For many years, until the environmental remediation of the Pontine Marshes, the territory of downtown Terracina, which is sloping down to the sea, has always been characterized by the presence of many vineyards and vines.
Most of them are still present today in the countryside areas around the city. Wine is a tradition that has ancient heritage in Terracina. The composition of the ground (which is sandy and near the sea) lends itself very well to the cultivation of a kind of grape, which is produced exclusively in Lazio Region and generates a well-known and loved wine all over the world: the Moscato di Terracina.
This name is generally used for the grape and the proper wine. The vine, as mentioned, is a local variety common only in Lazio Region. It is used both to produce wine and as a table grape. It belongs to the Moscatos species, aromatic vines whose name derives from the Latin word muscum (musk), whose characteristic aroma is found in grapes and it probably corresponds to the ancient Anatheleikon Moschaton, a native vine of the Middle East and probably arrived on the Mediterranean coast through Asia Minor. The Greek settlers originally from the island of Samos and the coastal towns of ancient Ionia (nowadays, western part of Turkey) widespread it along the shores of the western Mediterranean. They did not want to separate themselves from their favorite vine, so they brought seeds and vine shoots with them in order to reproduce them in the vineyards of the colonies that they were going to found. Other authors, however, recognize the “paternity” of the vine with Apiana grapes, a term used in ancient Rome. The vine as we know it today, however, corresponds to the French grape Muscat à petit grains: in fact, the French word musqué is correctly translated as aromatic.
Historical and archaeological theories are also based on mythology and legends: the poets Homer and Virgil mentioned the southern coasts of Lazio as the places of the legendary landings of Ulysses and Aeneas and – according to Homer’s Odyssey – Circe the Sorceress used the inbringing scent and the enchanting bouquet of this wine to charm and tie to itself Ulysses and his sailors.
The Moscato grape has large, round beans with an intense yellow color. The harvest usually takes place in the first ten days of October; different types of Moscato wine are produced: dry, “amabile”, raisin and sparkling wine. Precisely for this reason, the Moscato di Terracina is very versatile: it can indeed accompany the whole meal, from appetizers to desserts. The dry one is excellent as an aperitif, the “amabile” version goes perfectly with the classic dough dishes such as pizza “ternana”, panettone, pandoro, “colomba” (a typical Italian dessert which is shaped like a dove – colomba in Italian) or brioches, while the sweet version of dried grapes is particularly suitable to accompany dry biscuits, pastry with almonds or more complex products based on dried and candied fruit such as the classic Roman pangiallo. The alcoholic gradation of Moscato di Terracina is about 11.5 °C and the right ageing time, after which it is advisable to consume the wine, is about 18-24 months.
The first registration of the brand dates back to 1971, but only in 2007 the Moscato di Terracina boasted the A.O.C. certification. You can taste a great glass of moscato wine in wine cellars, restaurants or wineries which are present all over Terracina.