Campania Stories 2021: The Most Remarkable Wines in the Tasting

The Campania region has a lot to offer gastronomically, oenologically and historically. Located in the south of Rome on the anterior shin part of the boot-shaped country, it dwells on a patchwork of exceptional variegated environmental factors wherein native grape vines flourish resulting in distinctive first-rate wines. With the components of the volcanic arc in the region namely Mount Vesuvius, Campi Flegrei, and Roccamonfina, it has a richness of minerals in its soil, while the Tyrrhenian Sea flanks it on its side helping in maintaining the much needed acidity and soft hills on the hinterland which influence the balance in the ripening of the grapes. The climate is Mediterranean, with fluctuations of nocturnal temperatures on higher altitudes in the evenings. Due to these factors, the wines come out remarkably and considered some of the best in the country. In addition to these, there are more items in the agenda like the knowledge and techniques that the winemakers have adopted, the aid of modern technology, years of experience and age-old tradition.

Campania is a region of medium importance in quantitative production of wines in Italy, holding between the 8th and 10th position among the 20 regions and representing 2 to 4% of the total national production. The white wines represent 46% of the production while 54% represent the red and rosè wines, produced from a cultivation of 26,000 hectares of vineyards.

The Campania region has four DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita / (Denomination of Controlled and Guaranteed Origin), the highest designation under the Italian wine law which are: Aglianico di Taburno, Fiano di Avellino, Taurasi and Greco di Tufo. The region has a number of grape varieties but the most prominent ones that we almost always encounter are Code di Volpe, Asprinio, Fiano, Falanghina, Greco, Biancolella and Pallagrello Bianco among the whites whereas the red varieties have Aglianico, Piedirosso and Pallagrello Nero.

There are 10 different wine-growing zones in Campania: Upper Caserta, Colline Caiatine-Terre del Volturno, Sannio, Irpinia, Campi Flegrei and Campania Islands, Vesuvio, Penisola Sorrentina, Costiera Amalfitana, Colli Salernitani and Picentini, and Cilento.

Historically, one of the most important authocthonous grapes of the region is traced back to the Greeks when they settled in the area in the 7th century B.C. During their settlement, they introduced a variety of grapes and one of them is the Aglianico. As time moved on, wine making became widespread and sophisticated that in the 1500s, Sante Lancerio, court sommelier of Pope Paul III indicated in his precisely written notes the goodness of some wines from Campania like the Greco di Somma of Ischia and Posillipo, and the Coda di Volpe of Nola. Slowly, from the 18th century, the popularity of the wines of Campania became prevalent, not only in the region but also outside Campania where the emigrants moved to and created their micro communities. Greco, Fiano, Falanghina and Aglianico became known side by side with international varieties.

In spite of the pandemic, the 2021 edition of Campania Stories proceeded with great success, as with the previous editions. Supported by the Campania Region, the event was promoted by Miriade & Partners in collaboration with AIS (Associazione Italiana Sommelier) Campania and the media partnership with Luciano Pignataro Wine Blog, held between 30 August to 4 September 2021 at the Campus Principe di Napoli in Agerola (Costiera Amalfitana), home to the high-level culinary school directed by Heinz Beck, executive chef of the triple Michelin starred restaurant La Pergola in Rome.

The tasting of more than 300 wines from more than 80 producers were divided into two days, whites and reds separately. Being cultivated in many areas of the region, the grape varieties give diverse expressions according to the types of soil, the microclimate and the distinguishing techniques of the oenologists. They are powerhouses of beautiful personalities that convey Campania’s unique terroir. 

The white varieties like Greco has a great personality and is capable of expressing diversity with interesting potential for evolution and aging, from fresh to more structured versions. It generally provides pleasant fruity notes of apple, white flowers, aromatic herbs and almonds. Like Greco, Fiano expresses beautifully depending on its vinification, showing excellence in its evolution towards aging. From being fruity, nutty and floral specified with apples, green almonds, roses, sage and honey to tropical fruit flavors like pineapple, banana to dried apricots and toasted hazelnuts. There is also Falanghina, a well-known representative of the Campania region for its zesty wines lined with peach, almonds, fresh herbs and minerals. Coda di Volpe, once a variety for blending for the main white wines of the region, has been produced as monovarietal in the previous years. It has distinctive characteristics of notable pear and quince with pronounced acidity and savory note. Aging, however, does nothing to diminish the wine’s freshness. 

Aglianico, Campania's red flagbearer and the grape variety of Taurasi, is a full-bodied wine, can be quite tannic, fresh and generally has peppery aromas, black cherries and other dark mature fruits. Depending on its aging process, it can express interesting tertiary characteristics. Another prominent red variety is Piedirosso, best known as the dominant blending grape (sometimes monovarietal) in Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, produces deep ruby red wines rich in aromas of red and dark fruits with minerals and dark tones of mushrooms and forest floor.

The most notable white wines are:
Sammarco Ettore, Selva delle Monache Costa d'Amalfi Ravello Bianco DOP 2020
Marisa Cuomo, Fiorduva Costa d'Amalfi Furore Bianco DOP 2019
Sammarco Ettore, Vigna Grotta Piana Costa d'Amalfi Ravello Bianco DOP 2019
Tenuta San Francesco, Per Eva Costa d'Amalfi Bianco DOP 2018
Montevetrano, Core Biano Campania IGP 2020
Fattoria La Rivolta, Coda di Volpe Sannio Coda di Volpe DOP 2020
Sclavia, Calù Terre di Volturno Pallagrello Bianco IGP 2020
Di Meo, Campania Falanghina IGP 2020
Fattoria La Rivolta, Falanghina del Sannio Taburno DOP 2020
La Guardiense, Anima Lavica Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2020

Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, Greco di Tufo Nestor 2020
Cantina Tora, Kissos Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2016
Fontanavecchia, Libero Vendemmia Tardiva Falanghina del Sannio Taburno DOP 2015
Casa Setaro, Campanelle Campania Falanghina IGP 2020
Mustilli, Vigna Segreta Falanghina del Sannio Sant' Agata dei Goti DOP 2019
Monserrato 1973, Fiano Monserrato 1973 Sannio Fiano DOP 2020

The most notable red wines are:
Barbot Stefania, Ion Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOP 2018
Agnanum, Agnanum Pierdirosso Campi Flegrei Piedirosso DOP 2019
Villa Raiano, Costa Baiano Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOP 2018
Canonico & Santoli, Hirpus Irpinia Aglianico DOP 2016
Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, Santo Stefano Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOP 2016
Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, Santo Stefano Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOP 2016
Mustilli, Piedirosso Sannio Piedirosso DOP 2019
Borgodangelo, Borgodangelo Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOP 2017
Benito Ferrara, Vigna Quattro Confini Irpinia Aglianico DOP 2018
Contrada Salandra, Piedirosso Campi Flegrei Piedirosso DOP 2017
Cantina di Solopaca, Armunia Viticoltori San Martino Biologico Sannio Aglianico DOP 2019
Terre Stregate, Arcano Sannio Aglianico Riserva DOP 2016
Donnachiara, Taurasi DOP 2017
Antico Castello, Magis Irpinia Aglianico DOP 2017
Sertura, Irpinia Aglianico DOP 2019
Cantina di Marzo, Irpinia Aglianico DOP 2018
Amarano, Malambruno Irpinia Campi Taurasini DOP 2014

Campania Stories

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