Wine Blog

Campania Makes You Dream Big About Amazing Wine

This article was first published back in 2020 on my blog, but then the website got hacked and I never got around to republish it. Here, it is again though. Happy reading!!

Campania is a region that can offer a bit of everything when it comes to wine territories or terroir. That is everything from wine production by the seaside in Cilento or on the Amalfi coast to vineyards in the middle of metropolitan chaos in Campi Flegrei and viticulture on altitude in the inland in Irpinia.

Volcanic soil is a common denominator in many of the areas.

Heroic viticulture is often a key concept in several areas whether it be on the slopes of Vesuvio, on the terraced vineyards on the Amalfi coast, or on altitude in Irpinia.

Campania is a region with four DOCGs where three of them really are produced in the Irpinia area.

  • Fiano di Avellino
  • Greco di Tufo
  • Aglianico del Taburno
  • Taurasi

I have been to Campania many times during the last few years, the last time earlier this year in May for Campania Stories. It is always a wine adventure and discovery.

May with #ItalianFWT

The theme this month, May 2020, is Campania and its wines in the Italian Food, Wine, and Travel (#ItalianFWT) group. I will be talking briefly about different wine areas in Campania but focus mainly on Boccella winery, Mila Vuolo, and Tenuta Macellaro.

More about wine from Campania…

There are so many amazing wines from Campania that make you dream big and that envelope your palate with the richness of the terroir, history, and culture of Campania.

Last year, I visited mainly three different areas: Cilento, Campi Flegrei, and Irpinia.

Many are the Campania wineries here that deserve their time in the limelight but I have decided to limit myself to talk mainly about three wineries in this article.

There are still so many awesome memories from last year to talk about such as…

learning about the history of Tufo while getting a tour of Cantine di Marzo of Ferrante di Somma…

…waking up and stepping out on the balcony built right into the rock on the seaside with a view of the entire Amalfi coast

…getting a full immersion into the history of Furore and the family history of Marisa Cuomo winery as well as a ride along the narrow Amalfi roads by night in the Tesla with Andrea Ferraioli…

…visiting the vineyards of San Salvatore 1988 in Paestum with a stunning view of the sea.

However, let us move on to talk about Cilento and Irpinia.

Raffaele Boccella – An Artisanal Winemaker in Irpinia

My encounter with Raffaele Boccella and his wife Angela and their wines has been via the Radici del sud event. I first tasted their wines some years ago, when I went to the Salone Day, i.e. the day when the tasting is open to the public.

They are an extremely friendly couple who passionately talk about their viticulture on altitude in Irpinia. This is an area in the inland of Campania with a microclimate all of its own.

Boccella winery is located in the Castelfranci locality, which is very close to Paternopoli. The area is surrounded by a lot of forest land which gives a certain herby or woodsy touch to the Aglianico wines.

The other year, I had the opportunity to get to know Raffaele a bit better during the Radici del sud press tour to Irpinia. We had a tasting with a group of Irpinia wine producers at the agritourism of Lello Montelaura right in Irpinia. (Read more about the history of Irpinia in Lello Montelaura’s article La viticoltura irpina, appunti sulla storia dell’ultimo quarto di secolo in Luciano Pignataro Blog.)

I have never visited their winery, not yet, but Raffaele and his wife told me that their vineyards are at about 600 m.a.s.l. and that their family has been dedicated to the cultivation of Aglianico grapes for many years.

I was really fascinated by their Rasott Irpinia Campi Taurasi DOC where I have tasted the 2015 and some other vintage. The 2015 vintage was a warm year so the Aglianico grapes ripened earlier giving rise to wines with rich notes of red fruit. (See more in my article Ciak Irpinia – A Territory of the Big Wine Rock Stars.)

Raffaele Boccella also produces the Casematte Fiano IGT and, their DOCG wine that is simply called Taurasi. These are wines from Campania that give a voice to the particular terroir of Irpinia. They should be on your list of wines to try.

Mila Vuolo – A Woman in Wine on the Outskirts of Salerno

Mila Vuolo is what you could call a woman who truly believes that her wines should do all the talking by themselves. Her wines are the ‘spokespersons’ of this small winery, so to say.

Mila does not believe either in using social media or in having a website. It is not easy to find much information about this artisanal winery unless you take a trip to Salerno to visit her directly.

Mila is a lovely woman that produces wines with great character and the wines do indeed speak their own language about the local Cilento territory. I met Mila for the first time about 5 years ago during a press tour where I visited her winery during Campania Stories. That first time, she was not there herself, rather it was a local wine shop owner and friend of Mila who drove us there, then I and Nerina di Nunzio were guided around by the cellar manager Armando Vicinanza.

Mila Vuolo is located on the hills just above Salerno where her father, who was a well-known local doctor, bought the estate for the whole family. The area is very well suited for vine growing and winemaking and it was thus Mila who decided she wanted to give it a try.

