• Last week I wrote about Toscana. This week I want to discuss the Italian wine region of Campania.

     

    Campania

     

    Campania is very southern, in fact only Basilicata and Calabria are further south on the mainland. Lazio is to the northeast, Molise to the north and Puglia to the northwest.

    Again I’m just going to go over the DOCGs of the region. As of 2011 there are four:

    Side note: DOCGs do not necessarily represent the entirety of what is produced in the region, but rather the historically significant varietals that Italy wanted to remain a consistent representation of the area.

     

    Aglianico (ah-L’YEE’AH-nee-koh) del Taburno is the newest DOCG to earn its credentials (2011). It’s located to the north of the city of Benevento. They produce a rosso (red) Aglianico as well as a rosato (pink) which by law must contain a minimum of 85% Aglianico. The remainder must be a non-aromatic varietal. The rosso must be aged for 2 years, while the Riservas are aged for 3 years with 6 months in oak.

    Full bodied with aggressive tannins, these wines are made to lie down for a while. Usually they lean towards black currant and black cherry on the palate.

     

    Fiano di Avellino is a white wine designation that was inducted into the DOCG fraternity back in 2003. The wine is required to contain 85% Fiano with a choice of three for the remaining 15% (Coda di Volpe, Trebbiano Toscana and/or Greco).

    They characteristically have bright acidity with floral and tropical fruit aromatics. The palate is full with hints of hazelnut or almond in the finish.

     

    Greco di Tufo is also a white wine designation, and you can probably guess how much of what grape is required. Greco is the grape and our recurring theme of a minimum of 85% is required (it can be 100% if desired). The rest has to be Coda di Volpe. The DOCG title was given in 2003 to this region that is located in the center of Campania just north of Avellino.

    With hints of pear, lemon and toasted nuts, these wines are crisp with a bit of minerality.

     

    Taurasi is one of my personal favorite wine regions. With stricter aging rules Taurasi wines are typically beasts. Again, 85% Aglianico is required with 15% of a non-aromatic red from the region allowed. The wines need a minimum of 3 years age (1 year min in wood), and for the Riserva a minimum of 4 years age (18 months in wood).

    Big bold tannins and fruit give these wines age-ability. Prominent plum, dark cherry and raspberry notes are often comingling with hints of leather and smoke. I’ve had young Taurasi wines before, but I tend to prefer them with a decade or more under their belts.

     

    There is one producer in Campania that does a fabulous job pairing quality wine with a lower cost.

    Feudi di San Gregorio

    They produce a dynamite Greco di Tufo for around $20

     

    grecoditufo

     

    Winery tasting notes: The perfume is intense and persistent. One can recall in the nose clear sensations of fruit. For the taste, one immediately preceives the broad acidity and the spicy minerality, typical of a vine cultivated in Tufo. Immediately following, there are soft notes of balsamic.

    Food pairings: Drink with raw fish, bufala mozzarella and first courses of white meats.

     

    Their Fiano di Avellino is in the same ballpark

     

    fianodiavellino

     

    Winery tasting notes: The color is a definitive golden yellow with green reflections. There are sharp sensations of the Mediterranean: frehs flowers such as chamomile, yellow peach and candied orange. On the palate, there are typical notes of the softness of the vine that are supplemented by freshness and minrality.

    Food pairings: A white ideal for accompanying crustaceans, fish with sauces and grilled seafood.

     

    Last but most awesome, a Taurasi (entry level is around $35)

     

    taurasi

     

    Winery tasting notes: Brilliant ruby red with garnet reflections, fragrant perfumes of marascino cherry, cinnamon and nutmeg, vanilla and anise. The taste is full and balanced with sweet and soft tannins that confer a good aromatic persistence.

    Food pairings: An excellent wine for drinking with the finest roasted red meats and poultry, braised in Aglianico.