Category Archives: Aglianico

Aglianico a Roma

After spending a wonderful week in Naples visiting wine producers and eating at some of the most famous pizzerias in the city and Campania, Michele and I went to Rome. There I received an e-mail from Ilaria Petito, the owner of Donnachiara winery in Campania, inviting me to an event called Aglianico a Roma (Aglianico in Rome).

Unfortunately I arrived too late to attend a seminar on Aglianico conducted by wine blogger and journalist Luciano Pignataro. However, I was able to taste some of the wines. ilaria introduced me to some of the producers that I did not know.

The Wines

Aglianico Sannio Santa’Agata dei Goti “Cesco di Nece” 2015 Mustilli made from 100% Aglianico from the 3 hectare organically planted “Cesco di Nece,” vineyard planted in 1994. Harvest is at the end of October. Grapes are destemmed and crushed. Fermentation lasts for about 15 days in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Maturation is second passage French oak for 9 months. Lightly fined, unfiltered and a small SO2 is added before bottling. It is aged for 9 months in bottle before release. I have always liked the wines of Mustilli and visited the winery two years ago with Campania Stories.

Aglianico Sannio DOC  2016 Mustilli 100% Aglianico from vineyards at 800 feet with volcanic and clay soil and a southwest exposure. The vines are 30 years old. Fermented on indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in French second passage barriques for 9 months and in bottle for 3 months before release.

Taurasi “Opera Mia” 2012 Tenuta Cavalier Pepe made from 100% Aglianico. The grapes come from the Carazita vineyard. Harvest takes place the first week of November and a selection is made in the cellar. Parts of the grapes go through a cold pre–fermentation/maceration to extract color and aroma. The alcohol fermentation is followed by a long maceration on the skins. After the wine is racked it is put into French oak (Allier and Troncais barriques) for 12 months and another 12 months in bottle before release. The wine has ripe red fruit with hints of black cherry, prune and spice.

Taurasi Riserva 2012 “La Loggia del Cavaliere” Tenuta Cavalier Pepe. 100% Aglianco The vineyard is at 450/490 meters and the exposure is south/southeast. The soil is clay-like with calcareous and sandy layers. Harvest is by hand in mid-November. In the cellar, cold maceration is followed by alcoholic fermentation with prolonged maceration. The wine is aged in barrels for a minimum of 18 months with batonnage (stirring the lees). The wine has hints of blackberries, and black cherries with a touch of spice and vanilla.

Taurasi” Nero Né “il Cancelliere” 2012 100% Aglianico. The soil is clay and limestone. The vines are about 35 years old. The vineyard is at 550/600 meters and exposure is north and the formation is vertical trellised with spurred cordon pruning.

The grapes are destemmed and alcoholic fermentation and maceration take place for about 30 days at room temperature and a pneumatic press is used. Only wild yeast is used. Aging in steel for 6 months on the lees, depending on the vintage, then 24 months in Slavonian wood 35/50 hl and then 24 months in bottle. NO: filtration, clarification, stabilization or sulphites.

Gioviano-Irpinia Aglianico DOC “ il Cancelliere” 2015 100% Aglianico. The soil is limestone clay and the vineyard has a northern exposure and is at 450/550 meters. There is destemming of the grapes, alcoholic fermentation and maceration of about 20 days at room temperature. Aging is in steel for 6 months on the lees then aging in Slavonian wood of 35hl for 12 months and then in bottle for 10/12 months. This was the first time I tasted the wines from this producer and I was very impressed by them.

Vigna Cataratte Riserva “Aglianico Del Taburno” 2012 Fontanecchia made from 100% Aglianico. Selected grapes are harvested by hand. Vinification is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for about 20 days. The wine is aged for 2 years, of which 6/9 months are in French barriques.

