When you think of Italian wine, what comes to mind first? Perhaps the robust, high-tannin, age-worthy Nebbiolos of Barolo and Barbaresco? Or the classic Sangiovese wines – Chianti or Brunello di Montalcino? Or if you are a lover of white wines – then maybe light, refreshing Pinot Grigios, Prosecco, or even Franciacorta bubbles?
Next time you decide to open a bottle of Italian wine, step outside the usual suspects and try a different region – the wines of the southern region of Campania. Campania is the “shin” of Italy’s boot, and is home to the city of Naples, as well as the Amalfi Coast. In addition to being stunningly gorgeous, this region has a long history of ancient empires (Romans, Greeks, and Byzantines) that brought viticulture to the area. Campania is home to a number of grape varieties (many of which take their names from Greek and Roman legends), and many of their native varietals aren’t grown anywhere else in the world.
For whites, check out the wines of Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, and Falanghina. These classic indigenous varietals have been grown in the region for centuries, and are perfect to pair with food, or just enjoy a glass in the warm weather. For reds – Aglianico is the major red varietal in Campania. Aglianico is considered to be among Italy’s finest red wines – along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese – and shares those grapes’ high tannins, acidity, and age-worthy qualities. For the best that Aglianico can offer, try a Taurasi DOCG or Aglianico del Vulture DOCG. If you like the bold, dry styles of Piedmont and Tuscany, you will love these, as well.
The Mastroberardino family of Campania is largely credited for rescuing and replanting these ancient native varietals of Campania, taking many varietals that were on the verge of extinction in the area, revitalizing the vineyards, and creating world-class wine again from these native grapes. Walter Mastroberardino and his family continue to own and operate Terredora di Paolo Winery in Campania. Since its establishment in 1978, Terredora di Paolo has focused on rediscovering and restoring Campania’s ancient and native varietals such as Aglianico, Fiano, Greco, and Falanghina. With 494 acres of privately owned vineyards in the best sites of the Avellino province, Terredora di Paolo is one of the largest wineries in southern Italy.
Next time you are looking for a refreshing Italian white, or perhaps a big, tannic Italian red – look for Terredora di Paolo, look for Campanian wine, and experience what the south of Italy can offer!