Category Archives: Greco di Tufo

Lunch with Daniele Cernilli aka Doctor Wine

Last month, Marina Thompson and Daniele Cernilli invited us for lunch at their apartment in Rome. Both Marina and Daniele are very good cooks and of course there is the wine.Daniere

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 in the US and in Rome. Daniele is a true Roman. He is one of the most important men in Italian wine and has been a wine critic for many years. Daniele was one of the founders of Gambero Rosso and for 24 years was the editor of the Gambero Rosso Slow Food Wine Guide. Daniele was the creator of the now famous Tre Bicchieri, Three Glasses wine classification. Currently, he has his own web-magazine called “Doctor Wine” www.doctorwine.it. There are both English and Italian versions, and it covers both Italian and European wines. I read it regularly and recommend it to anyone interested in wine. He also has the best printed guide to Italian wines which is updated every year called The Essential Guide to Italian Wine 2020.

The Wines

Franciacorta Extra Brut Quinque Uberti in magnum made from 100% Chardonnay. This is a five vintage reserve wine produced with the Classic Method with a minimum of 80 months on the lees. This is an elegant Spumante with hints of chamomile, honey and ginger and a note of almonds.

Greco di Tufo “Vittorio” 2007 Di Meo made from 100% Greco di Tufo from vineyards in Montefusco at 750 meters and the vineyard was planted in 1998. The soil is clay, and limestone. The exposure is northeast and there are 3,500 plants per hectare. The training system is espalier with monolateral guyot pruning. The slightly overripe manual harvest takes place the second half of October. Fermentation is at a controlled temperature in stainless steel and 18 months in bottle before release. This is a wine with hints of apple and hazelnut, a note of citrus fruit, a touch of flint and good acidity and minerality. I visited the winery a few years ago as part of Campania Stories and liked the wine. The winery is located 15km east of Avellino between the villages of Salza Irpina and Parolise. Daniele knows I especially like the Di Meo Greco and I was very pleased he served it to us.

Daniele knows I especially like the Di Meo Greco and I was very pleased he served it to us.

With the wine we had three chesses burrata, mozzarella and straciatella. Daniele said that he had gone to thee different stores to get the best ones in Rome.

Monsanto Chianti Classico “Il Poggio” 2014 in magnum made from 95% Sangiovese and 5% Colorino and Canaiolo. The training system is guyot and spurred cordon. The wine is vinified in temperature controlled conical steel vats. Delestage and pumping over for about 20 to 22 days. The wine is aged in 500 liter oak barrels, partly new and partly second hand for 18 to 20 months. The wine remains in the bottle for 2 years before release. The wine has hints of blackberries and blueberries with a hint of violets. Monsanto is located in the western-central area of the Chianti Classico region in the municipality of Barberino Tavarnelle. I have a long history with Monsanto going back over 35 years and the 1977 vintage of Il Poggio.

To go with the wine, Daniele had prepared a delicious stew of chickpeas and Tuscan kale,

which Marina served with a delicate polpettone or meatloaf.

Vinsanto del Chianti Classico 2008 in half bottle made from Malvasia and Sagiovese from various vineyards within the property. Fontodi

There are 3,500 to 6,000 vines per hectare and the training system is guyot. The grapes after the harvest are naturally dried for 5 months. After the pressing the must is racked into chestnut and oak barrels of 50 and 110 liters where aging takes place for at least 6 years. There are only 3,000 bottles produced. Fontodi is located in Panzano in Chianti. This is an excellent dessert wine with hints of hazelnut, dried apricot, honey and a touch of caramel.

To go with the wine, there was a magnificent panettone, one of the best I have ever had.

Finally there were glasses of Grappa UE “Uvarossa” Nonino made from Schioppettino, Refosco and Fragolino. It was a great way to end a wonderful afternoon.

 

 

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At Cavalier Pepe Winery with Milena Pepe

A few years ago I was invited to Benevento to attend “Campania Stories,” an organized event to introduce and educate journalists about the wines of Campania. There I met Melina Pepe from Tenuta Cavalier Pepe and she invited me to visit the winery the next time I was in Campania. Since Michele and I were going to Naples in early February, I contacted Milena and asked her if we could visit the winery.

