Owing to the screen size of your device, you may obtain a better viewing experience by rotating your device a quarter-turn (to get the so-called “panorama” screen view).
owlcroft logo
An Owlcroft Company
web site.

 Click to 
 email us. 

If you like this site,
please post a link to it!

This is…

That Useful Wine Site

Search, or just roll your cursor over the colored boxes farther below.
Advertisements appear before actual Search results;
click the “x” to dismiss Search-results block.


  Site navigation:


  Site navigation:

The Cesanese Grape

Quick page jumps:

About Cesanese

(Synonyms: Bonvino Nero, Cesanese Comune, Cesanese di Afile, Cesanese Nostrano, Nero Ferrigno, Sanguinella, Uva di Afile.)


Map showing the Lazio region of Italy

Cesanese is an ancient red-wine grape originating in Italy, in the Cesanese Comune area of the Lazio region, around Rome. That area today remains the source of almost all Cesanese wines.

To understand the present-day status of Cesanese, one has to appreciate the wine-making history of the Lazio region (the area around Rome). Historically, and by its nature (soils, climate, and the like), the area has, since the days of the Empire, famously produced quite a variety of excellent wines. But as we approach modern times, we find that the seemingly insatiable thirst of the burgeoning population of the renascent Rome (whose population after the devastating Gothic War of 535–554 C.E. had fallen to a mere 35,000) was willing to consume all the wine Lazio could produce, regardless of quality; accordingly, the emphasis was on quantity, and quality suffered badly.

Only in the last few decades have Italian winemakers begun to reverse that trend, and Cesanese is an archetypal example. Its status is not helped by the reality that it can be a difficult grape to manage in the vineyard, owing to its very late ripening; as noted by Wine Searcher (se the quotations farther down this page), “In some cases, the grapes will not reach full phenolic maturity, and the resultant thin, watery wines do not demonstrate the best qualities of Cesanese.” But a corps of young, dedicated winemakers are now taking greater care, and some fine Cesaneses are appearing (see also Italian-wine expert Ian D’Agata’s comments farther below).

There are three distinct strains of Cesanese: Cesanese Comune; Cesanese d’Affile; and the newly rediscovered Cesanese Nostrano. The d’Affile strain is generally preferred, and is slowly edging out the Comune strain, though both can give good wines. The Nostrano strain has not yet established a reputation one way or the other.

The general characteristics of Cesanese wines are dry and fruity with soft tannins and a distinctive aroma variously said to be of mulberries, cherries, floral notes, some herb/spice, and even a tad of red pepper. It is a wine that wants little or no oaking, and is best drunk young.

Factoid: In the 2000s, Cesanese made news owing to its inclusion in “Sogno Uno”, the debut wine from Savanna Samson—an American porn star turned winemaker—which wine earned favorable ratings from wine critics.

Return to the page top. ↑

Some Descriptions of Cesanese Wines

Return to the page top. ↑

Some Cesaneses to Try

(About this list.)

Cesanese may be rising in reknown, but is still not widely distributed in the U.S. The list below is all we could find that is not over $20 and is reasonably available.

Corte dei Papi “Colle Ticchio” Cesanese del Piglio
(Cesanese del Piglio, Lazio, Italy)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.

Casale del Giglio Cesanese
(Lazio, Italy)

• This wine’s Wine Searcher “Reviews” page.
• This wine’s CellarTracker review pages.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher.
• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks.

Return to the page top. ↑

For a Splurge

We could find no reasonably available Cesanese wines better enough than those listed above as to justify a “splurge” price.

Return to the page top. ↑





Disclaimers  |  Privacy Policy

owl logo This site is one of The Owlcroft Company family of web sites. Please click on the link (or the owl) to see a menu of our other diverse user-friendly, helpful sites. Pair Networks logo Like all our sites, this one is hosted at the highly regarded Pair Networks, whom we strongly recommend. We invite you to click on the Pair link or logo for more information on hosting by a first-class service.
(Note: All Owlcroft systems run on Ubuntu Linux and we heartily recommend it to everyone—click on the link for more information).

All content copyright © 2024 The Owlcroft Company
(excepting quoted material, which is believed to be Fair Use).

This web page is strictly compliant with the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) Extensible HyperText Markup Language (XHTML) Protocol v1.0 (Transitional) and the W3C Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) Protocol v3 — because we care about interoperability. Click on the logos below to test us!

This page was last modified on Saturday, 30 October 2021, at 11:26 pm Pacific Time.