Category Archives: Fiano di Avellino

Dining in Rome with Daniele Cernilli- Doctor Wine

Daniele Cernilli, aka Doctor Wine, and his wife, Marina Thompson, have been friends for many years. We have tasted a lot of wine together both here and in Rome. Daniele is a true Roman, a Romano de Roma as the expression goes. He is one of the most important men in Italian wine and has been a wine critic for many years. He was one of the founders of Gambero Rosso and for 24 years was the editor of Gambero Rosso-Slow Food Wine Guide. Daniele was the inventor of the now famous “Three Glasses” classification. Currently, he has is own web-magazine called “Doctor Wine” www.doctorwine.it. There are two versions, one English and the other Italian, and it covers both Italian and European wines. I read it regularly.

Daniele Cernilli(Doctor Wine

Daniele Cernilli(Doctor Wine)

When we were in Rome recently, Daniele suggested that Michele and I meet him and Marina for lunch at the restaurant Baccano. He said it was a true copy of Balthazar in NYC. Copies of Daniele’s book The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017 were displayed on a table near the entrance so that customers waiting for a table could look at the Guide before they chose a wine to drink.img_1561

They were right. The place looked just like Balthazar.

I am always impressed with Daniele’s knowledge and enthusiasm. I was happy to let him pick the 3 wines to go with lunch. img_1569

Castelli di Jesi Verdicchio Classico Villa Bucci Riserva 2013. Made from 100% Verdicchio. The wine is aged for 2 years in large casks. It is the white wine of the year in Daniele’s guide. He also gives the winery 3 stars, the highest rating. This is one of my favorite white wines and I order it every time I see it on a wine list in Italy. Ampellio Bucci has been producing wine with the assistance of the legendary enologist Giorgio Grai for over 30 years. It has been my honor to meet both of them on more then one occasion. Daniele described the wine as very complex, mouth filling, well balanced with hints of flint, anise, fine herbs and a very long finish.img_1562

With it, we had smoked salmon.img_1565

Fiano di Avellino 2013 “Cupa” 100% Fiano di Avellino Pietracupa of Sabino Loffredo. Daniele said that Sabino does all the work himself, cultivates his vineyards which are at 350 and 550 meters and makes and ages his wines with the skill of a craftsman. He called his wines “exceptional,” gave the winery 3 stars and the wine 97/100 points. The Cupa is outside the DOCG and great in the 2013 vintage. The wine matures on the lees in stainless steel tanks. Daniele described the wine as elegant and intense, with notes of oregano, sage, cedar and lemongrass, great acidity and a slightly smoky finish. This wine will age for many years.img_1564

With the Fiano, we had a personal favorite, fried fresh anchovies.img_1566

After that we took Daniele’s advice and had Spaghetti “Mancini” with a sauce made from tomatoes from Mount Vesuvius, basil, extra virgin olive oil and garlic.img_1570

CA’ D’GalLumine” Moscato D’Asti 2015 100% Moscato Bianco di Canelli. Daniele said this might be one of the best Moscato d’Asti I ever tasted. He gave it an 88/100 rating. Alessandro Boido makes the wine and in his hands Moscato d’Asti becomes a great wine, Italian to the bone.

Daniel described the wine as having fragrant aromas of sage, exotic fruit and cedar with refreshing acidity.

Daniele said they also make a Moscato d’Asti Vigna Vecchia which can age like a great red. That one gets a 93/100.img_1571

We shared a portion of tiramisu with the wine.

Looking at The ULTIMATE GUIDE to ITLALIAN WINE 2017(third addition) I believe the title says it all. It is the Ultimate Guide to Italian Wines.

 

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Filed under Ca' D' Gal Lumine, Daniele Cernilli Doctor Wine, Fiano di Avellino, Moscato d'Asti, Pietracupa, Rome, The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017, Uncategorized, Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Villa Bucci

The Fiano di Avellino of Donnachiara at IL Gattopardo Restaurant

 

I have met Illaria Petitto, managing director, Donnachiara winery a number of times in NYC and have visited the winery in Campania a number of times. I really like their white wines and paired with Neapolitan food at a luncheon at Il Gattopardo in Midtown Manhattan, it is a match made in heaven.img_1147

At the luncheon, Illaria offered a vertical tasting of her Fiano di Avellino going back to 2007. John Gilman who publishes “View from the Cellar” also spoke. I met John last March in Benevento at the Campania Stories tasting and together we visited the Donnachiara winery.

