Wines of the South

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This page is about the Wines of the South. A few words about the wines of Campania Region in Southern Italy.

Campania is the region where I was Born and lived as a boy before immigrating to North America. I was born in a small town in the hills of Avellino Province in Alta Irpinia. As a boy, I remember my father and my uncle making wine at home from the grapes grown in the family farm.

Campania is extremely rich in vine varieties, (about 70),  and it is this characteristic that contributes to its different varieties of wines. In the fertile soil around Mt. Vesuvius, near Naples, we find Catalanesca, Suppezza, Castagnara, and Sabato. The grape variety from Caserta, include Pallagrello, and Casavecchia; Ripoli and Ginestra on the Amalfi Peninsula, just to name a few. The most common white varieties are: Asprinio Bianco or Asprinio di Aversa. It is an ancient grape and it ripens in the middle of September. The wine is light, acidic, and pleasant. It also produces a quality sparkling wine.

Biancalella: This grape variety is only found on the island of Ischia and on the bay of Naples. Its wine has a high alcohol content and is harmonious, with the right amount of body and an intense straw color.

Coda di Volpe Bianca: It has been cultivated since ancient times all over the region. Its wine has a good alcohol content. It is golden-yellow in color with a dry flavor and a pleasant aroma. Near Naples, it is one of the varieties used to make Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco DOC.

Falanghina: This is one of the ‘gret’ grape varieties of Campania.  It goes back to ancient times. It is a vigorous vine, the grapes germinates early in the season and ripens late. The acidic juice gives a wine with a dry but delicate and warming flavor.

Fiano: Fiano di Avellino DOCG: One of the two whites that enjoy DOCG status. The wine is straw-colored, with a pleasant fragrance. It is fresh, dry and harmonious. Often with an interesting after-taste. The grape is also used in making Cilento Bianco DOC and Sannio Fiano DOC.

Greco: This grape variety is found all over Campania by different names. The well-known wine made from it  is Greco di Tufo DOCG, near the ancient town of Tufo in the Province of Avellino., in Irpinia. It is also the main grape variety of Capri Bianco DOC, the single variety Taburno, Sant’Agata dei Goti DOC and Sannio Doc wine.

Other varieties are Malvasia Bianca di Candia, which is used to make Guardiolo Bianco DOC wine.

Moscanto Bianco: It is almost exclusively found in the Valle del Calore and it is used in making the sparkling and distilled Castel San Lorenzo DOC.

Among the great reds, ‘Aglianico grapes’ take center stage. It is indigenous to Campania. From it comes, the Taurasi DOCG wine. The only wine in the South to have reached such status. It was introduced by the ancient Greeks and cultivated by the Romans. It produces a quality wine that is aged three to four years. It is ideal for aging. It has a good alcohol content, with a bright garnet-red color and neutral and tannin flavors. The fragrance gains its subtlety with age.

Barbera: In Campania it is used in making Castel San Lorenzo DOC. The wine made of 100% Barbera grapes, has a good level of acidity and tannin and it get better with age.

Piedirosso: The wine has good alcohol content, with an intense ruby-red color, and is tannic, full-bodied and fragrant. With maturation and aging , it take a pleasant fragrance of violets. It is most common in the Province of Naples and it is used to make Campi Flegrei, Ischia, Capri, Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, Penisola Sorrentina DOC, Sannio, Taburno,Sant’Agata dei Goti eand Costa D’Amalfi DOC wines.

Primitivo: This grape ripens early, between the end of August and beginning of September. It produces an alcoholic, strong-colored and robust wine, with a sweetish flavor. It is used to make Falerno del Massiccio wine in the province of Caserta.

Sangiovese: It is the predominant in red and rose’ DOC wines. Like Solopaca, Guardiolo, Taburno, (only Red), and Cilento (only Rose’).

Uva di Troia: This grape variety was imported by ancient Greeks. Today it is cultivated mainly in Val Fortore,  the province of Benevento, where it is known as Sommarrello. This wine has a high alcohol content, an intense flavor and a deep purplish-red color.

