In the Shadow of the Volcano

Our stay in Naples in February was an adventure both in the city and in the countryside.

Marina Alaimo, a journalist I met in Naples last year, offered to take Michele and I to Haccademia, one of her favorite pizzerias. It is in Terzigno on the road from Naples to Vesuvius. We took the Circumvesuviana, the train that goes around Naples and met Marina in a town a few stops outside of Naples. She drove us straight to the pizzeria where we met the owner Aniello Falanga and his son Nicola who made us a variety of excellent pizzas to taste. Marina ordered the Piedirosso Frupa from the Sorrentino winery to go with the pizza. When I said I liked the wine and that it went very well with the pizza, Marina replied that the winery is only ten minutes away and suggested we go there next.

Sorrentino  Winery is located at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in a famous archeological area shaped like a large pentagon made up of  the ancient towns of Pompei, Oplontis, Stabia and Ercolano, and the Gulf of Naples.  It is a family run winery operated by the father Paolo and his three children, Giuseppe (Director), and daughters Maria Paola and Benny (Winemaker).

Giuseppe took us on a tour and said that the winery is located in Boscotrecase, the ancient Silva Mala.  The sight of Mount Vesuvius looming over the vineyards was awesome.

Rock formed from Lava

He said that the Vesuvius region is the most extended volcanic area in continental Europe. The volcanic sandy soil is by its very nature resistant to parasites like the phylloxera (microscopic insects attacking the roots of the vines, which wiped out most of the vineyards in Europe). Giuseppe went on to explain that all of the vineyards are located on the southwest and south side of Vesuvius where the numerous lava flows reached the sea. The soil here is enriched with minerals and is very fertile. This represents the first line of defense against phylloxera and the preservation of ungrafted vines.

Since the vineyards are phylloxera free, unlike almost all the other vineyards in Europe, these vines are not grafted onto American rootstock. The favorable conditions in the vineyards have always made them close to organic and currently they produce fully organic grapes. Only natural fertilizers are used and there is no addition of synthetic chemicals. The training system is the traditional pergola and the espalier.

Between the rows of vines they plant herbs and vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers and zucchini so biodiversity is maintained in the vineyards and beneficial organisms favor the soil.

The Wines

Falanghina “Latikadea” IGT Made from 100% Falanghina The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. Fermentation is in stainless steel and the wine remains in bottle for at least one month before release. Harvest takes place at the end of September. The wine has flavors and aromas of citrus fruit with hints of pineapple and floral notes.

Organic Falanghina Verso IGT 100% Falanghina The soil is volcanic and sandy. The training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. Harvest is at the end of September. Fermentation is in steel and the wine remains in the bottle for at least one month before release. The wine has aromas and flavors of citrus fruit with hints of pineapple.

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio selezione “Vigna Lapillo” Bianco DOC made from 80% Coda di Volpe and 20% Falanghina. The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 500 meters. The harvest is at the end of September. Fermentation is in steel and the wine remains in the bottle for one month before release. The wine has hints of white perches, and pears with a hint of almonds and good minerality. Giuseppe said that this vineyard is one of the closest to the Vesuvius crater.

Piedrosso “Frupa” IGT made from 100% Piedirosso. The soil is volcanic and sandy, the training system is guyot and the vineyards are at 600 meters. Harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation is in steel and the wine ages for at least 12 months in French oak, then for 3 months in bottle before release. This is a fruity wine with hints of plum, cherry, and a touch of spice and pepper. We had this wine with pizza at Haccademia.

“Don Paolo” Organic Aglianico Pompeiano 100% Giuseppe said this was their finest cru dedicated to their father Paolo. The soil is volcanic and sandy. Training system is guyot and cordone speronato and the vines are at 600 meters. Harvest is at the end of October. The wine is aged in 25 to 50 HL French oak barrels for 16 to 18 months and in bottle for 5 to 6 months before release. This is a full bodied complex wine with hints of cherry, strawberry and notes of spice and coffee.

 

 

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Falanghina, Piedirosso, Sorrentino Winery

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