The whimsically-named Est! Est!! Est!!! di Montefiascone DOC sits in the northwestern part of Lazio, near the region’s border with Umbria. Specializing in blends based on various forms of Trebbiano and Malvasia, the region’s purported backstory is quite a tale. Legend states that a bishop traveling to Rome would send a scout a day ahead of him to suss out the inns boasting the best wines and mark them with the word Est, meaning “it is” in Latin. In Montefiascone, the wine was apparently so good that the scout marked “Est! Est!! Est!!!” above the local inn’s door, and the wine was thereafter dubbed as thus.
Despite the historic fame of Est! Est!! Est!!!, Lazio is not known for icon wines – there aren’t any wines that have the lore of Barolo, Brunello, or Amarone here. In fact, the vast majority of wine from Lazio is consumed in Lazio, mostly in Rome. The notoriety of things like Frascati outside of Italy is often due more to vacation nostalgia than quality.
Still, there are producers who are changing the landscape of winemaking in Lazio, like Stefano Stefanoni. Since 1950, Cantina Stefanoni has been passed from father to son, with each generation making improvements in viticulture and vinification. Stefanoni’s wines are grown and made as naturally as possible, by hand, with minimal intervention.
Fanum is considered one of Lazio’s top red wines, a luxurious, suave red comprising 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, and 20% Merlot. Deep ruby red in hue, this structured wine has round tannins complemented by notes of black currants, dark cherry, and a touch of vanilla.