Exploring Campania’s Amazing Wines, from the Ancient Past to the Bright Future

SAT-20140920-2Recently, we’ve been featuring several wines from Campania, one of our favorite Italian regions, and the childhood home of IWM’s founder, Sergio Esposito. Given our passion for these wines, it felt like the right time to give some perspective to this often overlooked region. In ancient Roman times, Campania held the spot at the top; it was the world’s premier wine-producing zone. But this reputation was changed over time by an emphasis on low-quality mass production. Today, Campania’s former brilliance has been recaptured through various producers’ efforts with antique varietals—after all, Campania is home to more indigenous grapes than anywhere else in Italy.

Contemporary recognition of Campania’s quality began with the historic release of Mastroberardino’s critically acclaimed 1968 Taurasi. Mastroberardino was the sole producer of quality Aglianico (Taurasi is a mono-varietal Aglianico) for several years, so only in the last couple of decades has Aglianico potential and that of its fellow ancient varietals come to the wine world’s consciousness. Aglianico, in fact, has come to be known as the “Nebbiolo of the South,” and its Taurasi DOCG has the reputation for being its most important expression.

While Aglianico headlines the red varieties, Piedirosso, with which it is frequently blended, is gaining on its heels; many producers are now craft single-varietal bottlings of the grape. Casavecchia and Pallagrello are two of the other recovered varietals, focused on exclusively by Vestini Campagnano. In general, the Reds tend to be quite powerful in expression, while the Whites display an animating acidity. While many whites, like Greco di Tufo and Falanghina, are mild in flavor, some, especially Fiano, offer deeply satisfying aromatics. All are generally marked by restraint, making them food-friendly and perfect as hot weather sippers.

Campania also enjoys the enviable distinction of being home to a significant number of cult wines, many of which began as “garage” wines—the expression of individual passion. Most notable among these are Silvia Imparato’s Montevetrano and Fattoria Galardi’s Terre di Lavoro, for collector, “garage” wines, and De Conciliis for more affordable bottlings. Indeed, this kind of fierce individuality, dedication and passion define Campania as a winemaking region, or at least as much as its terroir and indigenous grapes—and producers like Raffaele Palma, whose organic estate perches on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast, suggest that Campania is perched to reclaim its ancient status at the top of Italy’s wine world.

Join us on Saturday, September 20 for a special tasting that explores the wines of Campania and the Amalfi Coast.

Inside IWM

Share this post:

Related Posts

Comments are closed.