ILaria Petitto

ILaria Petitto

Ilania began by speaking about the Fiano di Avellino grape in general, her Fiano, and the winery. She said the winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino.  The modern building is set on a hilltop in an area of rolling hills.

Ilaria said she parted ways with her winemaker, Angelo Valentino because she wants to have more input into her wines. She hired the well-respected Riccardo Cotarella as the consulting enologist for the winery. She felt that he could help with the Fiano as far as enhancing the bouquet and aromas. I told her I liked the wines just as they are now!img_1153

We tasted the 2015, 2013, 2011, 2009 and 2007 paired with a menu prepared by Il Gattopardo. All the wines are 100% Fiano di Avellino

  2015 -When I was in Benevento in March for the Campania Stories blind tasting of Fiano, I picked this vintage of Donnachiara as #1.

The soil is chalky clay; there are 4,400 plants per hectare, the training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place the second week of October. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for 90 days. The wine does not undergo malolatcic fermentation and does not see any wood. This is an elegant wine with good body, dried fruit aromas and flavors and a hint of tropical fruit. This is a wine with good structure and body. Illaria said 2015 was a very good vintage.img_1148

With the wine we had Stuzzichini: Scagliozzi Di Polenta and Mini Mozzarelle in Carrozza con Salsetta D’Acciughe with the 2015 and 2013

I asked Illaria if the 2007 was vinified the same way as the 2015 and she said nothing has changed.

Cotarella will start with the 2016 vintage.

When I visited the winery in March I tasted 2011, 2009 and 2007 vintages of the Fiano di Avellino. There were floral notes, aromas and flavors of citrus fruits and good acidity in the wines. There was a hint of smoke and it really become noticeable in the 2009. Illaria said Fiano grows best in clay soil. These wines are very full-bodied showing no signs of age. You could see the development of the wine from the different vintages.

In the white wines the juice is free run and fermented and aged in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation does not take place.

2013 — This was the first I had tasted this vintage. Illaria said that 2013 was a warm and dry vintage. The grapes were very concentrated, rich in pulp and very structured. The wine is very soft and fat with nice ripe citrus fruit aromas and flavors and good acidity. I would not drink a Fiano unless it was at least 3 years old and that is still too young.

2011 — Illaria said this was a balanced vintage. The wine had developed since the last time I had tasted it and was showing very well. If you can find this wine buy it!

We had this wine with Scialatielli ai Frutta di Mare img_1159

2009 — Illaria said this was a difficult vintage but to me it was drinking much better than when I first tasted it. This is a well-balanced complex wine that will age for a very long time.

2007 — Illaria said that 2007 was a very hot and dry vintage that produced a very concentrated wine. This is big wine with great structure and aromas ranging from candied fruit to flowers with good acidity. Both Illaria and John believe that this wine has great aging potential, from 15 to 20 years. It was showing a little more age than when I first tasted it but this was just the natural development.img_1160

We had both of these vintages with the Dentice in Brodetto con Cozze e Vongole.img_1166

2011 — Esoterico This is one of two wines that are in barriques, 20% is fermented in new French barriques for a period of 12 months. There is no fining, filtration or refrigeration, and there is natural clarification. This is the only vintage of the wine that they made. Illaria said because the wine is in a 375-ml size bottle, every one thinks it is a dessert wine. She said she is not sure if she would produce the wine again.img_1165

For dessert we had the Baba- it was one of the best I have ever eaten!

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Filed under Donna Chiara Winery, Fiano di Avellino, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Uncategorized

Campania Stories: Tasting Wine with Roberto Di Meo

As I have mentioned before for me the best part of the trip to Campania organized by Campania Stories is the visit to the wineries. It was late afternoon when I arrived at the Di Meo Winery for my visit.

