Who is Casale del Giglio?
Have you heard of Casale del Giglio? They are an iconic brand located 50km south of Rome that is well known in Rome and Lazio. Of interest is that they are working with the almost forgotten indigenous vines of Lazio. These include coastal varieties such as the Biancolella of Ponza, the Bellone of Anzio, and the inland grapes of Pecorino of Accumoli, and Cesanese around Lazio.
Casale del Giglio was founded in 1967 by Berardino Santarelli, a Roman wine merchant who saw the potential of the uncharted land in the Agro Pontino valley. Its position between the inland hills and the sea set a specific micro climate which looked promising for grapes. Today more than 20 different wines are produced in Casale del Giglio’s vineyards. Some wines are from indigenous grape varieties like Bellone and Cesanese, and others from vitis vinifera like Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah. They also grow lesser known varieties (to some people) such as Petit Manseng, Viognier, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot.
Bellone of Anzio – a white grape variety. 511 ha of this grape are grown in Italy. It is known for being both hardy and prolific. Apple and pear aromas and flavours.
Biancolella of Ponza – a white variety. There are approximately 164 acres of this indigenous grape grown in Italy. Casale del Giglio note that their wine shows an intense perfume of hawthorn blossom, ripe golden peach and fresh apricot. It is flinty and fresh, reminiscent of the ‘volcanic – calcareous’ vineyard soils and sea breezes that sustain the vine. A lingering fruitiness on the finish and a hint of citrus.
Pecorino of Accumoli – I am not sure how this grape differs from Pecorino, but 1,114ha of Pecorino are grown in Italy. It is characterised by high acidity and alcohol. It has aromas and flavours of apple, pear, and sage, thyme, and mint herbs. Casale del Giglio used this grape for creating sparkling with in the traditional method.
Cesanese – is a red grape, moderate colour and tannins. Aromas and flavours of red cherry, cinnamon, white pepper, and rose petals. 679 ha of this vine are grown in Italy. Casale del Giglio notes that Cesanese is a low yield, late-ripening variety which lends itself to late harvesting. It is currently being produced under their “Matidia” label.
The 2019 Vintage
We currently have only two of Casale del Giglio’s wines available in Vancouver currently, but more should be coming to BC this year. The 2019 vintage was started with a delay in the appearance of the new growth and by heavy rains in May which provided a water reserve for the summer months. The delay in maturation compared to the seasonal average, and a cool, rain free September, provided perfectly ripe, plump, healthy grapes. This they say is an ideal situation for the production of perfectly integrated, long-lasting wines.
We currently have the Cesanese Lazio IGT Red at BC Liquor stores and the Bellone Lazio IGT white wine at select Vancouver and Victoria restaurants.
Let’s hope we can enjoy the whole range of Casale del Giglio’s 2019 wines soon in BC with family and friend. Ciao.