Heather Hanson is the most fun person to be with if you want to know what’s happening on the Italian wine scene. I met her years ago when I went along on a Context Travel Wine Walk of Rome that she lead-which by the way is a great thing to do in the Eternal City–go wine bar hopping with Heather, I mean, because she gives you the backstage view.
For such a young woman, she brings in loads of expertise–she’s a certified sommelier from one of Italy’s most prestigious institutions and she’s lived in Rome for nine years. Plus, she is always entertaining.
I asked her to get me up to date on Rome’s wine scene and she came back with:
A new, very casual wine bar that I like is the Cantina Lucifero (via del Pellegrino 53), run by the owners of Taverna Lucifero around the corner, one of my favorite restaurants in Rome. The Taverna specializes in fondue (I always get the Piedmontese fondue with fontina cheese and fresh white truffle!) and they have always had a serious wine list. Their new wine bar offers a few different whites and reds by the glass as well as a good bottle selection, and their amazing appetizers such as grilled vegetables and cheeses.
And as for local wines to order?
More and more Lazio producers are eschewing quanity and focusing on quality. Marco Carpineti in the Cori district uses organic methods to turn out interesting, very well-priced reds and white. Isabella Mottura, the niece of established producer Sergio, makes serious reds in the Tuscia Viterbese, an up-and-coming sub-zone. Vini Pallavicini in the Castelli Romani makes extremely affordable wines (their most expensive wine will run you 15 euros at the winery) in a wide range of styles. I particularly like their Frascati Superiore Poggio Verde and their Amarone-style red Amarasco.
She has a Website, Italy Decanted, AND a book in the works. I’ll keep you posted.