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Details for Fontana Candida, Frascati Superiore, Vigneto Santa Teresa

AppellationFrascati Superiore
Malvasia di Candia
(click to find out more)
Trebbiano Toscano
(click to find out more)
Malvasia del Lazio
(click to find out more)
Fontana Candida
(click to find out more)


Bordering Tuscany, Umbria and Abruzzo, the province of Lazio is the home province of Rome.  Once it produced lots of wine to keep thirsty Romans happy but vineyard area has been declining steeply in recent years.  This is partly due to vineyards disappearing under the houses of Rome’s commuter belt, but also due to the lack of any really famous wines.
Lazio is very much white wine country, as illustrated by its two best-known DOCs, Frascati and Est! Est!! Est!!! do Montefiascone.  Both of these, along with several other less well-known DOCs, are based on Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia di Candia, but none of them has a great reputation for quality.  Nor does Orvieto which, although thought of as an Umbrian DOC, extends into northeastern Lazio.
Having said that, the region’s volcanic soils and rocky terrain have the potential to produce excellent whites and reds.  A variety of individual producers make standout wines, often from international varieties, such as Falesco’s Montiano, one of Italy’s greatest Merlots.

Fontana Candida

One of the oldest names in Frascati, Fontana Candida was incorporated as a company in 1958, but had been a family business long before.  Since the 1980s it has been part of the giant Gruppo Italiano Vini, which also owns Bolla in Veneto and Melini in Tuscany.
Despite the size of the operation they have an enviable record for quality.  Their single-vineyard Santa Teresa bottling has long been regarded as the flag-bearer for the region, but it was the arrival of head winemaker Mauro Merz in 2001 that transformed the rest of the range.
Although Fontana Candida has 25 hectares of its own vineyards it also buys grapes from over 200 different growers.  Merz hired a top agronomist to act as consultant to the growers and pays up to 40% over market price for healthier, riper grapes, which has encouraged other growers into the Fontana Candida fold. He’s determined to reduce the plantings of Trebbiano in favour of the more characterful and traditional Malvasia.
Evidence of his ambition to restore Frascati’s tarnished reputation comes with the new much-awarded premium wine Luna Mater, which contains no Trebbiano and is aged in untoasted acacia wood barrels, which he claims add roundness and complexity while avoiding oaky flavours that would unbalance the wine.  Santa Teresa has also gone from strength to strength, but Mertz laments that his mission to improve the less high-end wines is being held back by the refusal of supermarket chains to pay more than bargain-basement prices for Frascati.

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