Ancient grapes and modern winemaking techniques are fueling Campania’s resurgence.
Campania – An Ancient Winegrowing Region on the Rise
Campania is one of the most beloved and visited regions in Italy, famed for its capital city of Naples, the ruins of Pompeii, and its breathtaking coastline of the Amalfi Coast. Aside from these world renowned attractions, Campania is also home to an abundance of indigenous grape varieties that have been farmed and cultivated since 800 BC. Wine production in Campania was once one of Italy’s most profitable industries, until the 1920s when phylloxera, war, and natural disasters caused a slump in demand. By the late 1970s, only three wineries were producing wines commercially in the entire region.
It wasn’t until the 1980s that Campanian wine began to make a dynamic comeback due to modern winemaking techniques paired with ancient grape varieties. Thanks to a few pioneering families such as Mastroberardino & Feudi di San Gregorio, who spearheaded this revival, Campanian wine is now back on the map for its unique flavors and complexity. And wine lovers from all over cannot get enough of it!
Mastroberardino & The Revival of Campania’s Indigenous Grapes
The Mastroberardino family has been growing grapes and producing wine in Campania for centuries, with their winemaking heritage dating back to the mid-18th century. The family’s legacy is led by Antonio Mastroberardino, who was the 9th generation of the winemaker line and brought great international fame to the winery.
Antonio not only had a passion for crafting exquisite wines, but he also wanted to preserve Campania’s rich winemaking tradition and revive its indigenous grape varieties. After returning from World War II, he worked tirelessly to restore the family estate and vineyards that had been ruined during the war. This commitment was key in his success as he purchased some of the finest vineyards in Campania and planted three nearly extinct ancient local varieties: Aglianico, Fiano, and Greco. During this time, many Italian winemakers chose to go against tradition by focusing on international grapes; however Antonio went against this grain in order to preserve the region’s native spirit.
This decision has shaped Campanian wine production ever since, as it inspired other producers to follow suit in preserving the region’s native grapes while still creating delicious wines that are both steeped in history and modernly-crafted. Thanks to the tenacious efforts made by Antonio more than 50 years ago, Campania is now renowned for its world-class wines that represent old-world charm paired with modern-day finesse.
Feudi Di San Gregorio – Rewriting the history of winemaking in Campania
In the mid-1980s, the ambitious husband and wife duo Enzo Ercolino and Mirella Capaldo looked to revolutionize winemaking in Campania with the founding of Feudi Di San Gregorio. This iconic winery has since become renowned for its modern approach to wine production, as well as its dedication to preserving and highlighting the unique terroir of this region and its indigenous grape varieties.
Today Feudi is the leading winery in Southern Italy, producing 3.5 million bottles annually from a total of 300 hectares of vineyards across Campania. Along with covering many of Campania’s appellations and varieties, Feudi stands out for consistently producing wines of an unparalleled quality – no matter the grape. From their beloved Serpico to their Fiano di Avellino, it’s easy to understand why people fall in love with wines from this esteemed winery.
Read on to discover 5 impressive Mastroberardino and Feudi di San Gregorio wines that beautifully showcase Campania’s ancient grapes.
Vintner Project Top Pick: Our favorite white wine from Campania
Fresh aromas of white peach, flowers, and chamomile are complemented by refreshing acidity and minerality on the palate. This is a beautiful white wine with depth. While I love the freshness of it now, this wine has the bones to age gracefully.
Vintner Project Top Pick: Our favorite red wine from Campania
Radici Taurasi is a gorgeous example of the Aglianico grape. It’s a well-structured and complex wine capable of aging 50+ years. At $61, while not inexpensive, this wine is a tremendous value on par with Barolos from Piedmont nearly twice the price.
Crowd Pleaser: A delicious & approachable wine everyone will enjoy
Notes of white flowers, and passion fruit with crisp minerality and mouth-watering acidity make this Falanghina a great wine to sip on its own. And, at around $20 , you won’t break the bank opening a bottle (or two) with friends on a Saturday night.
Also Great: Another unique white wine from Campania
Golden in color, this wine has aromas of apricot, peach, citrus fruits, and almonds, and subtle herbal notes. Medium in weight with great structure, the acidity is bright and leaves you wanting more. A perfect match for raw fish, Nova Serra Greco di Tufo is my new go-to sushi pairing.
The Splurge: Wine priced $75+
Feudi Di San Gregorio’s best-known wine, Serpico, is a varietal Aglianico wine made from 150 year-old vines from the historic “Dal Re” vineyard.
Ruby Red in color, this wine has aromas of cherry jam, sweet spices, coffee, and dark chocolate. It’s a beautifully balanced wine that is approachable upon release but will be enjoyable for years to come. This is Aglianico at its finest.
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