For students of viticultural history, Campania may be Italy’s most important region. For lovers of great wines, Campania must still be approached with caution. It was the Greeks who introduced systemized wine-growing to the Italian peninsula, and the region of Campania is where they did it first. Grape varieties such as the white Greco and the red Aglianico (whose name is thought to be a mutation of the word “hellenico,” Italian for “Greek”), have been rooted in Campanian soil since the days of the ancients, yet wines such as Greco di Tufo and Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, while famous, have generally had middling reputations. These days, however, Campanian wines are on the rise. From inland locales such as Avellino and Taurasi to coastal sites in Cilento, the region is truly one of Italy’s new hot spots, with a host of new estates joining established wineries such as Mastroberardino. Here are two “updated” classics from two of Campanias rising stars:
Fiano di Avellino, Terredora 2000
Terredora is owned by a branch of the Mastroberardino family, and this fine and fragrant white is sourced from family vineyard holdings near Avellino. One distinguishing characteristic of the fiano grape is its penetrating piney scent, and this wine has woodsy aroma to spare. Italy’s got a nice round texture and finishes clean. A cool, crisp, fragrant white to try with Mario’s Spicy Lamb Tartare.
Taurasi “Macchia dei Goti,” Antonio Caggiano 1997
Here’s the aglianico grape in all of its spicy, savory glory. Antonio Caggia no is an artisan producer of this classic DOCG wine who strives not only for ripeness in his wines but a trademark earthy complexity as well. This is a big-boned red with enough tannin to tame a steak or a veal chop, and the kind of funky aromas you might normally associate with a Barolo. A complex red at a reasonable price.