At the beginning of October, the Wine Media Guild presented the most complete tasting of the whole range of Campanian wines ever organized in the US. At its lunch meeting at Felidia Ristorante, members tasted 27 wines, representing most of the provincial appellations and almost the whole spectrum of Campanian grape varieties now in serious production – a long-overdue display of the amazing variety and quality of a region that rivals Italy’s most famous and highly reputed wines both red and white.
The event would not have been possible without the cooperation of numerous producers and the strenuous efforts of Miriade & Partners SRL, an Italian firm that every year organizes the two Campania Stories tastings that I have several times reported on (here, here, and here). While only two of the producers (Manuela Piancastelli of Terre del Principe and Ferrante di Somma of Cantine Di Marzo) were able to attend the WMG luncheon in person, the assembled wines spoke eloquently for all of them. Here’s the complete list of what we tasted:
La Rivolta. Falanghina del Sannio Taburno 2013
La Sibilla. Falanghina dei Campi Flegrei Cruna Delago 2012
Donnachiara. Irpinia Coda di Volpe 2013
Sorrentino. Coda di Volpe Pompeiano Natì 2011
Di Marzo. Greco di Tufo Franciscus 2013
I Favati. Fiano di Avellino Etichetta Nera 2013
Tenuta Sarno 1860. Fiano di Avellino Sarno 1860 2013
Picariello Ciro. Fiano di Avellino 2012
Villa Raiano. Fiano di Avellino Ventidue 2009
Feudi di San Gregorio. Irpinia Bianco Campanaro 2012
Terre del Principe. Fontanavigna – Pallagrello Bianco 2013
Tenuta San Francesco. Costa d’Amalfi Bianco Per Eva 2008
Cantine Marisa Cuomo. Costa d’Amalfi Fiorduva Furore Bianco 2012
Cantine Astroni. Tenuta Camaldoli 2011
Mastroberardino. Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso 2013
Masseria Felicia. Falerno del Massico Etichetta Bronzo 2006
Villa Matilde. Falerno del Massico Rosso Camarato 2006
La Guardiense. Aglianico Sannio Janare 2012
Mastroberardino. Redimore Irpinia Aglianico 2012
Antico Castello. Taurasi 2010
Contrade di Taurasi. Taurasi 2009
Tenuta Cavalier Pepe. Taurasi Opera Mia 2008
Tecce Luigi. Taurasi Poliphemo 2008
Terre del Principe. Centomoggia – Casavecchia 2010
Nanni Copé. Sabbie di Sopra il Bosco 2012
Vestini Campagnano. Pallagrello Nero 2011
Montevetrano. Montevetrano Colle di Salerno IGT 2011
While many of those names – producers or appellations – will be familiar to many of my readers, many more probably won’t. Take my word: that is a stunning array of top-flight wines, and all the attendees agreed that every single bottle showed well. The reactions I overheard during the tasting and the luncheon that followed – murmurs of pleasure and small exclamations of happy surprise – showed clearly that the quality of the wines was accurately perceived and deeply appreciated.
At the time, I was asked by several colleagues which wines were my favorites, and – frankly – in response I just dithered: I really couldn’t narrow it down to just a few. Nanni Cope’s Pallagrello nero? Terre del Principe’s Casavecchia? Tecce’s Taurasi? Contrade del Taurasi’s Taurasi? And that’s just the big reds. I may be an enthusiast, but I defy anyone to select just one of those wines as a favorite or best. Non è possible. I can tell you that I was very pleased several times that afternoon when colleagues whose knowledge and palates I greatly respect approached me glass in hand to say “This is a great wine!” I truthfully agreed every time.
But the coin has another side, and lest any reader think that a tasting like this for a group of professionals like this was a work of supererogation (I’ve been waiting a long time for a chance to use that word), I’ll report that I overheard one taster remark “I didn’t know that Campania even had white wines.” Needless to say, that person was quickly and strenuously corrected – but the remark itself indicates how little-known Campanian wine still is here in the US. I only hope that Campanian producers can manage to cooperate again, as they did so splendidly here, to put on more such displays in New York and other key US markets. Campania makes wonderful wines of every kind, from simply enjoyable sippers to true vins de garde, and wine lovers here need to know all of them better.