Roberto Di Meo

Roberto Di Meo

Walking into the Di Meo winery was like entering an elegant home. I waited the arrival of Roberto Di Meo, co-owner of the winery with his brother Generoso, in a lovely living room with a fireplace.

Azienda Agricola DI Meo is located near the village of Salza Irpina, in the province of Avellino In Campania. The grapes are hand harvested from their own 30 hectares of vineyards and the winery is certified organic. Roberto is the enologist and Generoso runs the commercial and PR side

Roberto showed me around the winery and took me through a tasting of his wines. At one point when I asked about how he use wood for aging he answered, “The wood is on the wine, not the wine on the wood”

These are some of the wines I tastedIMG_0022

Fiano di Avellino 2015 DOCG 100% Fiano Vineyard is at 500 meters. Traditional wine making with controlled temperature. The wine is aged in bottle for 3 to 6 months before release. It has nice citrus fruit with hints a honey and smoke.IMG_0024

Greco di Tufo 2015 100% Greco. Vineyards are between 400 and 600 meters. This is an ample and flavorful wine with hints of peach and almond. IMG_0023

 

 I was in Puglia last week with Radici del Sud  2016 for a blind wine tasting competition of Southern Italian Wine. Both the Di Meo Fiano and Greco placed  number one in their categories. 

Falanghina Campania IGT 2015 100% Falanghina. Vineyards are at 350 to 400 meters. This is a wine with flavore and aromas of citrus fruit and good acidity. It would be great with spaghetti con vongoleIMG_0013

Fiano di Avellino 2003 “ Erminia Di Meo Selection” 100% Fiano. Roberto said that the late harvest grapes were selected from a particular family parcel. There is a prolonged maceration with the skins at a low temperature followed by soft pressing and controlled temperature fermentation. A year after the harvest the wine remains in stainless steel with the “fecce fin” for 13 more years. The next release is the 2003. This is an exceptional Fiano worth the long wait and I complement Roberto for holding it back until it is almost ready to drink.IMG_0021

Taurasi Riserva DOCG 2007 “Selection Hamilton” 100% A Traditional red wine making. The wine spends 18 months in French barriques and Tonneau and 24 months in bottle before release. This is a well-balanced elegant wine with hints of berries, black pepper, tobacco and spice.IMG_0020

 Don Generoso Irpinia IGT 2010 made from 75% Aglianico and 25% Piedirosso and other red grapes. This is a wine with a complex bouquet with hints of red and black berries and a touch of spice.

 Roberto also make brandy

Brandy Don Vittorio aged for 25 years. I believe it is made from Fiano. Tom Maresca when he visited Roberto was luck enough to take home a bottle of this brandy and I had it with Tom after dinner on more than one occasion. Robert was surprised when I said I tasted it before. It is not imported into the US unfortunately. This is a very intense and refined brandy with hints of liquorices, honey and tobacco.

There are not many winemakers that make such excellent wines that can age and also produce brandy.

 

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Filed under campania, Campania Stories 2016, Di Meo winery, Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi, Uncategorized

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

 

 

IMG_0098

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

Tasting Wine with Lunch at Donnachiara

Campania Stories is the name of an organized event to introduce and educate about the wines of Campania. Before the trip, they sent me a list of wines that I could visit when I attended their wine event in Benevento.IMG_9985

The first winery I chose was Donnachiara. I had been to the winery before and had tasted the wines with Ilaria Petitto a number of times in NYC. I wanted to visit again to see what was new and how the wines had developed.

The winery is located in Montefalcione in the province of Avellino. The modern winery was completed in 2005 but the vineyards have been in the family for 150 years.

Ilaria and her mother Chiara greeted me. Chiara said that the winery is named after her grandmother Donnachiara.

Umberto

Umberto, Ilaria, Chiara, Francesco de Rienzo

Winemaker Angelo Valentino led us through a tasting of the wines. I told him that the Donnachiara whites were some of the best I have tasted from this area. He said that all of them are made in the same way. The juice was free run and fermented and aged in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. Angelo believes that most white wines are consumed too young. He feels that they should be at least 3 years old because in the first year or so all you get are the aromas and taste of the fermentation process. In answer to a question, Angelo said it was his love for Fiano and Taurasi that made him become an enologist.