Taurasi 2012 Cantine Macchie Santa Maria  100% Aglianico Macchie Santa Maria. This is a new winery with a production of only 3,000 bottles. It is located in the province of Avellino at Montemiletto. This is a wine with hints of sour cherry, plum and a touch of spice.

ilaria Petitto and her Taurasi 2012

Taurasi 2012 Donnachiara 100% Aglianico made from grapes from the 20-hectare Torre le Nocella vineyard. The soil is volcanic and clay, the vines are over 30 years old, the training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing and there is no filtration. The wine is aged for 12 months in used 225-liter French barriques, and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a big complex wine with berry aromas and flavors, hints of cherry and plum and a touch of cacao, coffee and vanilla. The wine will age. I know their wines very well and the 2012 Taurasi is one of my favorites.

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Visiting CasaSetaro Winery on Mt. Vesuvio

 

Two years ago when Michele and I were in Rome  I was contacted by Massimo Setaro owner/wine maker of the CasaSetaro winery in Campania. We made an appointment to meet at a restaurant in Rome for lunch to taste his wines. He invited us to visit him at the winery the next time we were in Naples.

This yeart Massimo came and drove us to the winery

Lower vineyard: Tufa and higher vegetation

As Michele and I  stood in the vineyard Massimo said the winery is located on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius in Trecase. All the vineyards are located inside the Vesuvius National Park.

He spoke about the terroir and said it is volcanic and sandy with a layer of lava on the surface and volcanic stone. There is a mineral character present in the wines. This composition of the soil makes the vines immune to phylloxera so the vines are not grafted on to American root stock. Pointing to a vine he said if phylloxera  attacked this plant it would destroy it but would die in the soil before it reached another plant.

The higher vineyard with the Lapilli

The exposure of the vineyards are south/southeast, at 200 to 450 meters. At the lower part of the vineyards the soil in black and packed very tightly and Massimo called it tufa. He grows tall vegetation between the rows  to help feed the vines. Higher up on the volcano the soil has very small pebbles called lapilli which were deposited when the volcano erupted and the vegetation in much shorter.

If you walk to the highest point, you would be surrounded by the forests of the Vesuvius National Park.

Green organic manure is used and the vines are treated only with copper and sulfur. Selected yeast is used in all the wines and the winery uses only their own grapes.

There are 4,500 plants per hectare.

Massimo Satero

Massimo said he had bought a number of oak barriques but does not use them for wine anymore. Now they are used for planters.

He said he learned a lot from his father growing up in the winery where they live. He said he takes care of all the production steps from vineyard management to the final bottling and his wife, Mariarosaria, works at his side.

I was very impressed with the passion in his voice when he spoke about growing up in the winery, the Vesuvius National Park, his wines and that he and his family live at the winery.

The Winesimg_1504

Caprettone Spumante Method Classico 2014 100% Caprettone Production zone Alto Tirone, Vesuvius National Park. The age of the vineyards is 18 to 25 years. They are at 350 meters and the training system is espalier, guyot trained with a few buds per plant. Vinification: maceration at 4 degrees C in steel tanks, fermentation for 18 to 24 days, the second fermentation takes place after about six months. The wine remains on the lees for 30 months and remains in bottle for about 12 months before release.

Last year when I was a judge at Radici del Sud in Puglia, this wine was picked as #1 in the spumante category by the journalist panel of which I was a member.

Massino said the Caprettone grape is excellent for making spumante method classico because it has very good body and produces a round and elegant wine. I have to agree.img_1503

Falanghina Campania IGT “Campanelle” 100% Falanghina del Vesuvio. Production Area: various micro zones within the Vesuvius National Park. The vineyards are at 250 meters and the vines are 18 years old. The training system is espalier with guyot pruning.  The wine has nice citrus aromas and flavors with a touch of minerality. He said the Falangina produced here is very different from the one produced further inland.

Massimo feels that Falanghina does not have the same rich character as the Caprettone. We both agreed however with spaghetti con vongole verace, spaghetti with clams, we would drink the Falanghina. 

