Our last evening in Taurasi and in Campania offered the chance of either numerous Halloween parties (the mini-witches were very well behaved) or a dinner and tasting at the new wine bar, Vino e caffè. Theoretically a 8.30pm start, we were tipped off that 9.15 was more likely and in fact that gave plenty of time to admire the stash of bottles in the room which doubles as wine store and as meeting point for another great Italian passion, watching football on TV. Chatting to the young sommelier (all kitted up in traditional garb), he apologised for having no voice as he had been cheering Napoli on that afternoon in their epic victory against the mighty Juventus, the first victory in Turin for Napoli for 21 years.
The wines featured were from Filadoro, near Lapio, on the back road between Taurasi and Avellino. This is their first year as producers, though they have grown grapes for others for many years and will continue to do so. The growers had the biggest table, then there were a few tables for four scattered around and us. Two excellent courses came and went – pasta (Cicatielli) with squash and ricotta (and a wonderful creamy salsa of the squash on the side) and then chicken breasts rolled around prosciutto and mushrooms, very well and beautifully done. These courses were paired with the two Filadoro wines now on the market:
Fiano DOCG 2008 – pale gold (probably more mid straw in better light) with green tinges, initially a slightly neutral nose but then opened up, slightly leafy, nutty, satiny palate, good acidity, good+. Tasted again at Vinitaly 2010: a polished wine, showing a huge amount of development in the bottle in comparison with the 2009 which had been bottled for the wine fair but still needs time. Very good apple and pear notes on the palate, tightly held together, very good indeed. Awarded a ‘gran menzione’ at Vinitaly 2010.
Greco di Tufo DOCG 2008 – a deeper straw yellow with green tinges, excellent honey and acacia nose, racy but balanced in the mouth, medium persistence, very good
Filadoro can be proud of these debutants – and indeed they have a little entry in the Vini d’Italia 2010, giving them a highly creditable 16/20 and 14/20 respectively. Complimenti!
There was then what can only be called a long pause … the young lads on a nearby table first flitted back and forth between their food and Milan-Parma on the TV screen, then they were joined by a group of other giovanni, and started drinking the upcoming red wine … Getting up to photograph the bottles we fell into conversation with the growers’ table including a group of English speakers, Italians brought up in Coventry! Very friendly and obviously disappointed that we were going home the next day and couldn’t visit. Alla prossima volta!
Finally, the third course arrived, more an antipasto, beautiful prosciutto, cheese, salami, and a bowl of rich chickpea and meat … and the red wine accompanied by slightly tipsy renditions of old Queen favourites from the growers:
Aglianico Irpinia DOC 2008 – there will be Taurasi but we will have to wait until 2011 for that, but this is the junior version which you can sell after a year or so. The growers were nervous that this pre-release wine (due to be bottled in the winter) would not find favour, but they shouldn’t have worried: purple edge to a vibrant ruby colour, good depth of flavour, vibrant in the mouth too, with all that young acid and tannin, but real potential. Try in a year’s time. A silver medal winner as ‘Selezione del Sindaco 2010′ at the Citta’ del Vino event.
Taurasi DOCG 2008 was available to be tasted in its infancy at Vinitaly 2010 – it only has two more years to go before it will be released! Now it shows a good lively palate, lovely plum and red fruit, excellent potential.
The party began to break up at 12.30. We returned to our beautiful B&B (http://www.bbtaurasi.it/), with so many fresh sensations from Campania. It may be one of the oldest wine areas in the world but it is now the leading wine area of Southern Italy with a great mix of tradition and innovation. We can’t wait to return.
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