Updated: Feb 22, 2018
Next will be the last blog on Campania, I will publish a Cheat Sheet on this gorgeous region. But before that I have to talk about two largely emerging grapes that are producing great wines. They are among the oldest indigenous grapes in Campania. Read again the " Red grapes of Campania" to refresh your memory.
Piedirosso is ubiquitous in the region, it is also called "Pier e Palumm" in the local dialect ( I don't expect you to pronounce it properly) or feet of pigeon due to the shape of the cluster. Most of the time it’s used in blends, usually with Aglianico, which it helps soften (much like Canaiolo Nero with Sangiovese), but many monovarietal wines exist too. An only partial list of DOC wines includes Ischia (both in the Ischia Rosso blend and the pure Ischia Per e Palummo), Campi Flegrei, Lacryma Christi, Penisola Sorrentina Rosso, Taburno Piedirosso, Sannio Piedirosso, and Sant’Agata dei Goti Piedirosso. In the last three especially, wines can be 100 percent Piedirosso. ***
Piedirosso wines are characterized by lower acidity and softer tannins than Aglianico wines, but they almost always show a green or herbal streak that in my opinion rarely goes missing even with very ripe grapes. In bad wines, the green note is very apparent and frankly weedy or vegetal: to my palate, unbearable. However, when Piedirosso ripens properly it yields a remarkably satisfying wine characterized by bright red-berry and floral aromas and flavors, complicated by obvious tar and herbal notes and a saline tang. It’s the floral element (geranium, lavender, and with age, violet) that sets the good wines apart from the bad ones (which aren’t floral, but vegetal). ***
One appellation to mention is the Vesuvio DOC.
Vesuvio DOC or Lacryma Christi
Although the Appellations Vesuvio DOC was relatively recently created (1983), the wines known as Lacryma Christi from Vesuvio has been around for centuries and are deeply rooted in the history of this place. These wines are quite popular locally but mostly abroad for their suggestive name.
However , recently, the most advanced growers and producers have committed to explore the undeniable potential that the Vesuvio wine growing region has to offer with its unique volcanic soils and "ideal" growing conditions.
Lacryma Christi wines can be Red or Whites. Right now we focus on the reds based mostly on Piedirosso grape with a minimum blend of Aglianico and Sciascinoso. There are also Rosato "Rose" wines, made from the same blending formulas.
One thing to remember , if you find a Vesuvio DOC wine without "Lacryma Christi" on the label, it is the same wine, made with the same blending formulas.
Piedirosso wines from Vesuvio are deeper in color with bigger bodies of the ones from other appellations, due to the perfect growing conditions.
Grape Variety: 100 % Piedirosso.
Production Area: from carefully selected vineyards of Vesuvio.
Winemaking: carefully selected grapes, maceration on the skins for around 10 days, fermentation a 25-28°C. Aged in French oak barrels for around 8 months.
Tasting Notes: dark ruby colour, it has a fruity aroma with hints of cherry, raspberry, blackcurrant and spicy overtones of minerals and cloves. Soft and elegant in the mouth with pleasant tones of red fruits, plums and hints of tobacco, coffee and ground pepper. ** From Terredora
Food Pairings: versatile wine, try with pastas, meat-based soups, roasted or boiled meats, lamb, or cheeses such as provolone.
Appreciated and famous all over the world, this deep ruby colored wine presents violet hues and fragrance reminiscent of violets and flowers of violets, which are accompanied by notes of liquorice and fine woods.
Food match: it is indicated when eating tasty dishes, elaborate red meats and seasoned cheeses.
Cost - $17-$20
Antonio Mastroberardino has been credit to resurrect this ancient wines, so I have to list his iconic wines.
Deep ruby red in color. On the nose notes of red cherry and prunes together with spices of black pepper and floral notes. The mouth show a velvety and fulfilling body with a perfect structure and softness . it is characterized by soft tannins. On the finish a a long and persistent one with a clear return of fruity flavors.
The cost of this wines are around $12-$15
You can also find a Piedirosso in the Costa D'Amalfi DOC wines blended with Scascinoso and Aglianico. So very similar blending formulas to the Lacryma Christi.
However the Piedirosso home would be the
Campi Flegrei DOC
Well, this is my Home Appellations, I actually live here as I write this words. The wines produced in this area ( particularly the ones from Pozzuoli ( where I have my Italian residence ) ) were mentioned by Pliny the Elder. They were still held in high regard in the Middle Ages as they were the favorites wines of the Kings of Anjou.
In this appellations you can find the 100% varietal of Piedirosso as they say in Italy " in Purezza". Here the best vineyards sites are reserved for Piedirosso. Piedirosso from Campi Flegrei should be juicy and floral without giving up texture: tannic enough to demand food, insistently fruity enough to accompany it. In Native Wine Grapes of Italy, D’Agata’s notes on the vinification of this storied grape: “effusive fruity and floral (can be green), bright red berry, complicated by obvious tar and herbal notes.” I compared this wine's poured self to its written versions. The result, like all well-taught lessons and all good wines, was a moment both transitory and enduring, an unforgettable taste of Campania long ago and now.
Here are some pictures of a Piedirosso vineyards near Lake of Averno the heart of the Campi Flegrei appellation.
the wines produced in these beautiful vineyards are:
This PIUedirosso Riserva, aged in oak for almost 2 years will be tasted shortly. It is made by a local producer which I will describe in detail in a future update of this blog.
Salvatore Martusciello is a small niche producer in Campi Flegrei. I prsonally met him and I enjoyed his hospitality. Its Piedirosso wine is a good example of his passion of resurrecting a family iconic wine producing company in the area. I have this wine and as I will personally taste it I will have my personal wine tasting notes, however by reading the ones available, I can say that the wines presents notes of red berries and cherry aromas, with a good structure and perfect balance of acidity and tannins If you are lucky enough to find it in US, it is definitely something to try.
*** Ian D'Agata The Native Wine Grapes of Italy