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Bianco “Munazei” 100% Caprettone. Production zone Vesuvius National Park. The training system is Vesuvian pergola and guyot. Vinification: Maceration in steel tanks at a controlled temperature and fermentation lasts for about 20 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for about 6 months and then in bottle for two months before release. We tasted the 2016 and the 2007 which was not showing any sign of age.

In the last year the law has changed so Massimo can put the grape variety Caprettone on the label.

Michele and I first had wines made from the Caprettone grape a few years ago on the Amalfi Coast and have been drinking them ever since.

Munazei- this is what they called the cold storage rooms built into the mountain where food was kept to prevent spoilage.img_1502

 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio DOC Rosato “Munazei” 2016 100% Piedirosso. The vineyards are at 300 to 350 meters and the vines are 20 years old. Training system is espalier, guyot and Vesuvian pergola. There is a soft destemming and pressing followed by low temperature skin fermentation in stainless steel tanks at 4 degrees C for about 24 hours. The lees are removed and there is cleaning and controlled temperature fermentation at 10 to 12 degrees C for 18 to 24 days. The wine remains in steel tanks for 3 months and another 2 months in bottle before it is released. It has aromas and flavors of fresh red fruit with hints of cherry, strawberry and raspberry.img_1505

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Piedirosso DOC 2016 100% Piedirosso. Espalier, guyot training Vesuvian pergola. Vinification: Maturation in stainless steel tanks for 6 months and in bottle for 3 months before release. The wine has hints of dark fruit with touch of blackberries and violets. It is an easy drinking wine that goes very well with food.

Aglicano “Terramalta” IGT 100% Aglianico2016 from the comune di Trecase (NA), Bosco del Merlo and Tirone della Guardia. The vines are 15/25 years old and the training system is guyot and pergola vesuviana. Destemming and soft pressing of the grapes followed by temperature controlled fermentation at 15C and the lees are removed. The wine is aged in stainless steel for 3 months and in small oak barrels for 2 months and in bottle before release. This is a full bodied wine with flavors and aromas of red fruit, balsamic hints, a touch of  licorice and good minerality.

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Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso DOC Riserva “Don Vincenzo”  2013.  Made from 85% Piedirosso and 15% Aglianico. The production area is Tirone della Guardia. The vineyards are at 350 meters and are 30 years old. The training system is espalier, guyot trained. There is a natural selection of the hand picked grapes. Fermentation takes place with skin contact for 12 to 14 days. The wine is then aged for 24 months in French oak tonneau and in bottle for 6 months before release. This is a deeply rich wine with hints of cherries and raspberries with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. Massimo said this wine is named after his father.

We went with Massimo and his wife to La Notizia, one of the “classic” pizzerias on the Vomero. Massimo is a good friend of the owner Enzo Coccia who planned a menu foe us, but that is another blog.

 

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Filed under Aglianico, Caprettone, Casa Setaro, Lacyma Chrisiti di Vesuvio, Massimo Setaro, Piedirosso, Uncategorized

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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The Mustilli Winery: A Long Overdue Visit

When I was working as the wine director at a NYC Italian restaurant, Paola Mustilli from the Mustilli winery came in to have me sample their wines. We already carried some and I was more than willing to try the ones she brought.IMG_0810

After we tasted the Falanghina she handed me a book entitled “Falanghina” which included the work done by her father Leonardo Mustilli and her sister Anna Chiara Mustilli in saving the Falanghina grape. The authors are Antonella Monaco, Anna Chiara Mustilli and Luciano Pignataro.

She also invited me to the winery to taste older vintages of Falanghina. The winey is about 30 miles inland from Naples.

“Falanghina,” writes Luciano Pignataro in his opening line, “surely more than Aglianico, is the wine in which all Campania identifies, the wine that can best embody the local genius loci of the Neapolitan pleasure of the table.”