Taurasi DOC is the only wine in Southern Italy to have reached this status. As mentioned earlier it is made of Aglianico grapes, which are grown in 17 municipalities in Irpinia, around the ancient town of Taurasia. The wine is an intense ruby-red color with rich orange glints with aging. It has an infusion of ethereal and a rather pleasant fragrance. It is a good candidate for aging. It goes well with roast red meats, game, and aged cheeses. It is also excellent to drink alone.

Daniele Matteo – Blogger/Wine Broker, May 25


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The Wines of Apulia, Basilicata and Calabria in Southern Italy.

Apulia or Puglia has 25 DOC zones, the most of any Southern Region. Red wines are generally derived from native Uva di Troia or Bombino Nero, as well as a good amount of Montepulciano and Sangiovese. White wines are dominated by the Verdeca variety plus Bianco d’Alessano,  Malvasia, Trebbiano and Bombino Bianco.

The leading zone of wine production in Northern Puglia is Castel del Monte, an appellation. This is well known all over the world.  It also produces fine rose’, along with full-bodied reds that improve with age. The DOC’s of Northern Apulia are mostly reds, such as Rosso Canosa, Rosso Barletta and Rosso di Cerignola.

In the areas of Locorotondo and Martina Franca, Whites are prevalent.  All over the region, experimentation is under way to grow international varieties such as Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon, among whites; Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec, Pinot Nero and Syrah, among the reds.

The Salento Peninsula in the South has long been known for its powerful inky Reds, from Primitivo, Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera grapes. Primitivo di Manduria is related to California’s Zinfandel.  Though Primitivo was once used as blending wine, in recent years it has developed class and style that stands well with its American counterpart. Salice Salentino stands out for its robust reds and refined rose’ renowned for its flowery flavor, that ranks with Italy’s finest!

Basilicata is a small mountainous region with three DOC’s: The classic red Aglianico del Vulture.  The most recent ones are Terra Dell’Alta Val d’Agri and Matera. The Aglianico vine, also the basis of Campania Taurasi, was brought to Basilicata by the Greeks in the 7th Century B.C.E. The slopes of the extinct volcano Mt. Vulture produce a robust, deeply colorful wine that improves with age on fine vintages, becoming increasingly refined and complex in flavors. Terra Dell’Alta Val d’Agri reds and roses are based on Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Matera uses a range of grapes in its six types of wines, including the reds Sangiovese, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon and Greco Bianco and Malvasia Bianca di Basilicata.

Calabria. The foot of Italy is home of two prominent grapes of Greek origin. Gaglioppo for reds and Greco for whites. Ciro’ is Calabria best known wine. It grows in the low hills along the Ionian Sea, between Sibari and Crotone.

Red wines made from same Gaglioppo grapes grown in higher altitudes are lighter in body and color. These are  similar to alpine reds from the north. In recent years Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc have also shown promise in Calabria. Greco Bianco is a rare sweet wine.  Mantonico di Bianco, a sherry-like Amber wine with hints of almonds and citrus in bouquet and flavor.  Salute!

-(c) Daniele Matteo, April 19


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Three Grape varieties from Campania in Southern Italy

The region of Campania  in Southern Italy has many native  grape varieties  – autoctone – from which great  DOCG/DOC wines are made. Among these  we find Aglianico for red Taurasi Docg and the white Fiano for Fiano di Avellino  and Greco for Greco di Tufo: both now Docg.
Aglianico GrapesOne of the best Italian native -autoctone – grape varieties, together with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo. It was introduced  by the ancient Greeks  or Hellenes and also called  Ellenico or Glianico.  It is found all over Southern Italy and the grapes have different  characteristics  depending on the location.  The yield is abundant but it is affected by the rainy period just before harvest, which can occur in the first ten days of  November.
The bunch is medium -size and quite compact and the grapes are regular spheres.  It produces a quality wine,  characterized by the richness of its extract and alcohol,  the  bright  garnet-red color and the neutral  and tannin flavor.
The  fragrance gains in  subtlety and aromatic complexity with aging.  Vilification  of this single variety or blended with other grapes produces  famous wines such as  Taurasi Docg, the only one from Southern Italy produced in 17 municipalities in Irpinia near Avellino. It is also used in making  Falerno del Massico Rosso DOC  and Cilento and  Galluccio DOC  wines.
The  Aglianico ” bitter ” is mainly cultivated in Sannio where it is the base for  Solopaca Aglianico, Aglianico di Taburno, Sant’Agata dei Goti, Sannio Aglianico and Guardiolo Aglianico, all DOC  wines.


