De' Notari is the "artisanal" wine division of Cantine San Marco, which is a very successful and respected wine producer in the Colli Albani hills about 15 miles south of Rome. While that may sound quite close to a major metropolitan area, somehow most major cities in Europe have avoided the ever spreading suburban sprawl that is so common in the U.S. that gobbles up as much nearby land as possible. In any case, the Colli Albani is probably much more suitable for viticulture than for housing developments as it is rolling hills that are the remains of a massive ancient volcano. And so, in my ever present search for minerally wines, I am very happy to have found this very interesting producer so close to Rome.
The Rome wine market is also quite interesting as Lazio wine producers appear to be very successful and comfortable with a large and wine thirsty population close by. In such a market, many producers still emphasize quantity over quality but I found everything that I encountered in my contact with De' Notari personnel to be impressive in terms of their dedication to producing very high quality wines. My initial selections are a white blend (Frascati), which is effectively the signature wine of Rome, and a very interesting local native red grape which is named Cesanese.
Vineyards in Frascati (only 15 miles from the center of Rome)
A 2,000 year old celler underneath the vineyards. In the center of the picture you can see a solid chunk of basalt that was ejected by a very long ago volcanic event.
Volcanic rock outcropping next to a vineyard
Organic Frascati Superiore DOCG 2018 (OC, NF)
This is a blend of 70% Trebbiano and 30% Malvasia from vineyards south of Rome in the Frascati DOCG. Aromas include white flowers, wildflower honey, linden, and hints of cherries and ripe strawberries. . Flavors include honeydew melon and white peaches. There is medium body with perfect balance as the wine saturates your palate along with having refreshing acidity on the finish.
Food pairings would include sea bass, swordfish, halibut, shrimp, clams, mussels, seafood pasta and salads, seafood and vegetable fritto misto, veal, pork, chicken, light pasta dishes, Asian pork and chicken stir frys, Asian noodle dishes and vegetable salads, and mild cheeses.
Cesanese 2017 (NF)
Aromas include blackberries, dark plums, cherries, and soy. Flavors include cocoa, dark chocolate, blackberries, dark plums, and dark cherries. There is a very smooth and perfectly balanced medium body, good acidity, and a rich full finish.
Food pairings would include beef stew, braised meats, BBQ ribs, Filet Mignon, New York Steak, wild boar, pasta with meat sauces, spicy sausages, grilled chicken, charcuterie, Indian Tandoori, Asian and Mexican beef dishes, and hard cheeses.