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Paola and Anna Chiara

When I was in Benevento as one of the journalists at the Campania Stories tasting, I was finally able to take Paola up on her offer and went to the winery, over 10 years since our meeting in NYC. Paola, who takes care of the commercial end of the business and Anna Chiara, her sister who manages the vineyards and winemaking, greeted me.IMG_0172

Anna Chiara said that in 1979 her father, Leonardo Mustilli bottled the first single-variety commercial Falanghina in Campania. Then there were only 75 acres; today there are over 7,000 with the majority in Sannio. Sant’Agata dei Goti is a sub-region of the DOC Sannio and they are the only winery in the area. She said they have over 20 hectares all planted with indigenous varieties.

The Mustilli Family came to Sant’Agata dei Goti in the 14th century. Anna Chiara gave us a tour of the old underground cellar that the family has owned since the 17 century. In 2002 they built a new structure right outside the town.

We then tasted the wines;IMG_0174

Falanghina Sannio DOC 100% Falanghina from estate vineyards, at 800 ft. located in Sant’Agata del Goti, with volcanic soil, facing southwest. The age of the vines is 10 to 30 years. Hand-harvest in mid-October. Fermented on indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in tanks for 12 months. This is a fresh wine with hints of lemon and apple with good acidity.IMG_0177

Falanghina Sannio 2002 DOC 100% Falanghina The wine was starting to show some signs of age but still was very pleasant with nice citrus fruit aromas and flavors.IMG_0185

Greco di Santacroce 1977  I was very impressed with this wine. It was not showing any signs of age. In fact I drank as much of the wine as I could!IMG_0178

Piedirosso Sannio DOC 100% Piedirosso from the Pozzillo vineyard, which is at 800 ft. The soil is volcanic and clay and the exposure is southwest. The wines are between 10 and 20 years old. The grapes are hand harvested in late October. Fermented on indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. The wine has very nice fruit with hints of plums, violets and a hint of bell peppers.IMG_0175

Greco Sannio Sant’ Agata De’ Goti DOC 100% Greco. The grapes are cultivated in the vineyards of Presta and Pozzillo in the commune of S. Agata dei Goti. The vineyard has a southwest exposure at 250 meters. Training system is guyot and there are 3,300 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in the middle of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel at a controlled temperature at 15C for about two weeks. Aging is in steel with periodic batonnage. The wine has hints of white peach, apricot and anise with good acidity and a touch of almonds in the finish and aftertaste.IMG_0187

Aglianico Sannio DOC 100% Aglianico from vineyards at 800ft. with volcanic and clay soil and a southwest   exposure. The vines are 30 years old. Fermented on indigenous yeast in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. The wine is aged in French second passage barriques for 9 months and in bottle for 3 months before release.IMG_0182

Aglianico Sanno DOC ‘Cesco di Nece’ 100% Aliganico from the “Cesco di Nece,”  vineyard organically planted vineyard in 1994 and is 3 hectares. Harvest is at the end of October. Grapes are destemmed and crushed. Fermentation lasts for about 15 days in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Maturation is second passage French oak for 9 months. Lightly fined, unfiltered and a small SO2 addition before bottling. It is aged for 9 months in bottle before release.

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A Visit to Sertura Vini d’Irpinia Thanks to a FB Friend and a Landslide

 

Federico Starnone, (aka Fred Starring on FB) saw an article I did on Southern Italian wine for i-Italy.org and posted it on FB. I thanked him and wrote that Campania Stories had invited me on a press trip to taste Campania wines and to visit the wineries. Fred suggested that I visit the Sertura Vini d’Irpinia winery because they make excellent wine.

I didn’t think I could squeeze it in, but a landslide on the Amalfi Coast forced the cancellation of one of my scheduled visits, and so I was delighted to visit Sertura.

Fred

Fred

Fred is the commercial representative for the winery and hopes soon to become a business partner. The owner/ enologist is Giancarlo Barbieri. Fred and Giancarlo picked me up and drove me to the winery. As always in Italy there is never enough time. So when we finally arrived at the winery there was no time to visit the vineyards, just enough time to taste the wine.

