The Jacobini Winery (Azienda Agricola Carafa Jacobini) just relaunched itself anew as an independent Lazio wine producer under its own label. Since Jacobini began producing wine in the late 1600s it's gone from independent producer to consortium and now back again to independent producer. Jacobini has had a fascinating history over the centuries and in this episode Nina Farrell shared her family-owned Jacobini Lazio winery story with me.
The history of Jacobini Wine, Lazio
The Jacobini Lazio wine story begins back in 1680 when the family first started producing wine over four generations ago. Back then Jacobini was considered a premiere Lazio wine and was exported all over the world: to England, throughout Europe and to the United States and Canada. Prominent authors made reference to the wine.
Fast forward to the second world war and the German invasion of Italy and the Lazio region. The Germans wreaked havoc on Lazio wine producing areas and left vineyards in destruction. Following the war many producers simply gave up and others, like Jacobini, banded together to form consortiums to continue producing wine. Alessandro's grandmother, Margherita, was one of these people. At first this was a welcome and ideal solution and a salvation for producers. Over time their consortium began to focus more on quantity than quality wines.
Alessandro Carafa Jacobini and his American wife Nina Farrell wanted to bring back Jacobini Lazio wine as independent producers under their own label. After years of work to make this happen Alessandro and Nina were able for the first time in many years to release their own wine. Their Jacobini Lazio wine was just released a few months ago with a new and modern label that reflects the Jacobini rich history and their own quality-first, organic wine producing objectives.
About the Jacobini Lazio wine
Alessandro and Nina decided to start off with the release of just one wine and focus on making it the very best it could be. It's a fresh and crisp organic IGP white wine, produced in the hills near Ariccia just south of Rome. It's made with the Lazio native grape, Procanico, an aromatic variety of the Trebbiano del Lazio grape.
This is a wine that pairs well with almost everything: appetizers, cheese, fish. It has a nose bursting with tropical fruit and citrus, and a pronounced minerality and salinity on the palate, thanks to the proximity to the sea and the terrain's volcanic soil. The Jacobini Lazio wine production area is known as the green lung of the Lazio region.
Jacobini produced 3300 bottles and the focus now is on making their wine available to top Rome restaurants and enoteche. Every two weeks Nina updates the Jacobini website to reflect the latest locations where you can find their wine. The goal is to eventually sell about ⅓ of the Jacobini Lazio wine in the local Italian market, ⅓ to England and ⅓ internationally and in particular the United States.
Jacobini wine is 100% organic, from A-to-Z. That means the land is certified as an organic farm, the wine is certified organic and everything Jacobini uses in the wine production phase is organic. Non-organic fertilizers and pesticides aren't used and in the bottling phase corks made from biodegradable sugarcane instead of cork are used - a decidedly more sustainable solution.
The organic certification process was a long haul but extremely important to both Alessandro and Nina. It took about three years to obtain organic certification for both the land and the wine but it was well worth it. They both prefer the taste of organic wine, and right now organic wine is much in demand which positions them well in the marketplace.
Where can you buy Jacobini Lazio wine?
Soon you should be able to buy Jacobini Lazio wine in the United States. Nina is in conversation with the Pennsylvania state liquor board, one of the largest wine buyers in the United States. She's also in touch with wine buyers in Ohio, New York and New Jersey.
It's always possible to buy this wine directly from Jacobini. You can contact them by email.
You can also find Jacobini on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn.
At the moment you can't purchase Jacobini wine from online vendors but as soon as it's possible Nina will list these vendors on their website.
The Ariccia winery and the historic Genzano Jacobini family Palazzo
The Jacobini Lazio winery is located on 40 hectares – 100 acres - of rolling hills in the Ariccia, Alban Hills area. Half of the land is dedicated to olive groves and the other half to wine growing. Jacobini grows three organic native Lazio grapes: Trebbiano (Procanico), Malvasia del Lazio and Malvasia Candida.
The Procanico grapes are used to produce the Jacobini wine and the other Malvasia grapes are sold to other prime wine producers in the area.
Although this first year Jacobini produced 3300 bottles the capacity is for 20,000 bottles. That will hopefully happen a few years down the line but Nina would like to see this year's production double in 2022.
Also down the line Nina and her husband would like to utilize the other organic Malvasia grapes to produce some blends.
There's a 16th century mill on the winery farm property and right now Alessandro and Nina are restoring it to use for a tasting room. Because it's an historic building permits and other bureaucratic details for the restoration are time consuming.
Right now wine tastings take place in the historic 16th century family Palazzo in the heart of Genzano. Genzano is well worth a visit, especially in June when the town holds its annual infiorata, and one of the streets is covered with carpets of flowers. The town is also nearby beautiful Lake Nemi where two Roman ships from the time of Caligula were resurfaced.
If you visit Genzano you can set up a wine-tasting, purchase some wine and have a look at the historic 19th century Jacobini wine bottle, one of twelve that was recovered from a cave within the building structure.
More about Lazio Wines
Lazio is an unsung hero as a wine production area and it's having a rebirth so it's time to explore what the region has to offer. This region is full of hills and lakes, coastline, Islands and volcanic soil - all the conditions you need to produce fabulous wine. Here is the top guide to the best Lazio wine.
Jacobini Lazio wine is IGP wine which is part of the Italian wine rating and protection system and means Protected Geographical Indication. Learn all about how Italy rates and protects its food and wine here.
Ariccia, where the Jacobini winery is located
If you visit the Jacobini Lazio winery make sure you stop by the historic town of Ariccia. If you've tasted porchetta this is where it's from. Flavor of Italy has a day trip to Ariccia from Rome and here are the details.
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