Campania is one of the historic wine areas of Italy – the Romans prized the wine from Ager Falernum (now revived as Palermo) – for great fresco from Pompeii, see: Roman fresco at Pompeii
No doubt their predecessors, the Sammites, could cook up a great brew or two. As the map shows, they certainly had a grip of Southern Italy between 6th and 4th centuries before Christ.
The world-famous classical sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum and much more) are matched by the heritage of ancient grape varieties with Greek and Roman names – Aglianico (a-yee-a-ni-co), the omnipresent red variety of course means ‘hellenic’ and then there is the rather obviously named white, Greco di Tufo, the Greco which grows on the volcanic rock. By contrast, Falanghina, the second of the trio of exceptional white varieties, derives it name from the Latin word for a stake – you had to prop it up. The third white, Fiano is mentioned by Pliny who says that it is loved by bees (apianus). And there are plenty of other local grape varieties. Best other name is ‘Red foot’ (Piedirosso), thought to be relative of Refosco grown in Friuli in the north of Italy, and there are many more, some re-entering cultivation.
Our visit to Campania was in the last week of October. In most of Italy the harvest is long over by this stage and that’s certainly true of the whites here. But, as you can see, the Aglianico is late harvested (especially for the top wine, Taurasi).
This was an excellent week – creative and hospitable growers, traditional wines from the local varieties and a tiny handful of top international style wines. And of course great food, the classical and local heritage, brilliant landscapes whether on the spectacular coast or the less well known hills and mountains – much of the wine is grown between 200 and 600metres above sea level. All in all an excellent week. I hope that the posts convey something of this exceptional region.
Big, medium or small? Numbers of bottles produced
|Villa Diamante||10, 000|
|Contrade di Taurasi||20,000|
|Salvatore Molettieri||50, 000|
|Marisa Cuomo||97, 000|
|Di Prisco||100, 000|
|De Conciliis||150, 000|
|Di Meo*||500, 000|
|Mastroberardino||2, 400, 000|
|Feudi di San Gregorio||3, 900, 000|
|4, 000, 000|
Source: Gambero Rosso 2009
* – not commented on in this blog