Giancarlo said that in the vineyard man must follow nature with care and respect. Their new logo portrays the Clock Tower, the main symbol of Avellino, a city of which they are very proud. sAt the winery I met Giancarlo’s wife, Annalisa and his son, Alessio and we tasted the wines.

Giancarlo and Annalisa

Giancarlo and Annalisa

We tasted five wines: Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Aglianico and Taurasi, all 100% varietals. They do not blend or use international grapes. Giancarlo spoke very passionately about his vineyards and wines. IMG_0097

Falanghina 2015 IGT 100% Falanghina, the Monte Miletto vineyard is at 500 meters and has a southeast exposure. The harvest is by hans the last week of September. .Fermentation takes in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature.The wine has hints of yellow fruit, apple and pineapple and good acidity

 

 

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Fiano di Avellino 2015 DOCG 100% Fiano di Avellino. The vineyards are in Montefalcione, a tiny village perched on a hill a short distance from Avellino. The vineyards are at 380 meters and the soil is clay. The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is by hand in early October. The grapes are soft pressed and fermented for 21 to 25 days at a controlled temperature. This is a complex full bodied wine with aromas and flavors of citrus fruit and hints of pear and green apple.IMG_0101

Greco di Tufo 2015 DOCG 100% Greco from vineyards in Santa Paolina north of Avellino on the slopes of a hill at 400 meters. The soil is clay rich in minerals, the training system is guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. Harvest is usually the first week of October. The wine is balanced with nice fruit flavors with hints of yellow fruit, pear flowers, nice minerality and a delicate almond finish.IMG_0102

Aglianico 2013 IGT 100% Aglianico from vineyards of the small town of Torre Le Nocelle in Irpinia east of Avellino. The vineyards are at 500 meters, there is a range of temperature between night and day and this, along with the clay soil make it perfect for growing Aglianico. The training system is guyot and there are 4,00 plants per hectare. Giancarlo said Aglianico ripens late and the harvest takes place the first ten days of November. Maceration and fermentation is at a controlled temperature for 21 to 25 days. It has hints of red fruit with notes of spice. It is a big wine for an Aglianico.IMG_0103

Taurasi 2009 DOCG The same as above only there is a selection of the grapes. The wine is aged for 18 months in various size oak barrels. This is a robust wine that will age for a long time. It has hints red and black berries, with notes of leather and spice. I was very impressed with the wine.

The Sertura wines are not imported into the U.S at this time but they should be as they are excellent wines, Fred was right! They are available in Italy and a number of other foreign countries.

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Filed under Aglianico, Avellino, campania, Campania Stories 2016, Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Sertura Vini d'Irpinia, Taurasi

Campania Wine Tasting at Restaurant Gattopardo

Nine producers from Campania came to Il Gattopardo Restaurant in NYC to present their wines at a luncheon and seminar. Each producer brought one special wine, which was matched with a seasonal Neapolitan dish.

Fred Dexheimer

Fred Dexheimer

Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, who delivered an excellent presentation, presented the tasting. I wrote about the 5 white wines in a previous blog.IMG_8200

Il Gattopardo, one of my favorite restaurants in New York, is owned by Gianfranco Sorrentino. They specialize in Neapolitan cooking. It was the ideal place to enjoy a Campania Wine Tasting.

Here are the four red wine and the dishes they were matched with. All the wines are made from the Aglianico grape.IMG_8184

Taurasi Riserva 2008 “La Loggia del Cavaliere” Tenuta Cavalier Pepe. 100% Aglianco The vineyard is at 450/490 meters and the exposure is south/southeast. The soil is clay-like with calcareous and sandy layers. Harvest is by hand in mid-November. In the cellar, cold maceration is followed by alcoholic fermentation with prolonged maceration. The wine is aged in barrels for a minimum of 18 months with batonnage (stirring the lees). The wine has hints of blackberries, black cherries with a touch of spice and vanilla.IMG_8185