Melina

Milena said she was born in Belgium where she studied marketing and then viticulture and oenology in Bordeaux before returning home to Campania.

Milena’s father, Angelo Pepe, started the winery and in 1998 the President of Italy recognized his efforts and granted him the title “Cavaliere della Repubblica per meriti sul lavoro” (Knight of the Republic).

The winery is located on the slopes of three villages: Sant’Angel all’Esca, Taurasi and Luogosano. There are 60 hectares of vineyards and 7 hectares of olive trees producing the Ravece variety. Hazelnut trees are also cultivated on the property.

The Wines

Irpinia Falanghina DOC “Lila” 2018. 100% Falanghina from estate vineyards in the hills of the municipality of Luogosano and Sant’Angelo all’Esca located within the Irpinia Falanghina DOC production zone. The soil is clay and sand with organic and volcanic elements. The grapes are hand picked and immediately taken to the cellar where a selection takes place and the grapes are pressed whole. There is a cold settling followed by alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel. The wine is aged on the lees then in bottle before release. The wine has hints of apple and pear, a note of white flowers and good acidity. Their Falanghina is estate grown whereas many producers’ grapes for Falanghina come from Benevento and are labeled Benevento Falanghina.

Irpinia Coda di Volpe DOC “Bianco di Bellona” 2012 100% Code di Volpe (tail of the fox). Grapes are from estate vineyards in the hills around the towns of Carazita, Piesco and Pesano in Luogosano and Brussinera in Sant’Angelo all Esca. Soil is sand and clay and rich in volcanic matter and the vineyards are at 300 to 490 meters. The gapes are harvested in mid October. Selection takes place in the vineyard and in the cellar where the grapes are pressed whole. The must is cold clarified and then fermented at a low temperature. A short period of aging on the lees takes place and the wine remains in the bottle for a short time before release. Melina said that they opened this bottle by mistake, intending to open the 2018. I said this was a fortunate mistake, as I would really like to taste a Code di Volpe that was 8 years old. The wine has hints of peach, a touch of pineapple and a touch of yellow fruit. It has developed into a very impressive wine.

After the tasting, Milena took us to restaurant Le Contrade where we had a very nice lunch and I drank the 2012 Code di Volpe which was very easy to drink and a perfect combination with the food.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG “Refiano” 2018 made from 100% Fiano from vineyards located in Lapio, Montefredane and Candida at 400 to 500 meters. The soil is marl and limestone rich in volcanic material. The grapes are hand picked and hand selected in the cellar and whole bunches are pressed. Cold settling is followed by alcoholic fermentation at a low temperature. After fermentation the wine is aged on its lees and remains in the bottle until release. The wine has hints of apple, pear and almonds and a touch of chamomile and mineral notes.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG Reserve “Brancato” 2017 made from 100% Fiano from south facing vineyards in the municipality of Lapio. The grapes are hand harvested at full ripeness, undergo a strict selection and are pressed whole. Cold settling is followed by alcoholic fermentation in barriques and later in stainless steel at a low temperature. The wine is aged in wood and steel followed by a minimum of 6 months in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of mature tropical fruit, apple, hazelnuts with a hint of spice and a touch of toast.

Greco di Tufo DOCG Reserve “Nestor” 2018 made from 100% Greco from vineyards on the hills of S. Paolina, Montefusco and Prata in the heart of the Greco di Tufo zone at 400 to 700 meters. The soil is primarily tufaceous with clay, limestone and volcanic elements. Grapes are hand picked, there is a selection in the cellar and the grapes are pressed whole.

Greco di Tufo DOCG “Grancare” 2017 made from 100% Greco from vineyards located at the highest areas of Torrioni and Montefusco at 600 to 700 meters. The soil is primarily clay and silt with limestone and volcanic material. The grapes are harvested in October. Vinification is like the 2017 Fiano. This is an intense full-bodied wine with hints of peach, tropical and candied fruit and a touch of toast.

