Known as the ancient homeland of the Latins, today there is a vigorus wine industry beyond the city limits of modern, bustling Rome. The Cesanese grape, full of red berry, spice and rose, is responsible for Lazio’s only true local reds. Lazio’s most famous white wine, called Frascati, is based on the local Malvasia del Lazio and Trebbiano Toscana. A sweet version, called Cannellino di Frascati, is also made.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.