So I was looking forward to see how the wines have developed. He said 2015 was an excellent vintage. It was warm year, but rain came at the right time.

The winesIMG_9987

Falanghina 2015 IGT made from 100% Falanghina The grapes come from vineyards that they rent in Benevento. The soil is chalky clay, there are 2,500 vines per hectare and the training system is Guyot. The grapes were picked at the height of maturity. This is the perfect wine with spaghetti alle vongole.IMG_9989

Coda di Volpe  DOC 2015 made from 100% Coda di Volpe. The wine had been bottled just 8 days before. Angelo said that this is a different variety of Coda di Volpe than is used in other areas and has more body. The soil is mostly clay and the training system is Guyot. There are 2,500 plants per hectare. This is a wine with good structure, hints of citrus and herbs. There is good acidity, nice minerality, long finish and pleasing aftertaste.IMG_9994

We tasted the Fiano di Avelliano DOCG 2015 100% Fiano (Two days later at the blind tasting held at our hotel in Benevento. I picked this wine as one of the top Fiano’s) The soil is chalky clay and the training system is Guyot. There are 4.400 vines per hectare and the harvest takes place during the second week of October. One could see the development of the wines from the different vintages. This is a wine with good structure and body.

Last time I was there I tasted the 2011, 2010 and 2009 vintages of the Fiano di Avellino. There were floral notes, aromas and flavors of citrus fruits and good acidity in the wines. There was a hint of smoke and it really become noticeable in the 2009. Angelo said Fiano grows best in clay soil. These wines are very full-bodied showing no signs of age.

On this my latest visit, I tasted the 2009 and the 2007. Both were showing very well and still showing no signs of age. The 2009 still had that hint of smoke. Angelo said that it was colder in 2009 than in 2007 so the wines did taste slightly different.IMG_0006

I drank both of them with a traditional lunch of Ravioli, Meatballs, and la Pastiera, the traditional Easter cake prepared by Chiara.IMG_0008

Umberto Petitto, Chiara’s husband, joined us for lunch.IMG_9992

Greco di Tufo 2015 DOCG 100% Greco di Tufo The soil is tuffaceious and the training system is espallier. There are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place during the second week of October. Illaria said that the grapes come from highly rated vineyards. The grapes are not destemmed or crushed prior to pressing. Cold fermentation with extended maceration. No oak is used. This is a wine that needs at least 5 or 6 years of bottle age before it is ready to drink. One of my top picks at the blind tasting.

When I visited the winery 3 years ago, I tasted barrel samples of two wines, Greco 2011 and Fiano 2011 both of which they made for the first time.IMG_9997

Fiano 2011 IGT only made in the best vintages with no battonage, like in Alsace with 20% new oak and late harvest grapes picked when there was sleet in November. It is a dry wine.

Ilaria said that her father Umberto had planted the Greco di Tufo grape in Torre le Nocella, which is not in the DOCG zone. He felt that this area would produce a Greco of great quality. It is a single vineyard (cru) Vigna Nascosta, which means hidden vineyard.IMG_9995

The Fiano is a cru from a single vineyard in Montefalcione and will be called Esoterico.

Angelo explained that both these wines would be different from their other white wines. Both will be fermented and aged in new barriques.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well both these wines had developed. The Fiano was elegant and complex with hints of citrus fruits, especially lemon, with a touch of smoke.

The Greco was complex and rich with hints of apricot, mango, candied citrus fruits and good minerality.

I then had a discussion with Angelo about which wine ages better, Fiano or Greco. We disagreed. He stated the case for Fiano and I for Greco.IMG_0001

Taurasi di Umberto 2012 named after Umberto Petitto. 100% Agalianco, The soil is clay and the training system is Guyot, there are 4,000 plants per hectare and the harvest is the first week of November. The wine spends 18 months in French barriques.

