I’m sure I’ve already said this, but Campania has a special place in my heart: it’s where I came from, where my roots are.
It’s always an extreme pleasure going back, even if only virtually. I can see those small villages clinging to rocks of the Amalfi Coast, or climbing up between the inland hills and the mountains of Irpinia and Cilento. I can see the splendor of the Caserta Royal Palace, the churches of Napoli, and the chaotic life of the Spanish Quarters. I can smell the mossy scent of the tufa rocks, the food, and the lemon trees in blossom. I can almost even experience the landscape of the countryside with water buffaloes roaming and the rich black soil where the best tomatoes and vegetables grow. I can walk the ancient alleys of Pompei and Ercolano, peeking into the store fronts, taverns, and villas that have been frozen in time by the Vesuvio eruption in 79 AD. All this is here, in my mind’s eye.
I would like to take each of you around with me on this trip, but for now I can share my vision only in words, and in wine.
Some of you are already familiar with this month’s producers because we have featured them before. But I really love everything they make and can’t resist bringing you some of their wines that we have not carried before. If we can’t go to Campania, for now, I will bring Campania to you.
- Elio Longobardi, Wine Specialist
About the Winery: The story of I Favati wines starts at the beginning of the 1900’s, but only since the 1990s has this estate become one of the premiere wineries in Campania. In 1996, Rossana Petroziello left her safe job in a bank to join her husband Giancarlo and his brother Piersabino to run the 15 hectares of their property. Afterwards, she never looked back. She became part of this closely-knit family experience. The I Favati winery is located today in Cesinale, a town and surrounding hilly area in the heart of Irpinia, east of Naples, in the Avellino province. It is a land with a profound calling to the creation of quality wines. Irpinia’s unique, indigenous grape varieties make up all of I Favati’s vineyards, which benefit from a perfect combination of sun exposure and the right soil compound. Each year, the harvest is carefully supervised by brothers Piersabino and Giancarlo Favati, founders of the winery, and by Rosanna. The farming practice is sustainable, with minimal intervention in the vineyards and cellar.
About the Winemaking: The Fiano grapes are sourced from the Pietramara vineyard in Altripalda at over 420 m above sea level. Fermentation takes place at cool temperatures in order to preserve the fine fruit and mineral-laden character for which the grape is so famous. I Favati bottles two Fianos. The one you have in your hand comes from a small selection of grapes from vines planted at the highest points in the vineyard with the best exposure to the sun. These grapes are then macerated on the skins for as long as 36 hours, aged for several months on their lees, and bottled without any filtration. The results are wines of incredible depth, concentration and aging ability.
Tasting Notes: Poured in the glass it looks like liquid gold; rich, warm, glorious. A cornucopia of ripe fruits and flowers welcomes the nose. Notes of apricot, peach, mango, honey, saffron. The taste offers an exotic smoky note that underlines the fruitiness, but with a surprising lively mineral touch and good acidity, making the wine suitable for longevity. A real white wine for meditation!
About the Winery: I Cacciagalli is a young company that produces extremely expressive wines of their terroir of origin, in the northern land of Caserta, according to the respect for nature and love for the artisan tradition. The company is managed by Diana Lannaccone, a young agronomist, and her husband, Marco Basco, a passionate connoisseur of the wine world, and represents their brave way of life, driven by the dream of creating sincere and intense wines. Over time, their experience gained here in the cultivation of the vine and hazelnut, chestnut and olive trees, has become a valuable tradition to be passed down, accompanied by a pure passion for the world of wine and the desire to express their love for the land and the history. The environment around the farm is dominated by the Roccamonfina volcano, which is no longer active but which has affected the geology of the rich and mineral area, a fertile cradle perfect for vineyards. The territory is also crossed by the Volturno River, which gives other important nutrients. The result can be perceived in the fresh and mineral I Cacciagalli wines, whose grapes grow in the hot and dry days and have rest in the warm and windy nights. This is where Diana and Giovanni cultivate their 25 acres, six of which are vineyards. Every day they are learning how to respect the necessary equilibrium that exists between people and this land. The decision to leave nature in shaping the character of the wines has led the company to forge a solid philosophy, applying biodynamic principles and practices in vineyard. What is also significant is their use of terracotta amphorae for some of their wines. As a result of this, all the aromas are preserved unchanged.
About the Winemaking: Sphaeranera is made with 100% Pallagrello Nero, an indigenous grape varietal that grows specifically in this province. It was almost extinct until it was brought back to life by the end of the last century. The vineyards from where the fruit for this wine comes are at 200 meters (656 ft.) above sea level, on volcanic, limey-clayey soil. The harvest is done manually in the first decade of October. Fermentation with the use of wild yeasts. Vinification and ageing in amphora with long skin maceration. Wine is unfiltered and unfined.
Tasting Notes: Deep garnet color. Tobacco, cocoa, green spicy pepper, and wet terracotta with a balsamic accent are some of the olfactory sensations detected. Pleasantly fresh with young tannins that help to clean the palate. Chillable in hot days.