Casale del Giglio Cesanese 2018 $25

What’s the Deal? It’s always struck me as odd that Rome, the great city of Italy, has never really cultivated a connection with a wine region in the way other Italian cities have. When you’re in Florence you have Chianti and Brunello, Venice you have Prosecco, Turin you have Barolo and Barbaresco. But Rome, nada. You might think that this is because there’s no great wine region near the Roman capital, but you’d be wrong. Lazio, the region Rome is located in, has amazing wines€”we just rarely see them in Canada and almost never in the West. But luckily there’s one winery that made a commitment to getting their wines to our region€”Casale Del Giglio, a 50-year-old winery situated in the rolling countryside 50km south of Rome.

What’s in the Bottle? At various times you’ve been able to get different wines from Casale Deli Giglio in our market. You may recall€”here and here, for example€”that I’ve gushed over their super esoteric Petit Manseng, which used to be available at the BCLDB.  But the bottle available there now is maybe even cooler because it’s made of a native Lazio grape variety that you never see in North America: Cesanese. It’s a low-yield, late-ripening varietal€”two characteristics that spell potential trouble for the financial side of the wine business, which is likely why it hasn’t caught on in other regions. But the wine that comes from it is a winner: this bottle has a beguiling mix of tart cherry sprinkled with cracked black pepper, with notes of licorice, cocoa nibs and violets. And it has amazing acidity€”the perfect pairing for, well, anything rich that needs the combo of body and acidity to bring balance.

Should I Buy? 100%. Usually slightly esoteric wines from Italy are cost prohibitive when they land here, making experimenting on them a pricey gamble. But here we’re talking $25 (and no gamble). It seems a fair deal to be transported to the Via del Corsa, just as the sun is setting and the cacophony of Rome plays in the background. Also grab that Petit Manseng if you see it at private stores€”it’s bonkers fun.