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Some of the Best Wines Campania Produces

Campanian Wines: Photo Robert K. Stephen

In my recent trip to the Campanian region of Italy I was on a media tour of wineries and some tourism sites. In these media trips often, you really don’t get the time to really evaluate the wine. I mean you’ll know if it is excellent, good or mundane. That comes from experience.

However I require as a minimum some 10 minutes to properly score a wine. I view matters as if the winemaker and his team have taken the time, effort and passion to produce a bottle of wine then it deserves a thorough review.

Campanian wines overall are great wines and they are flying under the radar for so many wine drinkers. Their names are exotic so you aren’t going to be in a comfort zone of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and many a wine drinker is happiest in a comfort zone. My philosophy is the opposite. Give me a wine I have never tried or very rarely tried and I’ll be happy as a pig in mud.

When I hear the Campanian wines named Piedirossa, Falanghina, Greco di Tufo, Fiano, Aglianico, Taurasi or Lacryma di Christi it’s almost as exciting as watching the Raptors take the 2019 NBA championship. So before I conclude this series of articles on Campanian wine and tourism I thought I would share with you a few of the best wines I tried outside of the wineries and restaurants I visited. These were wines I spent at least 10 minutes with and scored.

Photo: Robert K. Stephen

La Guardiense is a producer of 5 million bottles of wine a year. I tried a Janare Lùcchero 2015 DOP Aglianico. It had a red plum colour and a busy nose of black plum, black cherry, strawberry and a hint of dark chocolate. It had on the palate a rather distant rumble of black fruit particularly black cherry and blackberry. It had a bit of a burn on the finish. This is a really well-made wine and quite frankly if it could talk I think it would say that it doesn’t give a damn with fitting into a recognizable “international style of wine”. It kind of says keep your distance, respect and trust me and I’ll deliver and exceed your expectations with beef or venison. Quite frankly Aglianico doesn’t immediately fall into the “I love you bucket”. But you’ll need to try some from a variety of producers before you find a style you like. You must keep an eye on its acids as with some Aglianicos they seem just a tad high. I gave this a 92/100.

Campanian volcanic soil vineyard: Photo by Robert K. Stephen

I thought the 2018 Falanghina de Sannio DOC from Cantine Tora was very good. Cantine Tora produces 95,000 bottles of wine a year. In colour it is gold. On the nose pineapple, apricot, pear, honey and tangerine notes. On the palate melon, Matsu apple, pepper and chalk. Given the nose I would have though there would be a little more complexity on the palate but you have to love its immediate drinkability and it is far better than their Falanghina 2017 IGP. I would give this 92/100 rating.

The La Fortezza Peidirosso Sannio DOC 2018 is another winner. La Fortezza produces 800,000 bottles a year. It has a black cherry colour and a nose of black plum, blackberry and cherry liqueur. It is a smooth and seamless wine with mild tannins. Yes with pizza with a sauce made from tomatoes grown in Mount Vesuvius volcanic soil dynamite. I’ll give it a 93/100.

Cantine Tora ups its game with a 2015 Aglianico de Taburna DOCG 2015. The nose is black plum and black cherry. Well managed acidity which can sometimes be tricky with an Aglianico. Loads of rich black fruit and red plums with a bit of white pepper on the finish. Super accessible and friendly. A monstrous red wine. I give it a 94/100. Cantine Tora produces 95,000 bottles a year.

The Cantine Torelle IGT Aglianico Roccamonfina IGP 2015 from Eredi Emaneuele Guardascione is garnet coloured with loads of black fruit on the nose tinged with a tiny bit of egg salad sandwich. On the palate blackberry, black cherry, coffee and chocolate and given its acidity a monstrous wine. Bring out some eggplant simmered in volcanic tomato-based sauce. Eredi is a small producer producing 14,000 bottles a year. I would give this a 94/100.

The Rintocco Aglianico Beneventano IGP 2018 is black cherry in colour. An immediately welcoming nose of black cherry, blackberry and coconut. Again it just manages its acidity all mixed up in a rich black fruit dominated palate. A definite foody wine. Pizza please. I give this 94/100. The producer makes 12,000 bottles of wine a year. I’d give this a 94/100.

Vini Panacea makes a 2013 Taurasi Riserva DOCG with red pepper and red plum ion the nose. On the palate its acids are tamed to perfection and it is loaded with rich black cherry on the palate making it a massive powerful wine and its acidity demands rich tomato sauce. I’ll give this a 94/100.

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