It was very informative to compare the Fiano and Greco  in stainless steel and then to taste those in wood. The ones in steel were more aromatic  and fresher while the ones in wood have  deeper flavors and aromas.

Irpinia Aglianico IGT Terra Del Varo 2015, made from 85% Aglianico and 15% Merlot. The Aglianico ripens late and the harvest lasts from the middle of October to the middle of November. The estate vineyards are in Luogosano, Sant’Angelo all’Esca and Taurasi and are at 350 meters. The soil is clay and volcanic elements. Harvest is by hand and there is a selection in the vineyard and in the cellar. Destemming is followed by a cold pre-fermentation, maceration for about 10 days and alcoholic fermentation at a controlled temperature. Aging is for 24 months in cement tanks and 6 months in bottle before release. The wine has hints of black cherry and blackberries with spice notes and a touch of black pepper.

Taurasi 2013 “Opera Mia” (my work) 2013 100% Aglianico from vineyards on the hills of Carazita and Pesano located in the munciipalites of Luogosano and Sant’Angelo all’Esca at 405 meters. The soil is clay and limestone with volcanic outcrops. The grapes are harvested when fully ripe. There is a careful selection before the grapes are destemmed and fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature. Maceration is on the skins for about 20 days. The wine is aged in French oak barriques for 12 months, in cement tanks for 24 months and finally in bottle for 12 months before release. The wine has hints of blueberries and blackberries with a touch of spice and coffee and a note of vanilla.

Milena said they were experimenting with aging some of the wine in amphora. I have seen the use of amphora in other wineries in Campania.

The  Cavalier Pepe wines are represented in the U.S. by Romano Brands.

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Woman in Wine: Part II: Teresa Bruno of Petilia

 

When I told her I would be in Naples, Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara suggested that instead of visiting her winery where I have been several times, I should visit the Petilia winery owned by brother and sister Roberto and Teresa Bruno.  Ilaria is a big supporter of her region and the other wineries there and I looked forward to having this opportunity to experience more of the local wines.  Teresa Bruno would give us a tour of Petilia and after we would all meet for lunch at a traditional restaurant, Zia Pasqualina in Atripalda (AV).

Teresa picked us up in Avellino and drove us to her winery. At Petilia, Teresa’s job is dealing with clients, distributors and guests; she also works in the vineyard and drives a tractor. She is very enthusiastic and knowledgeable and we had a very interesting conversation on the drive to the winery about the state of wine in Irpinia and Campania in general. She said they have 12  hectares of vineyards located in Campofiorito in Altavilla Irpinia.

Teresa showing us a door made by her brother from old burned wood

Teresa gave us a tour of the winery and said that it was constructed with stones found on the property.  All the roof supports and doors are made from old wood recycled by her brother.  We  were  fascinated  by  the  enormous  doors  and  smooth  stone  walls  that  looked  as  if  they  were  hundreds  of  years  old.  

Teresa then drove us to the restaurant where we  were joined by Ilaria Petitto of Donnachiara and Maura Sarno of Sarno 1860, another local winery.  I  wrote  about  the  Donnachiara  wines  last  week  and  will  report  on  the  Sarno  wines  next  week.  Here  are  my  notes  on  the  wines  of Petilia.  

Fiano di Avellino 2018 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino Petilia. The vineyards are in Chianche, locality of Montefalcone. The soil is clayey, volcanic and rich in minerals. The vineyards are at 450 meters and there are 4,000 vines per hectare with an average age of 15 years. The grapes are vinified separately and there is organic cultivation. The grapes are destemmed and cryomaceration takes place, and then fermentation on the skins at a very low temperature. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine spends 6 months on the lees and four months in bottle before release. It has hints of apple and pear with an unmistakable touch of toasted hazelnut.

Teresa said that she and her brother Roberto prefer to refine their white wine exclusively in steel and in the bottle. The goal is to develop fully the potential of the original grape variety and the wine obtained after the fermentation of the grapes.

