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venerdì 19 aprile 2013

Campania: The varieties your mother never taught you about.

A little research put together for a lesser known grapes of Campania wine education class at Maialino NYC last week.  Included are most of the rarer grapes, but also those most relevant to the enomatic program at the restaurant.

The DOC Zones of Campania (Vino Italiano)

1 Taurasi (DOCG) 2 Aglianico del Taburno (DOCG) 3 Aversa 4 Campi Flegrei 5 Capri 6 Castel San Lorenzo 7 Cilento 8 Costa D'Amalfi 9 Falerno del Massico 10 Fiano di Avellino (DOCG) 11 Galluccio 12 Greco di Tufo (DOCG) 13 Guardia Sanframondi/Guardiolo 14 Ischia 15 Penisola Sorrentina 16 Sannio 17 Sant'Agata dei Goti 18 Solopaca 19 Vesuvio

Vitigni Rossi:
Pallagrello Nero
Casavecchia
Piedirosso
Olivella (Sciascinoso)
Marsigliese
Guarnaccia (Grenache)


Vitigni Bianchi:
Pallagrello Bianco
Verdeca
Coda di Volpe
Biancolella
Forastera (Uva dell'Isola)

Pallagrello Bianco - Thought to be Coda di Volpe for years, but Pallagrello Bianco produces a wine of much greater complexity than Coda di Volpe.  Often seen as a varietal wine which are rich yet soft, with notes of apricot, peach, honey, wax, almond and vanilla.

Coda di Volpe – Meaning foxes tail, produces wines golden yellow in colour.  The grape doesn’t produce a ton of acidity, which is why it shows so well in Vesuvius volcanic soils.  Volcanic soils usually impart a higher acidity to grapes grown in them.  Wines tend to be Fruity, citrus, tropical and sometimes spicy.
DOC: Irpinia, Sannio, Solopaco, Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio 

Biancolella- Likely to be of Greek origin, it find's it's purest expression on the island of Ischia off of the Bay of Naples. It usually produces light and fruity wines with hints of almonds.
DOC: Costa d'Amalfi, Campi Flegrei, Penisola Sorrentina

Forastera- Light and fresh, made to be drunk in it's youth.  Wines have notes of stone fruits, peach, apricot, sage, juniper and almonds.
DOC: Ischia

Verdeca – Probably of Greek origin and related to verdicchio, it was once used in making quality vermouths before it fell out of fashion.  The grape now shows it’s best in the region of Puglia as a varietal wine. Verdeca is used in Campania mainly as a blending grape. Wines range from neutral and herbal to aromatic and citrus driven.
DOC: Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio 

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Olivella/Sciascinoso - Very closely related to eachother and sometimes synonymous. Clusters and berries are large and make wines very colorful, fresh and made to be drunk within a year or so.
DOC: Sannio, Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio, Gragnano, Lettere

Pallagrello Nero- Indigenous to the Province of Caserta, which gets its name from the small, ball-like form of the grapes which come in small bunches.  One of the very few Varieties that have both a red and white species. The Rosso is of High quality, with good ageing capabilities, thick skinned but soft tannins.  Notes of blackberry, plum, and pepper.  
Terre Del Volturno IGT 

The grape variety Casavecchia, which means “old house” in Italian, is a genetic cousin of the grape Trebulanum—a variety that was widely consumed in ancient Rome. The grape all but disappeared after the fall of the empire and was rediscovered at the beginning of the last century. A single vine was discovered near an abandoned house in the Caserta area and the vine was so old, the arm span of one person was not enough to embrace its trunk. Cuttings from that “mother plant” gave a second wind to the variety and today it’s a popular choice among farmers. Casavecchia is appreciated for its inky tannic structure and intense blackberry and cherry bouquet that pairs with sweet meat like roasted pork.
*Terre del Principe, Casavecchia

Marsigliese- A lost variety, recuperated alone by the Di Meo Family of La Sibilla who produce the Marsiliano. (70% marsigliese 20% olivella 10% piedirosso)  The wine produced here tends to be dark ruby to purple, full bodied, with bold dark berry and cherry fruit and a touch of pepper and/or smoke.
*La Sibilla, Marsiliano

Piedirosso- Also known as Palombina (little dove), and on Ischia called Pere’e Pallummo (doves feet) in the local dialect. The names reference the three rust colored stems that resemble a doves feet. It produces wines deep ruby in color, med-full bodied, soft tannins with plum, cherry and wild berry fruit. Minerally and even salty characteristics sometimes can be attributed to the volcanic soils in which the grape thrives.
*Cantine Farro, Campi Flegrei

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Lacryma Christi di Vesuvio (Tears of Christ) 
Altitude: 200-350 Meters
Bianco- Permitted Grapes: Coda di Volpe bianca e/o Verdeca (min 80%), Falanghina e/o Greco (max 20%)
Notes: intense aromas, reminiscent of Vesuvian broom evergreens with fruit notes of very mature quince and yellow peaches.
Rosso- Permitted Grapes: Piedirosso e/o Sciascinoso (min 80%), Aglianico (max 20%)
Notes: firm body, fruity, and sometimes takes on herbal qualities

Campi Flegrei DOC
Winemaking here can be traced back to 700BC.
Rosso- Piedirosso
Bianco- Falanghina, Biancolella

Ischia DOC
Located on the Largest island off of the Bay of Naples, this DOC is best known for its fresh, subtly floral and approachable whites (Biancolella and Forestera) to pair with the local seafood of la cucina napoletana.  The vine heritage dates back to 700 BC, and In 1966 Ischia became Italy's 2nd DOC. Being a small island the vineyards are mainly planted on terraces. The altitude is around 180 Meters and the vines benefit from the cool sea breeze.  The soils here are well drained and volcanic (tufo verde or green tufa).

Terre Del Volturno IGT 
Located right outside of Caserta, IGT created in 1995, using both Pallagrello Nero and Bianco, Casavecchia and Aglianico.

Gragnano and Lettere DOC (Penisola Sorrentina)
(Main grapes: Sciascinoso, Aglianico, Piedirosso)
Gragnano and it's lesser known little brother Lettere make up subzones of the Penisola Sorrentina. They are easy drinking sparkling reds similar in style to some Lambrusco's.  As Lambrusco goes magically well with Salumi in Emilia Romagna, Gragnano and Lettere are made to be paired with simple Neapolitan cuisine such as a classic Pizza Margherita of Campania or even a Panuozzo if you are lucky...  Just ask Ms. Ambrosio.


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