I have the good fortune
to work with Cantina Imperatori's winemaker Angelo Giovannini and through him become
familiar with this elegant winery located in Frascati. With innovating and modern winemaking, Cantina Imperatori is not only producing excellent
wines, but has a story to tell through
its vineyards, the cantina, the cellar and especially the grotto of amphoras.
The winery's project started in 2014, and continues to be well cured to the most minimal detail. Imperatori's philosophy is twofold; to bring back native vines (cesanese, trebbiano verde) and to use well known international varieties with a local interpretation (cabernet sauvignon, viognier, petit verdot).
Entering the winery you are flanked by vineyards, and once on the cantina’s terrace you get a feel for the project, the territory and take in one amazing view. The vineyards and olive trees are planted in an amphitheatre configuration, and continue their descent towards Rome. Not only beautiful to look at, but the layout was designed for maximum draining of the volcanic soil and practices sustainable agriculture.
Worth noting are the vines of the petit verdot and the ancient growing method used; white rocks are placed under the vines not only to prohibit growing grass, but to reflect the sun and to maintain heat.
Moving into the cellar, the cantina has both botti (1500L) and French barriques (300L); selections Giovannini made for teasing out various flavors and aromas from specific grapes during the aging process.
The most spectacular part of the winery includes the grotto of amphoras. Similar to clay pots once used in ancient winemaking with the addition of advanced technology, the amphora allows the fruit to breathe like a barrique but without the infusion of oak flavors. Here the trebbiano verde grapes are fermented and aged with their skins on from September to March.
For those who love bubbly, Imperatori is the process of creating their own Metodo Classico, traditional method with Cesanese grapes. Their first vintage is scheduled to be released in 2022.
My tasting included 3 whites, 2 reds:
-Trebbiano Verde “Secreto Verde” IGP Lazio
- Viognier IGP Lazio
-Trebbiano verde “Secreto Verde”Anfora IGP Lazio
-Cesanese IGP Lazio
-Cabernet Sauvigon IGT Lazio
My favorite is the Trebbiano Verde IGP Lazio, aged in steel vats, most likely because my preference leans towards fresh, crisp, white, mineral wines. On the other hand the Trebbiano Verde aged in amphora is the most interesting; a rounder, more intensely perfumed wine than its steel vat counterpart. Their Cesanese, a red wine made from a local native grape that I am an immense fan of, is so smooth and food friendly, had my friend exclaiming “I could drink this all day!”
Whether you are a wine novice or aficionado, a visit to this cantina promises an experience of style, beauty and great winemaking. Be sure to book a visit!
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