Campania Unveiled was the theme of a winetasting and masterclass offered by IACCW, Italy-American Chamber of Commerce West. From the scenic landscapes of Southern Italy, Campania beckons us with its culinary delights and unique winemaking that has been around for centuries. From the exquisite coastlines of Amalfi, Naples, Pompeii, Positano, Salerno, and Sorrento to the inland regions like Benevento, one is captivated by its history, ruins, and cuisine. Join me as we take a journey with the wines from Campania.
The masterclass, Savoring Campania: Exploring Its Wine Heritage, took us on an adventure through some of the distinct varieties coming from this region. Two volcanos impact grape growing and the soils, Mount Vesuvius and Roccamonfina. These volcanoes enrich the soils, improving the quality of grapes and the produce from the area. They call the area the Happy Countryside because, quite frequently, there are two harvests per year due to the thriving agriculture. These volcanic soils are rich in nourishment, high mineral content, and offer good drainage.
Campania Wine Region
Campania features 15 DOCs, Denominazione di Origine Controllata, and 4 DOCGs, Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin. The DOCGs for white wines consist of Greco di Tufo DOCG and Fiano di Avellino DOCG, and the red wines include Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Taburno DOCG.
Wines from Campania
Wines from Campania exude complexity, structure, and uniqueness. They retain their freshness and acidity. The terroir is composed of 35% Mountains, 50% Hills, and 15% flat land. In the coastal areas, the soils contain limestone. The climate is Mediterranean.
The area was once part of the Greek Empire, so one finds some grapes of Greek origin like Greco and Aglianico.
The most important grapes of Campania are Fiano, Greco, and Aglianico, followed by Falanghina and Coda di Volpe, all white grapes except the Aglianico. Other red varieties produced in Campania include Piedirosso, Pallagrello Nero, Casavecchia, and Aleatico. Additional white grapes grown in the area include Biancolella, Asprinio, Pallagrello Bianco, and Forastera.
The first time I sampled wines from Campania occurred last year at a wine luncheon hosted by Sannio Consorzio Tutela Vini. The luncheon focused on Falanghina and Aglianico. Sannio is the largest appellation in Campania, located in the province of Benevento.
Wines of Campania Masterclass
The first wine sampled was Fontanavecchia Taburno Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2022. I found a fresh, well-integrated wine with aromas of lemon, grass, tropical melons, and stone fruit. On the palette, I tasted the wine’s salinity and minerality. I found this wine one of my favorites at the tasting.
Tenuta Vilagliano Irpinia DOP Columella Coda di Volpe 2022 represented a variety I never tasting. On the nose, I found a fresh wine with stone fruit aromas. The wine exhibits herbal nuances with stone fruit and green apple. The wine seems sharper. It is a food wine.
Canestrini Pallagrello Bianco IGT Terre del Volturno 2022: The grapes come from the Terre Del Volturno IGT. This wine is the biggest, fattest, and most dense of all wines sampled. Consider this wine a Campania Chardonnay with an oily quality. The grapes are harvested early. Find tomato leaf, mineral tones, wet rock, and herbaceousness that leads to golden apple and citrus flavors.
Canastrini Casavecchia IGT Terre del Volturno 2021 Castel Campagnano: I loved the rustic, savory spices and smokey aromas. These aromas found their way into the palate but also delivered a dry wine with strong structure. The grapes are harvested late and aged two years in French oak. This wine was another favorite of the tasting.
Winery owner Roberto Canastrini’s mother, an artist by trade, created the beautiful artwork on the labels. The label artwork is characterized by a tree of life or, in terms of wine, the vine of life.
Fontanavecchia Aglianico Del Taburno DOCG 2019: The DOCG is the smallest in Campania. I found the wine lighter with riper fruit
Tenuta Vitagliano Irpina DOP Martis Aglianico: This wine displayed smokey aromas, flavors, and hints of tomatoes.
Other wines from Campania Unveiled Event
Fontavecchia Greco 2022: I found a lovely fresh wine from the same producer in Sannio of Falanghina.
Tenuta Vitagliano Irpina DOP Caudio Sciascinoso, a dry wine
Cheese, Pasteries and Lemoncello
One could not walk away from the event without tasting the Pastiera, a ricotta-filled pie with the essence of orange. Another winner was the chocolate Panettone,
Have you ever had a fennel-flavored Limoncello? Piemme creates this milder version of Limoncello.
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received a hosted wine tasting to discover the wines from Campania by the Itay-America Chamber of Commerce West. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.