Campania Now! Part 1
I will be writing a few articles on my recent trip to Campania in Italy and you’ll be introduced to wineries and wines you have not heard about and most likely will never be exposed to unless you travel to Campania which is 225 kms south of Rome. However, you just never know what the LCBO will bring in!
In Campania there are some wines I have nibbled at the edge over the years and some wines I have never tried to my great chagrin. But I thought it best to strike quickly with Campanian wines you can get right now!
In the June 8th Vintages release there are a couple of Campanian wines you can access immediately without having to fly to Naples. By the way aside from wine and incredible food Naples offers so much for the tourist including Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii.
The wines made from Taurasi can be rich, dense and decadent. Hearty and robust if not sensual as my Campanian trip has taught me. But remember with all grapes there is a range of quality. You can have a wine made from any grape that is astounding but a different terroir and vineyard management can reduce a great wine into a good wine. This can be a great wine but so much under the radar only a few know its potential for excellence.
Taurasi is like any other wine as you have your top rated and your run of the mill so the key is to know your producer. This is easily said and done if you are living in Campania but much more difficult if you are exposed to a dribble of Taurasi as we are here in Ontario.
Taurasi is a silent Italian giant as when well made offers exceptional quality and ageability. It is a southern Italian red wine which rather speaks of a southern inferiority complex which undeservedly extends beyond wine in Italy. It is made from a minimum of 85% Aglianico. Taurasi is produced from 17 communes in the province of Avellino often known as “Irpinia”. The best Taurasi has the ability to age for 25-50 years. This Taurasi is 100% Aglianico.
So let us try the 2011 Taurasi from Borgodangelo. In colour black cherry bordering on purple.
Grown in volcanic soils and aged in oak for 18 months.
On the nose compact and powerful black cherry, fig, pomegranate and milk chocolate. On the palate moderate to high tannins that do not detract from the rich black fruit. This 2011 is a bit tight and could stand until 2016 before opening. I think it will reach its peak in 2025. A load of blackberry and black cherry on the palate in the meantime. This wine is meant for food. Rich tomato pasta made with San Marzano tomatoes with or without meat or with a Napoli pizza with artichokes, mushrooms, ham with mozzarella cheese with Parmesan cheese shavings baked in a wood burning oven of course.
If the wine develops along the lines of its nose run for cover. This is a winner.
My notes from my trip seem to be summarized that Taurasi is a massive and powerful wine that needs the lion taming whip of age to really purr like a kitten.
(Borgodangelo Taurasi 2011, DOCG Taurasi, Borgodangelo, Saint’AngeloAll’Esca, Italy, $25.95, 14%, 750 mL, LCBO # 096792, Set The Bar Rating 93/100).
Another Campanian wine you will find in the June 8th LCBO Vintages release is a wine called Falanghina and when made well it has elements of a Viognier and an Encruzado crossed with a Gewürztraminer. And lucky for us it is from Villa Matilde a well-respected producer of Falanghina.
It has a light gold colour. On the nose it has an aroma equally divided between honey, apricot, peaches and pineapple. It is an excellent sipping wine with notes of pineapple, mango and a subtle minerality. It is a dry wine but far from so many bone-dry whites without much in the way of personality. This could handle roast chicken or pork or even green Thai curry. It also would be an excellent match for a mushroom and asparagus risotto topped with ground roasted almonds.
I have had rich and almost decadent Falanghina’s but this Villa Matilde is not one of those and consequently a better match for food.
(Villa Matilde Rocca dei Leoni Falanghina 2017, IGT, Villa Matilde, Cellole, Italy, $19.95, 12.5%, 750 mL, LCBO # 631747, Set The Bar Rating 91/100).