Taurasi Riserva 2012 DOCG The wine is like the one above but is aged in very old barriques. It is a big tannic. intense wine with good structure and body and hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and a touch of coffee. It will only get better with time.

We also tasted the 2009 and 2011 Taurasi which were developing very nicely.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under campania, Campania Stories 2016, Coda di Volpe, Donna Chiara Winery, Falanghina, Fiano, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Italian Red Wine, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Taurasi, Uncategorized

Campania Wine Tasting at Gattopardpo, NYC

As I have often stated, some of the best white wines in Southern Italy as from the region of Campania. There are many styles of white wine made from a number of grape varieties, Which were Introduced by the ancient Greeks who settled there. Some of These wines can be drunk young and others can age for many years.IMG_8200

One of my favorite restaurants in NYC is Il Gattopardo, owned by Gianfranco Sorrentino. The restaurant specializes in Neapolitan cooking. I can not think of a better place to enjoy a Campania Wine Tasting than there.

Fred Dexheimer

Fred Dexheimer

The tasting was presented by Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer, who delivered an excellent presentation. There were nine wines – five whites and four reds. Here are the 5 white wines and the foods they were paired with. I will write about the red wines and the foods paired with them another time.

The WinesIMG_8180

Anni Vent di Tufo DOCG Spumante NV Cantina Di Marzo 100% Greek di Tufo Brut Methode Classic. The vineyards are at 350 and 500 meters and the exposure is south. The soil is clay and limestone and the training method is Guyot. There are 3,000 plants per hectare and the average age of the vines is 5 to 20 years. Harvest is by hand in October. Both alcohol and Malolactic fermentation is in stainless steel. The wine remains on the lees in the bottle for 36 months. It has fine and persistent bubbles with hints of dried fruits and a touch of bitter orange and almonds in the finish and after taste.

Ferrante di Somma

Ferrante di Somma

Ferrante di Somma representing the winery said that he is a direct descendant of March Scipio who founded the winery in 1647 making it one of Italy’s oldest wineries. He added anche That Scipio was the creator of the Greek di Tufo variety.IMG_8175

This was served well with the Nibbles: Scagliozzi of Polenta, mini mozzarelle in carrozza con’saletta d’acciughe and Assagini di torta”Pasqualina” – polenta croutons, toasted miniature mozzarella sandwiches with a light anchovy sauce and bites of vegetable and cheese tart.IMG_8181

Silva Aura Pallagrello Bianco Terre del Volturno PGI 2013 Cantine Rao. Made from 85% and 15% Pallagrello Fiano. The age of the vineyard is 30 years and the exposure is southeast and they are at 200 meters. There are 4,500 vines per hectare and the training system is Guyot and the soil is loamy sand. Harvest takes place the first week of September. Representing the winey was Francesco Reo.

Dr. Reo

Dr. Reo

Dr. Reo Said that the winery is in the heart of Campania. He Said That the Pallagrello grape became almost extinct but there was a revival in the 1990 “s. The wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel at a controlled temperature. It is aged in steel tanks for 4 months and in bottle for two months before release. It has hints of peach, apricot, apple and pears.IMG_8177

This and the next 3 white wines were served with the Parmigiana di zucchine con scamorza e salsa al pomodoro – zucchini parmesan with smoked mozzarella and tomato sauce.IMG_8188

Or Ni Campania Fiano DOCG 2011 Tenuta Scuotto 100% Fiano di Avellino. The vineyards are at 480 meters and the training system is Guyot. Harvest takes place the first week of November. There is a soft pressing of the grapes and temperature controlled fermentation with indigenous yeast in oval barrels. The wine is aged for 12 months on the lees and 6 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied and elegant white wine with hints of apricot, pineapple and a touch of hazelnuts.IMG_8182

Greco di Tufo DOCG 2013 Contea de Altavilla 100% Greek di Tufo. The soil is clayey and calcareous. Harvest takes place the second half of October. Fermentation is in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and the wine is aged for 5 months in stainless steel tanks. This is an elegant wine with hints of apricot, peach, pear and a touch of bitter almond in the aftertaste.IMG_8183

La TreRose di Giò, Falanghina IGT 2014, Tenute Bianchino ( 100% Falanghina.The vineyard is situated between the cities of Falciano del Massico and Mondragone.The training system is espalier (vines trained along a wall fence or trellis).