Aglianico Irpinia DOC 2013 “Ventidue Marzo” Terre di Valter. 100% Aglianico from the Torre le Nocelle vineyard.  Grown mostly in hillside soils of volcanic origin and clay. Exposure is southeast, the vineyard is at 400 meters, and the age of the vines is 20 years. There are 4,000 vines per hectare and the training system is espalier culture with a spurred cord pruning. Harvesting is by hand, at the end of October, first days of November.
Soaking takes place for 15 days and fermentation partially carried out with autochthonous yeast. The wine is aged in French durmast oak barrels for 6 months. It has hints of violets and red and black berries.
This is a family run winery named in honor of Valter Landi  His children, Emanuela and Roberto, an agronomist, carry on his work.
These two wines were served with Paccheri alla Genovese, large pasta tubes with a meaty onion sauce. It is a classic Neapolitan dish and I almost always order it when I go to Il Gattopardo.IMG_8186

Taurasi DOCG 2010 100% Aglianico Macchie Santa Maria. This is a new winery with a production of only 3,000 bottles. It is located in the province of Avellino at Montemiletto. This is a wine with hints of sour cherry, plum and a touch of spice.IMG_8187

Taurasi DOCG 2011 100% Aglianico. DonnaChiara.  Ilaria Petitto, owner of the winery, was in attendance. She said that all of Donnachiara’s red wines are made from grapes from the 20-hectare Torre le Nocella vineyard. The soil is volcanic and clay, the vines are over 30 years old, the training system is Guyot and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing and there is no filtration. The wine is aged for 12 months in 225-liter French barriques, and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a big complex wine with berry aromas and flavors, hints of cherry and plum and a touch of cacao, coffee and vanilla. The wine will age.

Ilaria Petitto

Ilaria Petitto

Ilaria said that the winery philosophy includes taking care of the environment and they now use solar panels and recycled rainwater. The wines will soon carry the “sustainable wine” certification label, by which consumers will be able to obtain all the information about DonnaChiara’s production.
These two wines were served with Capretto al Forno con Padellata di Friarielli e Patate, roasted goat with sautéed broccoli rabe and potatoes.

For dessert there was a classic Pastiera Napoletana, a tender cheesecake with wheat berries and orange flower water.

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Filed under Aglianiaco"Ventidue Marzo Terre di Valter, Aglianico, campania, Donna Chiara Winery, Italian Red Wine, La Loggia del Cavalire, Tenuta Pepe

The Aglianico Grape in Campania

Aglianico is an ancient grape variety. It was first cultivated by the Phoenicians and later brought to Southern Italy by the Greeks 3,000 years ago when they colonized the area.  In Italy, Aglianico was first planted near modern day Pozzuoli and from there it spread to other parts of Campania. Pliny the Elder (d.79AD) wrote about it in his Natural History. Wine made from Aglianico was called Falernian and was highly regarded by the Romans    The Aglianico grape was known as Elenico (Italian for Greek) until the 15 Century when it began to be called Aglianico. The name might also come from vita hellenica, Latin for Greek wine. The debate still goes on.

The Aglianico grape prefers volcanic soil and grows at altitudes of 300 to 500 meters. Aglianico is also used as a blending grape in Campania. It does very well in Irpinia, in the provinces of Avelliino, Bevevento and Taburno.

Aglianico reaches its highest expression in the form of Taurasi, one of Italy’s great red wines, which can age for many years. In fact there are many who believe that the three great grape varieties in Italy are Nebbiolo, Sangiovese and Aglianico. Wines made from the Aglianico grape are full-bodied with good fruit, tannins, and hints of blackberries, leather and smoke.

