Di Karen Phillips

 (Dalla nostra inviata americana, ndr…)When you attend a wine fair, particularly one the magnitude of Vinitaly, you’ve gotta have a plan. It is impossible to get through the week if you don’t.. I was in search of something fresh…something to get me through the warm months of late spring and hot, dry summer… something from Campania.

Vinitaly gave me two ways to accomplish my mission.

One, I attended wine tasting one on ones with particular wineries that I was interested in such as Feudi di San Gregorio, Quintodecimo, Grotte Del Sole, and Mastroberadino.

Two, I attended several organized wine tastings. An organized wine tasting is pretty neat because they are based around a particular theme. You not only get to learn about the wine, but the territory and history of it as well. Finally, there is someone (a professional sommelier, journalist, or wine expert) who leads you through it. A mini-lesson if you will. Vinitaly was full of them. I attended three in particular that I would like to devote this blog to.

So here we go, in chronological order:

1) Bollicine-Made in Campania hosted by Paolo De Cristofaro (Gambero Rosso) and Antonio Del Franco (Ais Campania President). Location, Campania Felix wine tasting hall, Campania Pavillion. Date, 8 April, 1600 hrs. Ah.. a chance to try 5 bubblies from Campania and discuss with those in the know. Here we go…

Bollicine number 1. Fontanavecchia’s Principe Lotario Brut, Aglianico del Taburno, Metodo Classico. This offering ages for 30 months. Its from Torrecusco in Campania’s Benevento province, a fresh area, with chalky soil. Here we noticed a rosato color, limpid, brilliant. Aromas such as raspberry and other fresh pink friuts. Fragrant. Extreme freshness and Paolo even added that it is not a mordi e fuggi wine, a hit and run. It has a nice structure. Antonio Del Franco from Ais shared his suggestions for pairing this bollicine. He suggested pastas with vegetables, meats, and prosciutto.

Our next bubbly-Blow up a bollicine made with Fiano di Avellino from Villa Raiano, Metodo Classico. Paolo felt that this was more a wine than a prosecco. It maintains its freschezza, a stable acidity. This will be excellent paired with soft fresh cheeses.

Feudi di San Gregorio is up next with their Dubl (Greco di Tufo) 2006. Greco is a difficult grape to work with…this was fermented in legno and aged 30 months. Here we experience aromas such as green apples and citrus fruits. Antonio Del Franco advised a nice zuppa di patate with vegetables, a nice filo of extra virgin olive oil on top.

Next on the block was my favorite bollicine of the afternoon: Grotta del Sole’s Asprinio di Aversa Extra Brut…the only vintage blend in the bunch. Mela annurca was an aroma that stood out here. A nice dry bollicine easily paired with zucchini flowers stuffed with ricotta cheeese, lightly fried….(mmmm)

(getting a little hungry at this point…)

Up next, Cantine Astroni’s Astro Brut (Falanghina) Metodo Charmat. Floral fragrances, pear…easy to drink, delicate…a great aperitivo….

2) Piccolo è Bello: the rediscovered vines presented by Tommaso Luongo (Ais Napoli President). Location, vigna napoli, Campania Pavillion. Date, 8 April, 1700 hrs. Four wines were handpicked for this tasting. Notebook out, tape recorder set, I was ready…

The first wine was from Ischia, Forestera 2009 12 % from Pietratorcia. This is a young wine which gave off aromas such as thyme and lavender. As we tasted, Tommaso noted the flavors of fruit, those from pulpy yellow fruits such as peaches. Also a hint of almond.

Next up was a wine from Posillipo’s Azienda Agricola Varriale; Uva Rosa Rosato. This was a nice rosè with fresh floral and herb fragrances. It was pointed out to the group that this particular wine is made with a large variety of grapes to include Catalanesca, San Genella, Uva Rosa, Code di Volpe, Ceperella, and Aglianico…to name a few.

Third wine-one from Vesuvius-Cantine Olivella and their Katà 2009. Here the Catalenesca grape meets us with fruit aromas; melons nespole…florals

Last, but certainly not least, Flavesco Rosè, Piedirosso Extra Dry Az.Michele Romano (Metodo Charmat). We are in Vesuvius again, but this time with a prosecco. A nice balanced wine with nice strawberry aromas. My favorite of this wine tasting.

3) Ischia Whites, hosted by Tommaso Luongo. Location, vigna napoli, Campania Pavillion, 1400 hrs.
The best of Ischia…that due to a schedule mixup, I arrived a little late. Peccato, because I love Ischia and was really looking forward to this one…I did taste all four wines which I’ll mention here; Tenuta Frassitelli a Biancolella from Casa D’ambra 2009 was the first. Tenuta Giardini Arimei’s Biancolella 2008 next, which I’ll borrow the technical info from the web site.

Third, Lefkòs by Cenatiempo DOC. Biancolella, Forastera, and other white grapes make up this nice white wine from the isola verde. Nice delicate floral aromas…

Our fourth wine was a passito. Sygnum Epomeo Passito 2007 IGT from Cantine Antonio Mazzella. My favorite of this tasting. Tommaso suggested that this would be excellent paired with a Neapolitan pastiera or cheeses. Dense in the mouth ,then an immediate expansion. Flavors and aromas of dried fruit, citrus jams, apricots,and peaches…quite nice.

I enjoyed this journey in search of my perfect Campania white…but it ain’t over yet. Stay tuned to the next couple of blogs…