Pietracupa, Greco di Tufo, 2012
Campania sits along Italy’s western coast, on the Tyrrhenian Sea, the region is south of Latium and Molise, west of Puglia and Basilicata and north of Calabria. More than half of Campania’s terrain consists of hillsides. The Apennines run along the central and eastern parts of the region; other mountains and hills are in and near the western coastline, including several volcanoes — some of which are still active, including the famous Mount Vesuvius.
Naples, the capital of Campania, is the largest and most important city in southern Italy; but the region itself, like much of the southern peninsula, reflects a growing disparity of immense poverty and natural beauty (Amalfi Coast), which has affected wine production in the region.
In Roman times, it was the inland parts of Campania, particularly around the province of Avellino, east of Naples, which set the pace for the production the Empire’s most famous wines.
But that was then. In recent history, Campania has been an example of an underachieving viticultural area. As little as 15 years ago, more than half of the region’s DOC wine came from one producer. That producer, Mastroberardino, is still the leader in DOC wine production, but today several others have finally joined the ranks of quality-conscious wine makers. The top tier of wines in Campania has taken a huge leap forward in the last two decades; however, less than 10% of the region’s wines are at DOC level.
The Wine: Pietracupa, Greco di Tufo DOCG 2012
The name Greco di Tufo applies to both a white grape variety and a DOCG wine. The Greeks introduced the Greco variety to Italy over 2,000 years ago. The varietal flourishes in many parts of Italy, but the particular clone of this grape that grows around the hillside village of Tufo and seven other communities directly north of Avellino is undoubtedly the best.
After World War II, the fate of Greco as well as that of many southern Italian grape varieties were in peril. The wartime devastation of vineyards as well as the mass migration of Italian vine growers from agriculture to urban industries in the cities and abroad, ushered in a period of general decline for viticulture in the region. As plantings declined and vineyards were ripped up, many varieties were on the verge of extinction. The efforts of family winemakers and heritage winemaking projects helped sustain the existence of the Greco vine in southern Italy.
Greco di Tufo is straw-yellow in color with intense aromas of peach, citrus fruits and nutty notes. On the palate, zesty acidity finishes with minerally and smokey notes for an overall impression of complexity and finesse. Traditional pairings for this wine are fish and seafood, either raw, fried or grilled.
Sabino Loffredo is a young vigneron from the rustic region of Campania in southern Italy. In 1993, he took over his family’s winery, modestly reinventing the estate as Pietracupa. The combination of his talents as a gifted wine taster and technical skills has placed his estate and the region of Montefredane on the world stage.
Sabino always knew that the terroir of his modest region was capable of challenging other established areas of Campania. Pietracupa wines represent his style and his idea of the wine world. He is one of the most successful examples of how a small producer can produce great wines.
Pietracupa is situated near Avellino, in the hinterland of the Campania region. It is a mountainous terrain that has little to do with the usual idea of southern Italy, but at the same time it reflects its sunny, open nature. The limited production focuses on the grape varieties typical of the area: Fiano and Greco for the whites, and Aglianico for the red wines.
The soils of the estate’s 3 hectares are composed of a thin layer of clay and sand over a compact core of tufaceous rock, the legacy of the ancient volcanoes that made up the majority of inland Campania. The volcanic rock is responsible for the mineral and chalk elements that make up these incredibly pure, crystal clear wines. The company’s wines are like its owner: they tend towards the original but are able to speak faithfully of their land. Elegant, deep, and highly mineral, they make a fine first impression and express the purity and potential of the rugged Campanian terroir.