Concetta Bianchini

Concetta Bianchini

Concetta Bianchini, representing the winery, said That Falanghina has a leaf cuneiform (wedge shape with a tapered end), is a medium sized grape bunches and conical with a thick and compact skin. Harvest takes place at the end of September and first week of October. Vinification is in stainless steel and before the wine is released it remains in the bottle for one month. This is a balanced wine with hints of fresh citrus fruits, green plum, a long finish and very pleasant aftertaste.

The Falanghina should have been served before the Greco  and Fiano,  which are more substantial. However, all of the wines matched well with the food.

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Filed under campania, Cantina di Marzo, Cantina Reo, Contea de Altavilla, Falanghina, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Italian White Wine, Italian Wine, Pallagrello Bianco, Tenuta Bianchino, Tenuta Scuotto

The White Wines of Campania Part II

There were so many great white wines from Campania at the recent Wine Media Guild tasting and lunch that I had to write about them in two blogs. This is the second

Campania has some of the oldest and most unusual grape varieties in Italy, such as Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Ginestra, Pepella and Fenile.

In his book Brunello to Zibibbo, Nicholas Belfrage writes, “Fiano is either a native grape of Campania or a member of a family of grapes called Apianes brought to southern Italy from the Peloponesse, once called Apia… it is mentioned specifically by Pliny in his Naturalis Historia… ‘the bees give Fiano its name, because of their desire (for it).’ Pliny’s etymology has since been challenged…it is not bees (apes), but wasps that are attracted to the sweet grapes, and it is claimed that the name really derives from appiano, a type of apple, or Apia, once a place name in the province of Avellino now called Lapia. IMG_6203

Fiano di Avellino Etichetta Nera 2013 I Favati Made from 100% Fiano di Avellino. The grapes come from the 5 hectare vineyard Pietramara in Altripalda in the province of Avellino. The age of the vines are 6/7 years, the soil is mostly clay and there are 6,500 vines per hectare. The training system is guyot and the harvest takes place the 3rd to 4th week of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and maceration takes place on the lees.IMG_6205

Fiano di Avellino 2013 Tenuta Sarno 1860 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino from the vineyards of Tenuta Sarno 1860. The winery is in Candida, an ancient village in the province of Avellino, The vineyards are at 6,000 meters and the soil is calcareous clay rich in potassium and phosphorus. Harvest is by hand in the middle of October. Grapes are crushed with a pneumatic press with the cage closed, and the wine spends 6 months on the lees. This is a complex wine with depth and structure. It has hints of white peaches, pears and hazelnuts. $25 IMG_6206

Fiano di Avellino 2012 Ciro Picariello made from 100% Fiano from a seven hectare vineyard in the villages of Montefredane at 1600 ft. and Summonte at 2,100 ft. The harvest takes place in late October and the grapes are picked by hand. The grapes undergo a slow pressing with only the first press fraction used. The wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast for 11/12 months and then several months in bottle before release. There is a minimal use of SO2 and the wine is not filtered or fined. The wine has hints of apple, white peach, hazelnut and a touch of flint and minerality due to the volcanic soil. $29IMG_6207

Fiano di Avellino Ventidue 2009 Villa Raiano made from 100% Fiano from vineyards in the municipalities of Candida, Montefredane, Lapio and San Michele di Serino in Irpinia. The vineyard is at 450/600 meters, the soil is calcareous clay and marl, with loamy sand, the training system is espalier-guyot and there are 4,500 plants per hectare. Harvest takes place the first week of October. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks. There is a settling of the must after a soft pressing of whole clusters and inoculation with selected yeasts. The wine is bottled the second week of February following the harvest. This is a wine with a mineral character, good acidity and hints of citrus fruits, white peaches, and a touch of mint and sage. $23

Fiano di Avillano can age and is at its best when it is 5 to 10 years old. However there are also many that can age for 15 to 20 years and longer. IMG_6208

