Lazio is a region in central Italy, and home to the ancient capital city of Rome. Like many Italian wine regions, Lazio's vine heritage is ancient. Its first inhabitants were the Etruscans, though it was the Latins who gave the area its original name Latium. The Romans brought the region into another era by improving trade and agriculture, although after the collapse of the Roman Empire the land was neglected. Only in the 1870s, when Rome became the capital of Italy, did this wine region flourish once again.
The region’s reputation is mainly based on its white wines, the mainstays being Trebbiano and Malvasia di Candia. Traditionally these wines were fat, rounded, abboccato and made for immediate consumption. Today the styles are lighter, drier and crisper thanks to modern vinification methods. However they are still designed for drinking young, characterized by their sharpness, high acidity and a lightness that makes them an ideal accompaniment to the local cuisine – they cut through the heaviness of these dishes such as porchetta (pork roasted with herbs) and abbacchio (young lamb). Although its red wines are not as high-profile, they are beginning to make a name for themselves, especially those made from Sangiovese, Cesanese, Montepulciano, Merlot and Nero Buono di Coro. Also of note are Canaiolo and Ciliegiolo; in total, there are more than 200 grape varieties in the area.