Don’t we all want to finally get away on a bit of holiday at this time of the year? That’s what me and my friend Susie did, we headed off on a mini-break to the beach last week. We went to the south of Italy, more precisely Santa Maria di Castellabate south of the Amalfi coast. This area became quite “famous” five years ago with the Italian film Benvenuti al Sud (Welcome to the south), which takes place in the small hillside town of Castellabate, just 10 minutes from the seaside villages Santa Maria di Castellabate and San Marco di Castellabate in the Cilento region.
The small hillside town, or better village, of Castellabate is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is indeed a very beautiful area with a slower daily rhytm where you can relax by the beach, enjoy seafood, do small trips by boat or explore the nearby Cilento national park. The wines of Cilento are also very interesting, even though perhaps less well known than in other parts of Campania. Here I will share some of our wonderful experiences of beach life, sun, seafood and wine with you. Read on to also discover how a stubborn cat robbed my breakfast…LOL!
Wine in Cilento
Did you know that the wine from southern Italy, such as Falerno, Greco, Faustiniano etc., were well known already during the era of Ancient Greece as well as the Roman period? The decline came with the fall of the Roman Empire. In fact, a large part of those grapes which are considered as indigenous nowadays, such as Aglianico, Greco, Fiano, Falanghina, Piedirosso and Biancolella, originally were imported from Greece.
(Aglianico from the producer Feudi di San Gregorio)
As we were in Santa Maria di Castellabate for a week, I will more specifically talk about the Fiano and the Falanghina produced in the area. The first evening, my friend Susie came and picked me up at the train station in Salerno and when we got to Santa Maria di Castellabate we went for dinner at one of the local restaurants, Bistro Belleville. With our mixed seafood salad we tried a bottle of Fiano, more precisely Kratos IGT Paestum Fiano from the local producer Luigi Maffini. The Maffini winery is family owned and started its activity in the 1970s, but they say that it was only with the wine Kratos in the mid-1990s that the winery established itself as a more goal oriented winery.
This wine, Kratos, is an IGT Paestum 100% Fiano white wine. Both the fermentation and the refining of the wine is carried out in stainless steel tanks. It is a white wine with a straw yellow hue, with aromas of exotic fruits and honey, and an elegant taste of dried apricot, almonds, and mint. You can feel an aftertaste of flowers.
Another Fiano wine…
Another wine we tasted one of the other evenings together with linguine agli scampi at the restaurant Perbacco, was Cumalè Cilento Fiano DOP 2014 from Azienda Agricola Casebianche. Also this wine is a 100% Fiano. However, its taste was very different from the fruity and sweet Kratos described earlier. Even though it also has aromas of flowers and fruit, they are not as exotic as in the Kratos. In Cumalè, you feel notes of hawthorne and broom at the nose, as well as fresh cut grass and local fruits. While tasting this wine, you can feel the salty presence of the sea and of citrus fruits. You also note a smoked undertone.
Enough of Fiano, let’s move on to a Falanghina
As we of course went out eating all evenings to be able to enjoy as much seafood as possible, we also had the opportunity to try out several local wines. So far we have only talked about the Fiano wines that are produced in the area. Now we are going to talk Falanghina. The evening in question I was enjoying grilled swordfish and Susie was having salted codfish on a bed of potato purée at the restaurant Lo Sparviero. We paired this with an IGP Falanghina Paestum 2013 from Azienda Agricola San Salvatore 1988. It is a wine with a straw yellow hue, with traces of green. The bouquet is very fruity with notes of apricot, apple, citrus fruits, etc. and an aftertaste of ananas and mango.
Lazy days at the beach sipping fruit cocktails
When not trying out fish restaurants and local wines, or going to a wine bar in Salerno listening to some cool friends singing blues and pop…
…we were hanging out on the beach at Lido Lo Scario trying to work a bit on our tans. Well for my part getting more red than tanned. 😉
The owners Adamo and Francesco Pisciottano are really nice and friendly, and they make you feel like at home at their lido. One of the mornings for breakfast we also made friends with their cat, ending up in a fight though about who would get to eat the croissant. The cat won!
We also often sipped on their yummy fruit cocktails, made of fresh fruit of the day and with a splash of alcohol. Of course you could also get them analcolic.
At one of our evenings out…
We had a great time and would definitely like to go back to Santa Maria di Castellabate another time to do a bit more sightseeing too. Have you been to the Cilento region? Have you tried any of the wines from this region? Please share your experiences with us all then.
Written by Katarina Andersson.