ruins and museums you’ve left behind for the day. Do as the Romans do and escape to the countryside this summer!