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Campania XI - Pallagrello Nero and Casavecchia di Pantaleone DOC

Updated: Feb 24, 2018

Welcome to the last blog for the Campania Region. It has been a month long journey among the most interesting new wines of Italy. The ones which are slowing conquering the big stages of the world acclaimed wines.

Before the end of the week I will compile a Cheat Sheet of the wines from Campania, for the people that are interested in the topic, but also they are not so interested by investing few minutes to read the blog in its details.

I am concluding this series on Campania with on of the most obscure grape, known only to the very experts ( I can see your smile, because after reading this you can claim that you know it). Until the turn of the 21st century this grape was completely unknown even to the state of the art books on the local wine making.

This is an introduction from Ian D'Agata - The Native Wine Grapes from Italy

"In 1995 there was not a single producer of a pure Pallagrello wine. Today there are more than a dozen good ones, and some of the wines rank with Italy’s best. Not coincidentally, as reported by the British wine magazine Decanter in May 2011, a panel tasting of southern Italian wines bestowed its top two awards on Pallagrello Nero wines, not wines made with the more famous Aglianico or Primitivo. Though these results were partly skewed because some of the best Aglianico producers were not represented, the Pallagrello wines were the only two of two hundred wines evaluated that scored five stars, or 18.5/ 20."

"The varieties have come back to national prominence thanks to the passion of Peppe Mancini and Alberto Barletta, who created the Vestini Campagnano estate and began production of Pallagrello Bianco and Nero wines in commercially significant numbers (and in the process also resurrected a third wine-worthy native, Casavecchia). The two friends have since parted ways, with Mancini setting up the Terre del Principe estate, another high-quality Pallagrello and Casavecchia wine producer. True Pallagrello Bianco and Pallagrello Nero are those grown in the province of Caserta"

The best wines exhibit aromas and flavors of red cherry, black currant, tobacco, black pepper, and blackberry jam typical of the variety; the wines are usually characterized by soft tannins and low levels of acidity. Some excellent IGT Terre del Volturno wines are made with Pallagrello Nero.

Casavecchia owes its name (“ old house”) to the discovery of a unknown centenary vine by a farmer, Prisco Scirocco, at the end of the nineteenth century, outside the ruins of an ancient Roman home near the town of Pontelatone, in northern Campania’s province of Caserta, Beppe Mancini (Terre del Proncipe) brought back to vinification.

Casavecchia only grows in the countryside north of Caserta, in the areas surrounding the towns of Castel di Sasso, Formicola, Liberi, and Pontelatone, but plantings are increasing. Its return from the brink of extinction, and the quality of its wines, have won it media attention and a slew of new admirers.

Initial results show Casavecchia to be particularly rich in anthocyanins and to be blessed with tannins that taste smooth and supple when properly ripe.

The aromas of delicate field herbs, bay leaf, rosemary, dried mushrooms,green peppercorns, and oregano are typical, though hard to find in many wines. However, it’s this delicate but discernible aromatic note that set Casavecchia wines apart from most other reds of Campania.

• Best Appellations: Casavecchia di Ponteleone

Terre Del Principe

Tasting notes: strong, scrumptious, deep-ruby wine. Mild, balmy hints on the nose, soon after having perceived a succession of flavours ranging from berry fruit to chocolate, through green pepper.. In the mouth this wine is balanced, rich, with elegant, extremely well-balanced tannins. It shows a very long lasting finish, slowly fading in a spicy aroma with traces of blackberry and bilberry.

Cost $30-$35

Cantine Alepa

I visited this winery in October 2017 , Paola, was extremely welcoming and showed us this beautiful small winery from the Hills around Caserta. From her Estate you could see the Taburno Mountain of the near Benevento region. She explained of how she replaced all Aglianico grape with the new Pallagrello Nero and Bianco grape. She believed that Pallagrello is the new emerging grape of Campania and eventually could replace the Aglianico and Piedirosso as the choice for Campania reds.

In Riccio Nero, Alepa presents a Pallagrello Nero Varietal , "in purezza".

This wine cost $12-$15. It is a fair representation of a Pallagrello wine. I will add my personal tasting notes once I will try it in the next few weeks.

This ends the Campania Blog series. These blogs are by no means completed , they are a live experience. So As I expand the personal experience with new visits a new wineries and taste new wines , I will enhance them.


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