Fiano Grapes – One of the great native grapes  – autoctone – of Campania  in Southern Italy and is used in making  the  well known  Fiano di Avellino  DOCG White wine.
The term “Fiano” derived from  “Apiana”, used by the  Romans to indicate grapes that attract bees due to their  sweetness.  Fiano  wine goes back centuries.  It was already well -known  in the  12th Century.  It is a vigorous  vine and it thieves in deep and fresh volcanic soil.
The bunch is small and close-knit; the grapes are rich with sweet juice. The wine is straw-colored with a pleasant fragrance.  The flavor is fresh, dry and  harmonious,  with  an interesting aftertaste. Besides  Fiano di Avellino  Docg , this grape variety is  also used in making  Cliento Bianco, and  Sannio Fiano both DOC.


Greco GrapesAs it’s name implies this grape variety has a great history and was introduced in Campania region by the Greeks two thousand years before Christ.  It is found thought the region with different names : Greco del Vesuvio, Greco della Torre, Greco di Tufo in the province of Avellino, Greco di Napoli etc. It germinates early but ripens late.
The  bunch is small or medium-sized  and usually  double. The wine is  golden -yellow  in color and has  an intense, distinctive  fragrance. The area where Greco di Tufo in cultivated covers only eight  municipalities in Irpinia near Avellino and the wine is DOCG. It is also the main grape variety used in producing  Capri Bianco and in the single variety Taburno, Sant’Agata dei Goti and Sannio, all DOC  wines.
Salute! Cheers!
(C) – Daniele Matteo. , Wine Editor. 2015.
 Cosmo making organic Wines.
 Cosimo making bio-dynamic and organic wines in Puglia, Italy
SLOW WINE-2016 NYC – Wines of the South
 Slow Wine -2016 (Wines of the South)
New York – On Feb. 3rd, 2016, the Commissioner of Italian Trade Agency (I. C. E.), Maurizio Forte held a Press Conference at the Highline Ballroom, in Chelsea, NYC, announcing the event much anticipated in America, the :
5th Edition to take place in New York City from Feb. 3-9, 2016. People could register at
The first event took place at the Highline Ballroom in Chelsea on Feb. 3, 2016. With Press Conference/Luncheon at Noon, followed by the Walk-around tasting event from 1-6 p.m.
The second event were to take place on Feb. 8-9, 2016. VINO-2016 at the Hilton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan.
The third event was  to take place at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea at 2:00 p.m hosted by TRE BICCHIIERI Gambero Rosso.
At the VINO-2016 Event at the Hilton there will be over 200 producers from key viticulture areas of Italy and will showcase over 1,000. Wines. There will be an exclusive area for producers seeking ti enter the U. S. Market for the first time, called: Meet and Greet Expo.
As for the final event, the TRE BICCHIIERI, Gambero Rosso, there will be 190 producers who will present their wines to qualifying members of the Trade and the Press. Maurizio Forte, the Commissioner announced that this year’s celebration of Italian wines falls under the robust Italian Extraordinary Taste Campaign launched by The Italian Trade Commission under the auspices of the Italian Ministry of Economic Development. The Campaign’s key U. S. Consumer message is: Buy Authentic Italian, Get More. It will target several large U. S. cities, such as : New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami.
I was able to attend the Press Conference and Tasting Event at the Highline Ballroom NYC and what follows are some of my impressions on what I sampled.