4 20 Quattro Venti 100% Greco di Tufo. The Petilia vineyards are in Chianche, locality of Sant’Andrea. The vineyards are at 600 meters, the exposure is south/east and there are 4,000 plants per hectare. The soil is clayey, volcanic, and rich in minerals with a sumptuous subsoil and the training system is espalier with guyot pruning. The vines are 20 years old. Harvest takes place the second week of October. There is ultra soft pressing with whole grapes and fermentation in steel tanks at a controlled temperature. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine has citrus notes, with hints of almonds, lemon blossoms and quince.

With the wine we had pasta fagioli, a very classic pasta dish at the restaurant

Teresa gave me a bottle of 2009 Greco di Tufo which I am looking forward to drinking.  Both Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino are age worthy wines. I like to drink them when they are 10 years old or older. She also gave me a bottle of Taurasi 450V 2007 which I might hold on to for a few more years before I drink it.

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Women and Wine Part I: llaria Petitto of Donnachiara

Last week, Ilaria Petitto of Donna Chiara winery near Avellino invited me to meet two women who like herself, are winery owners in Irpinia. The women were Teresa Bruno of Petilia Winery and Maura Sarno of Sarno 60. Ilaria’s plan was for us to first visit Teresa at Petilia and then have lunch all together at a typical restaurant , Zia Pasqualina in Artipalda(AV) It was a great opportunity to experience some of my favorite wines of the region paired with the regional food.   First I will discuss the Donna Chiara wines we tasted, and will write about the other women’s wines in subsequent blogs.

Ilaria

Ilaria

Ilaria said that Donna Chiara Winery is located in Montefalcione in the Irpinia area near Avellino. The modern winery was completed in 2005 but the vineyards have been in the family for over 150 years. The consulting oenologist at this time is the legendary Riccardo Cotarella. It is the philosophy of the winery to preserve the traditional grape varieties of the local territory and to keep the typical character of the wines from  being  lost to the standardization of the wines on the market today. They also follow guidelines limiting the use of some active ingredients that are harmful to the environment.

The introduction of the wine was done by Francesco de Rienzo  from Donnachiara

Fiano di Avellino “Empatia” 2018, 100% Fiano di Avellino Donnachiara Illaria said only the best grapes from the vineyard in Montefalcione, which is certified organic, are used for this wine. The grapes are hand harvested the second half of October at the coolest part of the day and there is a very careful selection. The soil is chalky and the training system is guyot. Cryomaceration (crushed grapes are held at low temperature) is at 42-46F to preserve the aroma, prevent oxidation and enhance the characteristics of the grapes. There is a soft pressing of the grapes using a pneumatic press and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for about 14 days. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine spends some time in bottle before release. This is an impressively elegant wine with hints of apple, almonds, tropical fruit and floral notes with a long finish and pleasing aftertaste. This is an age worthy wine.

Greco di Tufo “Aletheia” 2017 DOCG 100% Greco di Tufo Donnachiara Only the best grapes are used, after a careful selection, the harvest is by hand during the coolest parts of the day, the second half of October. The soil is tuffaceous and the training system is guyot. Cryomaceration is at 42-46F to preserve the aroma, prevent oxidation and to enhance the characteristics of the grapes. There is a soft pressing of the grapes using a pneumatic press and fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks for about 15 days. The fermented must is left to age on the lees for about a year with weekly bartonage. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine remains in the bottle for a period of time before release. This is an intense wine with hints of citrus fruit, pear, apricot and a hint of hazelnuts and pineapple. This is a age worthy wine

Ilaria said 2017 was a very good year in the region.

Ilaria gave me a bottle of  the Resilienza  Falanghina to take with me and I will write about the wine when I drink it in Rome. She said these three white wines are a new wine line with different labels.

Taurasi DOCG 2016   Donnachiara The soil is clay and the training system is guyot. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and harvest takes place the first week of November. The wine is aged for 12 months in 225-liter French barriques and remains in the bottle for another 24 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberry, plum, cherry and a touch of cacao. The use of barrique is subtle and did not mask the character of the wine. Taurasi  is a wine that will last for many years.

