Located in southern Italy, Campania is best known for the wonderful city of Naples, the amazing Amalfi Coast and the island of Capri. Although these days the wines of Campania have been gaining increasingly popularity. Among the reds the most famous are the age worthy Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Taburno DOCG, both based on the grape Aglianico. For whites, we have two of the most important DOCGs Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo.
Campania has a long winemaking history and some of the wines were already illustrious in ancient Rome: particularly the Falerno, which has since relaunched with a modern version (vinified in white with a Falanghina base and in red with Aglianico or Primitivo).
In the past, Pompei was one of the more predominant wine-trading locations of Campania. With the end of the Roman Empire, the viticulture started its decline, which lasted up until to the Middle Ages, and it remains one of the darkest periods for the industry. The phylloxera arrived in Campania much later than elsewhere, but devastated the vineyards and then the shift towards quality was taken in the late ‘80s.
The positive influence of the location
Campania is an ideal growing area due to the Mediterranean climate, fertile lands, and mostly hilly and mountainous landscapes, which then border Basilicata and Molise. The vineyards located on the slopes benefit from the cooling influences and have the possibility to achieve a more complex flavour bouquet while preserving the natural acidity.
Do you know that Vesuvius is still active?
There is a broad range of soil elevating the wines. With Vesuvius among the last few active volcanoes in Europe, it provides the wines with impressive minerality, just try a Campi Flegrei DOC, Vesuvio DOC or even a Lacrima Christy wine. In the area of Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo and Taurasi the soils are based on limestone and clay. These characteristics provide good drainage which then give the wines an intensity of aromas and good aging potential.
Campania can be distinguished by even more areas: Casertano and its surrounding areas, and the splendid islands of Capri, Ischia, Irpinia, Benevento and Cilento. The wine heritage of Campania is abundant in native grapes, many of which were only rediscovered recently. Some of the more well-known white varieties are Asprinio, Biancolella, Coda di Volpe, Falanghina, Fiano, Forastera, Greco, Pallagrello Bianco with reds like Aglianico and Piedirosso.
An area of choice for Aglianico is Irpinia, province of Avellino, with Taurasi DOCG, the region’s signatures premium wine. Also known as the “Barolo of the South”, due to its concentration and complexity, elegance, fine-grained firm tannins and vibrant acidity, full of black cherry, leather, balsamic aromas, tobacco and liquorice that you can enjoy for more than 20+ years. Other interesting red wines from Aglianico are produced under the Taburno DOC, Sannio DOC or Falerno del Massico DOC.
The Piedirosso grape is grown in the Campania, Lazio and Puglia regions. It is known by the locals as 'Per 'e Palummu' and its origins go back to the Roman times as documented by the naturalist Plinius in his work' 'Naturalis Historiae'.
Dazzling aromatic white wines
The Greco di Tufo and the Fiano di Avellino are some of the most appreciated whites of Campania, appearing alongside the excellent Falanghina. A versatile variety which expresses flavours of apple and white peach with herbaceous notes when less ripe.
At the beginning the Greco’s cultivation was spread across Vesuvius' steep slopes. Seeing its potential of high qualities wines, locals began cultivating it in other areas in the province of Avellino, near the town of Tufo, which takes its name from Greco di Tufo. It is produced in 2 versions, dry and sparkling which in turn can be brut or extra-brut.
They are meant to be drunk young, while they boast fruity and floral flavours, though can sometimes develop layers of honey and toast with aging. It’s up to you at which stage you want to enjoy it, either way you’ll be met with a wonderful and expressive wine. Afterall, you can always buy more and “test” year after year.
Did you know that Tufo is also the name of a porous rock?
The rocks are porous with volcanic origin and are prevalent in the area. Though interesting, this has no connection with the appellations name. Fiano di Avellino DOCG is only to be used for dry wines and we recommend preparing yourself as you will be dazzled by these amazing wines. The variety has had a revival largely in thanks to the Mastroberardino family from the mid 20th century.
Depending on soil composition, the expression changes from wine to wine. However, most are best consumed young and fresh, made up of spring flowers and pear with some more straightforward and crisp then others. Only a small part of the production is allowed to be aged in oak.
Campania - the promise land of pizza
Campania is recognized worldwide for its Neapolitan love songs and delicious pizza. White campanian wines like Greco work perfectly with simple dishes with fresh Buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes and oregano, grilled fish, lemon and olive oil. A more aromatic, oily-textured white such as Fiano works with more savoury dishes like roasted chicken or grilled salmon. The reds from the area, with their inherent tannic structure, intense fruitiness and lively acidity are a match for all meats especially when cooked or grilled.
Traditional sweet dishes like pastiera, baba, sfogliatelle or zeppole are all well matched with the elegant Moscato di Baselice from Benevento made from dried grapes or with a Passito Sant'Agata de' Goti. A Falanghina based sweet wine, made with late harvested grapes.
Structured wines from Aglianico and fruity medium bodied reds from local grapes. Mineral, crisp and well-balanced whites.What are the most popular grape varieties in Campania?
Aglianico is the flagship red grape variety, but for sure you’ll also enjoy Piedirosso. And you definitely don’t want to miss the great whites of Campania: Greco, Fiano and Falanghina.What types of food works well with wines from Campania?
Light reds: pizza, soft cheeses, but also fried arancina. Full-bodied reds: grilled meats, parmigiana. Whites: marinated eel, mussels impepata or spaghetti with shrimps and mozzarella di bufala. Sweets: baba and sfogliatelle.