Campania: land of ancient vineyards

Raffaele Rago

Our sommelier for Campania is Raffaele Rago

Raffaele is Sommelier A.I.S., he is working for over 15 years in the world of television communication. Wine is a passion that grows in his spare time.

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In all of regions of Italy the cultivation of wine is based on ancient traditions, but in nowhere but Campania do we find the actual vineyards almost completely intact. It was known in the times of the ancient Romans as "Campania Felix", Campania "felice" (happy), in virtue of the consistent production of wine, from which emerged the mythical white wine Falerno, one of the most enduring wines of that period. Campania, thanks to the loving care lavished on its vineyards, was able, through the centuries, to preserve both the traditions of cultivation and the actual vineyards themselves, direct heirs of a truly ancient patrimony. Three autoctonic vines distinguish themselves in particular: Aglianico, a red, in which the name is derived from "ellenico" (Latin for "Greek"), Greco (Greek) which produces both red and white grapes, derived from Greek origins as the name suggests, and finally Fiano, a white grape of Phoenician origins, the most ancient of all. Today these traditional varieties have been rediscovered by the remarkable abilities of the local winemakers who continue to place more and more emphasis on the quality of their production instead of quantity as they had in the past. Let's take a look at the principle zones.

The zone that produces the highest quality of wine in Campania is Avellino. A hilly region located in the area of the city of Avellino, it produces the first wine in Campania to receive the qualification of D.O.C.G.: Taurasi. Considered the Barolo of southern Italy, it is produced from the ancient autoctonic vine Aglianico, an intense ruby color bordering on pomegranate, and a characteristic ethereal bouquet. Two other wines grown in this zone that certainly merit attention are Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo, both white wines, and both derived from autoctonic vines of ancient origin in the vicinity of Avellino and Tufo.

Around the capital of Campania lies the zone of Napoli which also includes the islands of Ischia and Capri. Here the vineyards are a part of the incomparable beauty of the landscape: from the foothills of the volcano Vesuvius to the terraces above the sea in the peninsula of Sorrento, on to the stone walls of the island of Ischia, where the vineyards are paradoxically considered to be "di montagna" (mountain vineyards), it is an endless succesion of marvelous and unique vistas. The wines produced here are of a limited quantity but of the most ancient tradition, in which the names are taken from their place of origin, such as the D.O.C. wines from Vesuvio, Ischia and Capri.

Click on any zone to discover its wines