I first met Andrea Matrone In NYC at an event at Ribalta where he was presenting his wine. The event was organize by the Consorzio Tutela Vini Vesuvio. Five producers from the area were presenting their Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco and Rosso. I wrote about the event and Marina Alaimo, a journalist friend in Naples, saw the article offered to take me to visit Cantine Matrone the next time I was in the Naples area.
Michele and I last month were in Rome for a few days and contacted Marina.
Cantine Matrone is located in Boscotrecase in the heart of the national park of Vesuvio with great views of Vesuvio and the Bay of Naples.
Andrea told us that he worked in many different places around the world to enhance his winemaking skills. Coming back home he and his cousin Francesco Matrone managed to bring new life to the old family vineyards once cultivated by their grandfather. There are four hectares of vineyards divided into smaller plots.
As we walked, Andrea pointed to the Panoramic Vineyard at 250 meters that has one hectare of espalier rows that face south toward the sea. Behind the Volcano is the area know as Vigna Tre Moggi and planted here are a few vines of Caprettone.
Vigna Montagna (La Montagna is the name the locals give to the volcano) is at 300 meters. There was a strong lava flow here caused by the eruption of 1906. Andrea said the soil is young , rich in lapillus (very small pebbles) and minerals. It is among the pine trees. Here there is one hectare of Piedirosso (Pier e palumm). Here, Andrea said very proudly, is the vineyard dedicated to my grandfather Nonno Andrea.
Here also is where he has his “new” training system, new to Vesuvius because he is the only one doing it. He calls the new vine training system system “Alberello Alsaziano” because it is very popular in Alsace. It should be good for Piedirosso because it has longer shoots than the traditional Alberello. This project is particularly dear to Andrea who believes very much in the potential of his training system on Vesuvius. The work of recovery and selection of the plants to be reproduced on their own has been very accurate, to ensure maximum consistency to the territory and to enhance the Vesuvian viticultural identity with respect.
The Panoramica (named for the view) is at 200 meters facing south overlooking the Bay of Naples. Andrea said this is the best place for Caprettone because here it ripens best. One hectare here is planted with the alberate-80cm by 1,60 meters or 7,200 plants per hectare. Andrea said it will produce only 600 gr of grapes from each plant. Every two plants will produce a bottle of wine. A big chance for a small company. All of the plants are ungrafted because phylloxera cannot survive in the volcanic soil.
Andrea took us into his very small cellar and showed us the machine for crushing the grapes and his press. The small horizontal wine press works by electricity. Andrea said it is good because it is like the pressing of grapes on other grapes, in this way it makes a soft pressing, and he like it because he can control its every movement.
He only has 6 barrels: One tonneau, 4 barriques and one barrel of 300 liters, which he bought because it was a good price.
All of the barrels are old as you can see from the pictures.
Lacryma Christ del Vesuvio Bianco 2015 made from 80% Caprettone and 15% Falangina and 5% Greco. Lacryma del Vesuvio Bianco made from 80% Caprettone, 15% Falanghina and 5% Greco. The Caprettone is distributed over three vineyards located at 30, 120 and 200 meters. Falanghina and Greco are at 30 meters. The Falanghina and Greco are fermented together with a pressing and fermentation without the pomace. The Caprettone is vinified alone with a 24-hour maceration period with the pomace. Then a soft pressing and fermentation takes place without temperature control. Andrea said this helps to obtain a wine with slightly more intense color and a bouquet of aromas that are more related to the varietal and less to the fruity or floral notes due to fermentation. The wine has hints of citrus, almond and a touch of sage with good acidity.
Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso 2015 made from 75% Piedirosso, 15% Sciascinoso, and 10% Aglianico. The Piedirosso is cultivated in 3 vineyards located at 30, 120 and 200 meters. The soil is volcanic sand/lava and basalt. Sciascinoso and Aglianico are cultivated at 30 meters. Maceration is for 10/12 days and delestage takes place. The wine is aged in stainless steel vats and tonneau barrels. The wine has aromas and flavors of red fruit and cherry with hints of spice and a touch of smoke.
His first vintage was in 2014 and the current vintage is 2015. Andrea said he likes to hold on to the wine a little longer before release. The production is about 10,000 bottles.