There were 73 Tables for SLOW WINE-2016 NYC. I was not able to sample all of them , but I tasted quite a few wines from different regions of Italy. Here, I report exclusively on wines of Southern Italy. First I want to state the Slow Wine philosophy by quoting from their Manual : Slow Wine Guide 2016. It states in part quote “Wine is the fruit of Mother Earth and that’s who we are returning to, to rediscover her, to touch her, to smell her. Only in this way can we learn to respect her and recognize the intimate bond that ties her to the bottle we are about to assess. We are giving you the tool… and we are confident that you will add the love and passion on this unrepeatable journey in search of Italian wines “. -Authors Giancarlo Gariglio and Fabio Giavedoni.
Let’s take a look at the wines from Campania.
Fontanavecchia. Station #5. – Falanghina del Sannio Taburno 2014. This white intensively fruity, blossomy and grassy. Beautifully balanced. Dry delicate and harmonious.
Taburno Falanghina Facetus 2008. It has exotic yellow flesh , dried fruits supported by sweet spices with a log finish.
Aglianico del Taburno 2011. -it is vibrant and dynamic. It is a wine that deserves an award. It is exclusively fruity , soft and velvety.
Aglianico del Taburno vigna Cataratte Riserva 2008. – it is intensely fruity with balsamic, spicy notes.
Good aging potential.
Basilicata. Cantine del Notaio Station # 70. – L’Atto 2013. This wine is fresh tasting and quaffable.
Aglianico del Vulture II Repertorio 2013. It is tangy and snappy with an enjoyable and pleasant finis.
Aglianico del Vulture la Firma 2012. It is opulent and to the nose aroma of black cherry. To the palate, a nice round freshness.
Aglianico del Vulture il Sigillo 2011. A very well made wine. It is gaining devotees everywhere.
Preliminare 2014. – A whitewine made with Aglianico grapes. Blended with other varieties. It is fresh and drinkable.
Puglia – Vallone. Station #47.
Vigna Castello 2011. – Negroamaro, susumaniello. It is satisfying generous. Slightly salty and Mediterranea.
Brindisi Rosato Vigna Flaminio Riserva 2011. Negroamaro and Montepulciano. Consistently pleasant to the palate. Very drinkable.
Graticciaia 2011. Negroamaro. Complex elegant and austere. One of the bedt of Puglia.
A wine of extreme elegance to drink now but also a great candidate for long term ageing.
Calabria.Tenute Ferrocinto. Stat. #4.
Magliocco Ferrocinto 2014. Magliocco grapes. It is fruity and medium-bodied.
Pollino Rosso 2014. Also Magliocco grapes. Greataroma. Pleasant to the palate. Smooth finish.
Pollino Bianco 2014. Montonico grapes. Very flowery to thr nose. Hints of citrus fruits and Apple.
Sicily. – Lombardo Vini. Stat. #48.
Catarratto 2014 . White wine with an elegant nose of citrus notes and a bit of sage. Followed by a fresh tangy long palate.
Nero d’Altura 2012. – Nero D’Avola. It offers typical scent of BlackBerry and geranium leaves on the nose. A soft fresh-tasting palate and a pleasant lingering finish.
Passo di Nero 2010. A successful attempt to make a ‘Passito’ with Sicily’s most successful grapes. It is soft with a flavor of raisins and dried fruits.
Tenuta di Castellaro. Station #49.
Isole Lipari. Messina.
They had superb range of wines.
Nero Ossidiana 2013. – corinto and Nero D’Avola. It has scent of black mulberry, Orange zest and tobacco. And a warm deep palate with just the right acidity.
Malvasia delle Lipari 2013. Intriguing hints of lavender and aromatic herbs.
Rosa Caolino 2014. Corinto Nero and Nero D’Avola. It is enchanting and delizioso! A dessert wine to die for!!!
Bianco Pomice 2013. Malvasia and Carricante. A masterpiece. Fresh-tasting. Tangy. Unadulterated minerals with undertones of hazelnut and a fragrant interminable to the palate.
I wanted to taste some wines from Sardinia but none were available.
This concludes my tasting notes of the Wines of the South.
(C)- 2016- Daniele Matteo Editor Of wine.

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