We are in an area where you have both the influence of Irpinia with a touch of volcanic soil, the microclimate of the Mount Picentini regional park, and the closeness to the sea.
Mila Vuolo winery comprises three hectares of vineyard and it is all organic even though they are not organically certified. She cultivates three grape varieties, two native grapes, and one international grape, namely Fiano, Aglianico, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

I was lucky to be able to taste Mila’s wines two times that year, the same vintages in two different periods. Her Aglianico Colli di Salerno IGT 2015 is a wine that has the fruity richness so typical of the warm 2015 vintage but it also has a more green and spicy, almost a bit raw side with green pepper. Or at least it had so early in 2019, but then already by the summer when I tasted it again, it had changed and become smoother.

There is also a bit earthy, or rather smokey or sulfurous side that might be the influence of the volcanic soil. On the palate, it is fresh and fruity with tannins that you are very aware of. A wine from Campania that makes itself heard and stands out.

Tenuta Macellaro – Re-evaluating a forgotten grape variety

Another of the ‘vignaioli’ that I met at the tasting organized at the winery of Mila Vuolo during the Radici del Sud tour in 2019, was Ciro Macellaro. His family winery is called Tenuta Macellaro and since 2010 he has invested in making the family farm into a production of quality wines.

It was his grandparents who started the farm in the 1950s. Back then they dealt with grape growing, olive oil production, as well as livestock. Today, they are focusing mainly on viticulture and olive oil production. They have six hectares of vineyard plots where they cultivate Fiano, Falanghina, Aglianico, Aglianicone, and Montepulciano.

The wine that spoke to me was their Quercus Colli di Salerno IGP, which is a monovarietal Aglianicone wine. Aglianicone is a grape native to Campania that is cultivated also in Basilicata, and for a long time, it was considered a subvariety to Aglianico. Then, there was a bit of a mix-up between the two subvarieties of Aglianicone itself. In the mid-19th century, researchers found one subvariety of Aglianicone grown in the Benevento area and another in the Caserta area. Aglianicone is very much cultivated especially in the Salerno area, in the Val Calore, where it in the past used to be referred to as Aglianico Bastardo.

Often in Campania, when cultivating Aglianico, Ian D’Agatha argues that it probably in many cases has been and is Aglianicone. There seems to often have been confusion regarding the identification of Aglianicone grapes. (See Ian D’Agatha, Native Wine Grapes of Italy, pp. 167-168.)

Aglianicone is a grape with a lower yield than Aglianico and with a higher acidity level. The body of the wines that Aglianicone produces seems to be almost the same as for Aglianico wines.

The Quercus Colli di Salerno IGP 2016 (I believe it was) is a great example of an Aglianicone wine with its nice acidity, fruit-forwardness, mainly red berries, a touch of herby as well as spicy notes, and softer tannins. It has been matured only in steel tanks. A very enjoyable wine that is a must to try.

Check out the following posts all live on Saturday, May 2nd:

Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Melanzane a Scarpone + Cantine Astroni Gragnano Penisola Sorrentina 2018

Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farmposts “Polpette and Terredora di Paolo Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso”

David at Cooking Chat shares “Salmon with Pesto and Orzo with Wine from Campania”

Pinny at  Chinese Food and Wine Pairings adds  “Campania’s Donnachiara Greco di Tufo Paired with Fish and Chips #ItalianFWT

Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “3 Wines from Campania’s Feudi Di San Gregorio paired with pizza and wild boar ragu”

Cindy at Grape Experiences writes “Exclusive to Campania: Coda di Volpe Bianco, the Tail of the Fox”

Linda at My Full Wine Glass posts “A Coda di Volpe wine from Campania’s protector of native grapes (#ItalianFWT)”

Jen at Vino Travels joins with “The Lacryma Christi wines of Vesuvio”

Terri at Our Good Life  “Chicken Pot Pie and A Beautiful Wine from Campania for a Spring Day”

Katarina at Grapevine Adventures muses “Campania Makes You Dream Big About Amazing Wine”

Nicole at Somm’s Table dishes on “Donnachiara Taurasi and Lamb Spezzatino”

Jeff at Food Wine Click! writes about “Vini Alois: Champions of Campania’s Native Grapes”

Rupal at Syrah Queen brings “NYC Somm Jordan Salcito Making A Splash With Campania Wines”

Lauren at The Swirling Dervish adds “Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo: White Wine from Campania’s Volcanic Arch”

Lynn from Savor the Harvest shares “Italy – Organic Wine and Rare Grapes In Campania #ItalianFWT”

and here at Avvinare “Taking Another Look At Falanghina from Campania

Katarina Andersson

Seen often at wine events streaming live, Katarina is a wine writer, wine educator, social media strategist, and translator. She is the founder of WinesOfItaly LiveStream. She has been a guest at The Cellar, hosted by Richard Glover, at Wine Two Five, a podcast hosted by Stephanie Davis and Valerie Caruso, and at the Twitter chat #WiningHourChat founded by Li Valentine.

2 thoughts on “Campania Makes You Dream Big About Amazing Wine”

  1. This article superbly captures the essence of Campania’s wine culture. The descriptions and ardour for the region’s wines truly make me dream huge about experiencing them firsthand! Thank you for sharing!

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