Campania is one of the most interesting Italian wine-growing regions, where history, culture, and wine have been mixed for thousands of years, well before the arrival of the Romans.
The main virtue of the wines of Campania is the territoriality. The Campania winemakers have made courageous choices and are committed to cultivating the great native vines of the region: a sumptuous red like Aglianico and three exquisite whites, i.e., Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Falanghina. We immediately mention the fourth vine, the emerging one, Coda di Volpe, already mentioned by Pliny, the Elder, but today is emerging from the mists of oblivion with more convincing bottles.
Because they are elegant, sincere, and are wines that need meticulous care and patience. Aglianico is a full-bodied, tannic wine that needs long (5-8 years). The whites need precise vinification and respect, primarily if produced unblended. And then the conditions of the territory: memorable and unique. The best wines must be made in the best spots, over the hills, reaching up to 600 meters, with volcanic soils that give the wines unique flavors, aromas, and depth.
In short, in Campania Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, or Bordeaux blends are not welcome. The winemakers are anchored to the territory, and this is an admirable choice, but this choice must be explained to the public. The wines must be sipped and discovered. If whites are always exquisite and drinkable, Aglianico is an angular, complex, tannic wine that needs good aging and refinement. It is not the classic aperitif wine but a fresco by Caravaggio, full of lights and shadows. Aglianico needs at least ten years of rest before becoming significant.
Areas of great interest have opposite characteristics. The most important and renowned is Irpinia, in the province of Avellino. A hilly border area, cut by the Apennines, caressed by the winds of two seas, where the temperature range and altitude create unique conditions for the production of wine.
And in fact, it is here that we have the three DOCG, the boozy trinity: Taurasi for Aglianico, Fiano di Avellino, and Greco di Tufo DOCG.
Bordering to the north, we find instead the area of Benevento, the Sannio, where the Aglianico del Taburno stands out for its elegance, which on these soils made of marl manages to acquire structure and delicate roundness.
On the opposite, we find the wines of Sorrento and Ischia coast. Two gems, small productions where the sea whispers wines, making them savory and sunny.
Ischia offers some rarer varieties such as Biancolella and Forastera, and thanks to the sea breath and the volcanic soils, the wines are crispy and sharp, underlined by intense scents.
Sorrento and Amalfi offer sapid, fragrant wines with excellent drinkability, based on Falanghina and Biancolella.
And then, going further south, we find Cilento, a coastal area with more significant production but still growing in quality, especially regarding Fiano, the area’s champion.
In the north, the area called Falerno del Massico is growing from Massico Mountain, where once again, the volcanic terroir of the volcano Roccamonfina characterizes the wines. Not only Aglianico and Falanghina, but we have plenty of Primitivo, which seems to be ideally at home in these lands.
That’s all, folks. These are the central and most appealing areas of production of Campania: let’s start uncorking some bottles!