One of the dishes we had at the restaurant was ricotta made from buffalo milk – it was fantastic!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Taste of Irpinia

I did not think it was possible to fit in so much into two and a half days in Irpinia in Campania but we did. This is third blog on my trip.  In addition the the wines, it was an opportunity to sample the foods of this region, which although close to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, is quite different due to the climate and high altitude.

Our host for the trip was Federico Basso from the Villa Raiana winery.

The first night over dinner at Villa Raiana, Federico and I began to talk about pasta. I mentioned pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino which I had not had in a long time.  My wife, Michele makes it at home, but it is rare to see it on menus.  Federico said it is a simple dish but there must be a perfect balance between the ingredients to make it work and this is the difficulty. He mentioned that it is a specialty of the restaurant we are going for lunch the next day.

Restaurant Riserva 24 in located in Serino (Avellino)

When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a bowl of roasted chestnuts on the table. I tried one and the whole shell came right off.  It was  delicious, probably the best I had ever eaten. I had to stop myself from eating too many.

Appetizers

Sausage and  greens  with  potatoes,  fried  croutons  and  a fried  sweet  pepper.

Chick pea soup

 

Sauteed mushrooms with polenta

Pizza with lardo and local cheese

Greco de Tufo 2017 “Ponte dei SantiVilla Raiano. 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 the same as above.

Pasta aglio, olio and peperoncino

Irpinia Campi Taurasi 2015 made from 100% Taurasi “Costa Baiano” Villa Raiano 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. The 2015 was drinking very well and I believe it will mature slower than the 2016 we had at the winery.

Handmade fusilli pasta with tomato sauce

Grilled lamb and chicken

Dessert consisted of cookies and sweets typical of the holiday season.

That night we went to Restaurant Zi Pasqualina in Atripalda (Avellino)

The waiter suggested a few appetizers including:

Mozzarella di bufala Campania, ricottina di buffalo.

a

Crostini with peppers

Local prosciutto

 

I had the ravioli di ricotta in salsa di noci e ricotta salata di Montella

Michelle Kwan had candele pasta al ragu antico con pecorino di Lioni

Second course I had salsiccia di maiale alla brace

Michelle had bistecca di maiale alla brace.

We also shared patate e peperoni ripassati in padella

The restaurant has an extensive list of wines from Campania including older wines. They are in the same town as the Mastroberardino Winery and have Taurasi wines from Mastroberardino going back to the legendary 1968.

Michelle Kwan wanted to drink an older white wine, so we ordered a 2003 Greco di Tufo made from 100% Greco di Tufo Pietracupa. This winery has 3 hectares of vineyards. The soil contains a thin layer of clay and sand over a core of  tufa, a rock formed from volcanic ash. The wine has hints of lemon, pear, honey, white peaches and a touch of almonds.

In addition to being introduced to some memorable wines, this trip  it a great lesson in the culinary riches of Irpinia.

 

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Tasting Wine and Olive Oil at Villa Raiano

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

 

 

 

 

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Tenuta Meriggio: The Wines of Irpinia

At a recent press lunch at the Leopard at Café des Artistes, I met Bruno Pizza owner of Tenuta del Meriggio in the Campania region of Italy. Susannah Gold the organizer of the event introduced me to Bruno and his daughter.

Bruno and Emilia Rita Pizza

Bruno thanked us for coming to the event and made a few opening remarks that were translated by Susannah. He said the winery was started in 2010 with Nunzia Guerriero. The winery is in Montemiletto in the province of Avellino. The appellation is Irpinia. The oenologist is the noted Carmine Valentino, who works for Massimo Alois and used to be with Donnachiara, two of my favorite wineries.

Paolo Sibillo

Also present was Paolo Sibillo, Diettore Commerciale for the winery. He was the principal speaker and I was sitting next to him and really enjoyed our conversation.