Irpinia Bianco Campania ”Campanaro” 2012. Feudi di San Gregorio made from Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo grapes are from the Valle dei Ruggi vineyard in the commune of Sorbo Serpico and the Campanaro vineyard in the commune of Tufo, Campania. 15+ year-old vines are grown at between 1,300 – 1,600 ft above sea level with southern and southwestern exposures. Grapes are grown at a moderately dense 4,500 vines per hectare and organic farming methods are employed. The Fiano is grown in a moderately deep soil with slight to moderately calcareous surface. Deeper levels are calcareous with silt clay and marl, limey soil. The Greco is grown in deep, finely textured, moderately alkaline and very calcareous soil with a clay surface layer with deeper layers of clay, lime marl and copious limestone. Harvest is the first two weeks of October. There is a soft crushing of the grapes at low pressure followed by cold settling for 24/48 hours in stainless steel and wood. The wine is aged for 6 months on the lees and then spends four months in bottle before release. $14

Ginestra: This grape variety is present in Furore, Tramonti, Corbaia and Positano. It has nothing to do with Falanghina, with which it was mistakenly combined in the 19th century. It has a characteristically strong scent of broom, known in Italian as ginestra, from which it takes its name. This robust grape variety requires extensive pruning and offers discreet yields. It is a complementary grape variety in the Costa d’Amalfi Bianco DOC.

Pepella: With only a few large grapes on each bunch, the rest of them are small, the size of peppercorns (hence the name), but they all ripen at the same time. This is another grape variety exclusive to the area of Amalfi inland from the coast. Pepella is fairly uncommon and the vines are rather old. As a complementary grape variety, it falls under the Tramonti and Ravello subzones of the Costa d’Amalfi Rosso DOC.IMG_6209

Costa D’ Amalfi Bianco “Per Eva” 2008 Tenuta San Francesco made from 65% Falanghina, 30% Ginestra and 5% Pepella. The vineyard was once owned by the clergy so it is called “Vigna dei Preti.” It is located in Tramonti on the hills high above the Amalfi Coast. The vineyard is on steep-sloped terraced hills 300/500 meters above sea level. The harvest takes place the third week of October. Fermentation is in stainless steel for 10 months and two months in bottle before release. The wine is named for the wife of one of the owners. This is a wine with nice fruit, smoke, good minerality and acidity.

Fenile: I was sitting next to Livio Panebianco, the importer for Marisa Cuomo Wines and he told me about the Fenile grape. It is a complementary variety found mainly in the territories of Furore, Positano and Amalfi. It is trained using the pergola system in groups of two or three vines per position. Fenile offers a modest production due to the slight weight of the bunch. This grape ripens between the end of August and the first few days of September and the very thin skin of the berry means that it must be harvested immediately to prevent it from rotting.

Ripolo: The grape variety is now grown in a few areas mostly in the municipalities of Furore and Positano. It is not particularly fertile and production is not always constant. In particular, the weight of the bunch is well below average.

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Costa D’ Amalfi “Fiorduva” Furore Bianco 2012 Cantina Marisa Cuomo. The wine is made from 30% Fenile, 30% Ginestra and 40% Ripolo. The production zone is in Furore and the surrounding municipalities on the Amalfi coast. The coastal terraces are at 200/500 meters and are south facing.  There are 5,000 to 7,000 vines per hectare. The training system is pergola. The soil is limestone-dolomite rocks. The overripe grapes are harvested by hand the third week of October and the grapes arrive intact in the cantina. After pressing the juice is inoculated with selected yeast. Fermentation takes place for about 3 months in oak barrels at 12°C. The wine has very nice fruit with hints of apricot, raisins, a touch of candied fruit and good acidity. This was one of my favorite wines at the tasting.

 

 

 

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Filed under campania, Ciro Picariello, Fenile grape, Feudi di San Gregorio, Fiano di Avellino, Ginestra grape, I Favati winery, Pepella grape, Ripolo grape, Tenuta San Francesco, TENUTA SARNO 1866, Villa Raiano