Wines tasted at the Wine Media Guild tasting and lunch on October 1, 2014IMG_6188

Aglianico Sannio Benvenuto “Janare 2012 I00% Aglianico La Guardiense. This is one of the largest agricultural cooperatives in Italy. The farmers that grow the grapes directly manage more then 1,500 hectares of vineyards that are at 350 meters. This wine is part of the Janare project for the perseveration of indigenous grape varieties in Campania. It is intended primarily to safeguard and improve local grape varieties especially Aglianico and Falanghina. The wine has hints of violets, cherry and a slight hint of vanilla, which comes from the barriques. IMG_6189

Irpinia Aglianico Redimore 2012 DOC 100% Aglianico from the Mirabella Eclano vineyards Mastoberardino. The soil is sandy clay with a deep presence of traces of limestone in the entire area. The vines are nine years old and the vineyard is at 400 meters. Harvest takes place at the end of October. Classic red wine vinification, long maceration on the skins at controlled temperatures. The wine is aged for 12 months in French barriques and for six months in bottle before release. There are aromas and flavors of red fruit, hints of strawberries, spice and a touch of tobacco. $25IMG_6190

Taurasi 2010 Antico Castello 100% Aglianico from artisanal vineyards, selected from the Sant’Agata locality, the soil is mostly clay and limestone, the vineyard is at 450 meters and the exposure is southeast. They only grow native grape varieties. The grapes are picked by hand in the beginning of November. Fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and lasts for   three months. The wine is aged in large French oak casks for 18 months and then in bottle before release. IMG_6191

Taurasi 2009 “Contrade di Taurasi” 100% Aglianico Azienda Agricola Cantine Lonardo. The soil is of medium mixture with a strong presence of sedimentary rock composed mostly of volcanic ash, dry and rich in organic matter, formed by the disintegration of the rocks. The rootstock is Virginia creeper. (This is American rootstock and a very unusual choice) The exposure is southwest, elevation is 300/400 meters, training system is guyot and there are 3,000 vines/ha. The vineyards are10/30 years old. Harvest takes place in early November by hand and the grapes are transported immediately to the winery in 18 kg boxes and crushed and destemmed. Fermentation is with indigenous yeasts selected in the vineyard. Maceration lasts for 15 days. After racking 30% of the wine was stored in oak barrels of 5HL, the rest remained in steel. Malolactic fermentation started spontaneously and lasted for 13 days. All the wine was assembled in steel and was bottled without filtration. This is a wine with ripe fruit aromas and flavor with hints of balsamic, spice and licorice.  $35IMG_6192

Taurasi Opera Mia 2008 Tenuta Cavalier Pepe 100% Aglianico. The grapes come from the Carazita vineyard. Harvest takes place the first week of November and a selection is made in the cellar. Parts of the grapes go through a cold pre –fermentation/maceration to extract color and aroma. The alcohol fermentation is followed by a long maceration on the skins. After the wine is racked it is put into French oak (Allier and Troncais barriques) for 12 months and another 12 months in bottle before release. The wine has ripe red fruit with hints of black cherry, prune, spice and is full bodied. $50IMG_6193

Taurasi “Poliphemo” 2008 Tecce Luigi 100% Aglianico. The Cantina is in Paternopli and the vines were first planted in 1935. There are 5 hectares of vines at 550 meters the highest in the Taurasi zone. The soil is limestone sediment, material from various Vesuvius eruptions, sand and clay. The wine is fermented in large chestnut casks where maceration lasts for 40 days and then it is aged in tonneaux for 12 months.

Written on the back of the bottle is what Mr. Tecce states is NOT IN his wine: No enzymes, No malolactic bacteria, No added tannin, No de-acidification. No clarification and No Arabic gum. This is very tradition Taurasi.  $?IMG_6187

 Falerno Del Massico Rosso “Vigna Camarato” Villa Matilde made from 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso from a single vineyard. The soil is volcanic with high levels of phosphorous and potassium. The vineyard was planted in 1970, there are 4,500 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. Fermentation is on the skins for 20 to 25 days. The wine is aged in Aiiier oak barriers for 12 months, 1/3 new, 1/3 second passage and 1/3 third passage. Then 12 to 18 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of black and red berries with notes of spice and vanilla. $55

 

 

 

 

 

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