Paolo said they produce Irpinia Coda di Volpe DOC, Benevento Falanghina IGT (they buy the grapes) Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Greco Di Tufo DOCG, Irpinia Agalianico DOC and Taurasi. The winery is only 50 kilometers from the sea but they are in the mountains so he considers their wines to be mountain wines.

Aura Levis Irpinia Greco Spumante DOC Brut made from Greco 70% and 30% Code di Volpe NV Charmat method- the second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank. The wine is aged for 3 years before release. The wine had a lot of small bubbles, hints of citrus fruit, peach and a touch of almond. Ed Mc Carthy, author of “Champagne for Dummies,” said he really liked the wine. Paolo said this was a new wine for them and they were very happy with the way it turned out.

Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2018 made from 100% Fiano from a selection of grapes from the estate vineyards located in Agro di Montemiletto at 500 meters. The vineyards were planted from 1900 to 2000 and the exposure is southeast. The soil is a medium mixture of sand and the training system is guyot. There are 3,300 plants per hectare and the harvest takes place in the middle of October. Fermentation takes place at a controlled temperature in steel. At the end of the fermentation process the wine remains on the lees for four months before the wine is bottled. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, peach, white flowers; a touch of almonds and good acidity. The wine was awarded the coveted Three Bicchiere from Gambero Rosso.

Fiano di Avellino Selezione Colle delle Ginestre 2018 made from 100% Fiano from the Candida vineyards. It is produced the same was as the regular but the aging is different. Total production for the wine is 3,000 liters of which 2,500 mature in stainless steel with about 12 months of batonnage while the wine is on the lees. Meanwhile 500 liters are fermented in 2 new barriques and remain there for about 12 months. After the wine is assembled, it is filtered and remains in the bottle for about 6 months. The 2018 and the 2019 will be released in the spring of 2020. This is a rounder wine with more body than the regular Fiano but still with the Fiano flavors and aromas.

Paolo said now they have two lines of wine, the regular and the Classico (Selezione).

The first course was Parmigiana di Zucchine con Scamorza.

Greco di Tufo Selezione Colle dei Lauri made from 100% Greco from estate vineyards located in Agro di Tufo at 330 meters and Santa Paolina at 420 meters. The soil is clay and the vines were planted from 1950 to 2011. The vineyard training system is guyot and typical pergola avellinese. There are 3300 to 2500 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place in mid October. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature and the wine remains on its lees for several months before it is bottled. The wine is aged the same way as the Fiano Selezione. Paolo said that because of the rich volcanic and clay soil the wines have hints of citrus fruit, pears, toasted almonds and a mineral finish. The Selezione was produced for the first time and will be released next year.  All three of the white wines will  improve with age and last for many years. 

Scialatielli di grani antichi Ai Frutti Di Mare.

Irpinia Aglianico DOC 2015 made from 100% Aglianico from estate vineyards located in Montemiletto at 500 meters and in Taurasi at 300 meters. The vineyards were planted between 2003 and 2012. There are 4,000 plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. Harvest takes place at the end of October and the beginning of September. This is a wine with red and blackberry flavors and a hint of spice. Paolo said it should be drunk within 5 years.

Taurasi DOCG 2014 made from 100% Aglianico from estate vineyards located on the hills of Passo della Serra of Momtemiletto at 550 meters with a south-east exposure. The soil is clay and sand and the vineyard was planted in 2003. There are 4,000plants per hectare and the training system is guyot. The manual harvest takes place at the end of October and the beginning of September. After a long maturation on the skins, the wine matures for 24 to 36 months in large oak barrels and in bottle for at least one year before release. This is an elegant wine with hints of wild berries, cherries, plums and a touch of spice.

 

With the red wine we had Carre d’Agnello insaporito alle erbe con croquette di patate e spinaci saltati in padella

For dessert  we had Pastiera Napoletana which I ate before I remembered to take a picture!

NOTE: These are excellent wines and the winery is looking for am importer. I highly recommend the wines. For information contact Paolo Sibillo at +39 335 1046954  commerciale@tenutadelmeriggio.it   or Susannah Gold at    vignetocommunications@gmail.com

 

 

 

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