After enjoying some of the wines of Villa Raiano at dinner in their restaurant I was looking forward to tasting more of them the next morning at the winery.
Once again Federico Basso and his cousin Brunella Basso were there to welcome us. Federico showed us around the winery and then he conducted a very interesting and informative tasting of the wines.
There was one white from the 2018 vintage, 4 whites from the 2017 vintage, and a red aged in concrete and amphora.
Fiano di Avellino 2018 made from 100% Fiano DOCG-DOP from vineyards located at I Candida (450 meters), Lapio (500 meters), San Michele di Serino (500 meters) and Montefredane (450 meters). The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. The soil is calcareous- clay, marly clay and sandy silty. Harvest is by hand the first week of October. After a gentle crushing of whole bunches to get free run juice, fermentation takes place with inoculated selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks and aging is in stainless steel tanks. The wine is bottled the second week of February following the harvest.
Federico explained that this was one of the wines in the Classics Line. They are a tribute to the land and the term “Classic” is used because according to the production tradition here in Irpinia, it was common to produce wines with grapes coming from vines located in different municipalities of the different production areas. They look for the most suitable balance, combining grapes from vineyard positions in different areas. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, apple, white flowers and a nice finish and long aftertaste.
Michele Kwan, a member of the Wine Media was on the trip with me and asked if the Classsic line was their “entry level wines”. While Federico was thinking I said these wines were too good to be called “entry level wines” and Federico agreed.
The following white wines Federico called “the vines” made from single vineyards or plots.
Federico showed us the different soils that the white wines come from and spoke about the importance of terroir.
Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Alimata” made from 100% Fiano–the night before with dinner we tasted the 2013 and it was excellent.
Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Ventidue” made from 100% Fiano. Federico said this wine is called Ventidue because 22 Km is the distance between the vineyard in Lapio and the winery. The vineyard is at 540 meters, the soil is calcareous-clay, rich in tallow sandstone. The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. There is a gentle crushing of whole bunches and fermentation with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine remains on the lees for 12 months in stainless steel and in bottle for 12 months before release in October of the year following the harvest.
Federico said in 2017 the weather was very hot though not as hot as 2003 but drier, and there was very little rain. Production was down 38%.
Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Bosco Satrano” made from 100% Fiano from vineyards that over look the winery in the municipality of San Michele di Serino in the province of Avellino in Contrada Bosco Satrano. The 4,400 vines were planted in 2009 and cultivated with the principles of organic farming, guyot trained, with calcareous soils at 510 meters. The vineyard faces northwest, facing Monte Partenio. Fermentation and aging same as above.
When we had the Fiano with dinner the night before, Federico said his Fiano has the aroma of an apple the grows on Mount Tubenna. I was able to smell the apple in a restaurant and all of the Fiano I tasted here really does have that aroma.
Greco di Tufo 2017 “Ponte Dei Santi” 100% Greco. Federico said Greco di Tufo is a small appellation but has numerous shades in terms of terroir. In the upper section of the district of Ponte dei Santi of Altavilla Irpina (Avellino) is their small 1.3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is at 550 meters. There are 4,500 vines per hectare, the soil is sandy-silty with dark clay incursions. Harvest is the first week of October. Fermentation and aging same as above.
Both Fiano and Greco can age for 15 years or more. I gave the slight edge to Greco but Federico said it was Fiano that he believed could age longer.
The main difference between Fiano and Greco is the Fiano has an apple aroma and hints of hazelnuts. Greco has more body, takes on a slightly honey quality with age and has hints of hazelnuts.
Costa Biano Irpinia Campi Taurasi DOC 2016 100% Taurasi from a single plot shaped like an amphitheater in the central part of a 9 hectare vineyard located in the municipality of Castelfranci (Avellino) at 500 meters. There are 4,500 plants per hectare, the soil is calcareous clay on yellow sandstone with organic elements and the training system is guyot. Harvest is the first 10 days of November. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with daily punching down and pumping over. Maceration on the skins is for 10 days.
The wine matures 50% in cement tanks and 50% in terracotta amphorae. The wine is bottled in October following the harvest. This was the first time I have tasted Taurasi aged in cement and amphorae. It has all the characteristics of Taurasi but seemed to be a much lighter style and more approachable. I liked it.
Olive Oil Tasting tasting with Federico.
Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva “Sabino Basso” Monocultivar Ravece made mostly from Ravece olives grown almost exclusively in the province of Avellino. It has a green color and a more or less intense olive aroma with hints of herbs, bitter spice, green tomato leaves and artichokes.
Olio Extra Vergine Di Oliva “Sabino Basso” DOP Penisola Sorrentino” mostly made from Minucciola olives. The oil is a straw yellow color with a delicate fruit flavor, hints of rosemary, mint, and aromatic herbs, with a touch of bitter spice, and a note of lemons typical of the Sorrentino Peninsula.
Federico at the Temple of Neptune
On the last day we went to the ancient Greek Temples at Paestum.
There are three temples on the site: Temple of Hera, Temple of Neptune and the Temple of Athena. The guide at the site said that the temples are also known by different names. We also visited the National Museum at the site. I really enjoyed the visit to the site and to the museum as it helps you the understand the culture and history of the region.
After visiting the temples we went to Caseificio Vannulo, a farm that has 600 water buffaloes that produce milk for mozzarella, yogurt, ice cream ricotta, etc., which are all for sale. There is a restaurant, museum and leather shop. I first visited Vannulo 12 years ago and it was not so “modern.” Even through it was only a two and a half day trip I had a wonderful time thanks to the people at Villa Raiano