Winefriend by David Way

Writing about the wines of Piemonte, Italy and France

Campania – introduction

Campania is one of the historic wine areas of Italy – the Romans prized the wine from Ager Falernum (now revived as Palermo) – for great fresco from Pompeii, see:   Roman fresco at Pompeii

No doubt their predecessors, the Samnites, could cook up a great brew or two.   As the map shows, they certainly had a grip of Southern Italy between the 6th and 4th centuries before Christ.


The world-famous classical sites (Pompeii, Herculaneum and much more) are matched by the heritage of ancient grape varieties with Greek and Roman names – Aglianico (a-yee-a-ni-co), the omnipresent red variety, of course, means ‘hellenic’ and then there is the rather obviously named white, Greco di Tufo, the Greco which grows on the volcanic rock.  By contrast, Falanghina, the second of the trio of exceptional white varieties, derives it name from the Latin word for a stake – you had to prop it up.   The third white, Fiano is mentioned by Pliny who says that it is loved by bees (apianus).  And there are plenty of other local grape varieties. Best other name is ‘Red foot’ (Piedirosso), thought to be relative of Refosco grown in Friuli in the north of Italy, and there are many more, some re-entering cultivation.

Our visit to Campania was in the last week of October.  In most of Italy, the harvest is long over by this stage and that’s certainly true of the whites here. But, as you can see, the Aglianico is late harvested (especially for the top wine, Taurasi).

This was an excellent week – creative and hospitable growers,  traditional wines from the local varieties and a tiny handful of top international style wines.   And of course great food,  the classical and local heritage, brilliant landscapes whether on the spectacular coast or the less well-known hills and mountains – much of the wine is grown between 200 and 600metres above sea level.   All in all an excellent week.  I hope that the posts convey something of this exceptional region.

Big, medium or small?  Numbers of bottles produced

Villa Diamante 10, 000
Contrade di Taurasi 20,000
Montevetrano 30, 000
Salvatore Molettieri 50, 000
Marisa Cuomo 97, 000
Di Prisco 100, 000
De Conciliis 150, 000
Di Meo* 500, 000
Mastroberardino 2, 400, 000
Feudi di San Gregorio 3, 900, 000
La Guardiense*
4, 000, 000

Source: Gambero Rosso 2009

* – not commented on in this blog but visited in 2017, full report here

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top