Terredora di Paolo
Terredora di Paolo is located in Campania in the province of Avellino. The winery and vineyards for years had been owned by the Mastroberardino family but in 1978 were split into two properties by the brothers Walter and Antonio, who separately continue to make highly respected wines. Terredora is owned by Walter Mastroberardino and his children Paolo, Lucio, and Daniela, who dedicated it to their mother Dora Mastroberardino. They own 200 hectares of vines on the sunny, windy hills of Irpinia not far from the Bay of Naples and Pompeii, some vineyards planted on the high sides of dormant volcanoes. The family devotes more than 50 percent of its production to the noble white wines of the region, Fiano, Greco, and Falanghina, originally planted by the Greeks in the Seventh Century B.C.E. Aglianico and Piedirosso are the equally ancient reds of the area. Less than 40 miles apart, Aglianico del Vultura and the Taurasi region both demonstrate the potential of the Aglianico grape for wines on par with Piemonte’s Nebbiolo and Toscana’s Sangiovese. In fact, Taurasi is called the “Barolo of the South.”
Rocco del Principe
Campanian husband and wife Aurelia Fabrizio and Ercole Zarrella have instantly commanded the attention of critics and consumers alike through the sheer breadth of aromatics, minerals and compelling nuances displayed in their substantial Fiano di Avellino. Their philosophy is a simple one. Low production in the vineyards means higher quality in the cellars. This principle informs all their decisions throughout production. They employ no chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Though their first, estate-bottled vintage was only in 2004, these experienced growers regularly taut the highest Tre Bicchieri award from wine guide “Gambero Rosso” for their stellar Fiano.
Towards the end of the 1970s, Giovanni Batista Cantele and his wife Teresa Manara transferred 30 years of experience in the wine world of northern Italy to the region of Puglia, and the Salento zone in particular, home to some of the most fascinating expressions of Greek varietals, which have grown there for 28 centuries. The Salento peninsula is the southernmost point of Puglia and extends for over one hundred kilometers between the Adriatic and Ionian seas. From the beginning, the objective was to develop the potential of the local, historic varieties of Primitivo and Negroamaro and to add the international varieties of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. During the 1980s, sons Augusto and Domenico took over from their parents. Their children Gianni, Paolo, Umberto, and Luisa now run the business. The Amativo, a blend of Primitivo and Negroamaro is the winery’s flagship wine and has won wine guide Gambero Rosso’s highest Tre Bicchierri multiple times.
Italian Wines of the Month
Cantele 2012 Salice Salentino Reserva
Salice Salentino is the name of a small community located to the north of Lecce in an area of vineyards and olive groves with scattered farmhouses and ancient watchtowers. A blend of 85% Negroamaro and 15% Malvasia Nera, this Riserva is full bodied with a deep ruby color and a complex bouquet. The flavor of ripe fruit is accented by notes of vanilla from six months of aging in French and American oak barrels. Serve at room temperature with grilled vegetables and red meats. The Salice Salentino Reserva won the Tre Bicchieri award from Gambero Rosso in 2009. Serve at cool room temperature.
Cantele 2013 Chardonnay
This wine is 100% Chardonnay from estate vineyards at Guaguano and Montemesola near Brindisi. Chardonnay arrived in Puglia 30 years ago to improve its sparkling wine production. Local growers foresaw its potential and began to experiment with making still wines. Twenty years ago, the Cantele family planted its first Chardonnay vines, and now the variety makes one of their most important varieties. Aged in stainless steel tanks, the wine has a pale yellow color, an intense bouquet of lily, magnolia, and ripe fruit that transfer to a balanced palate. Serve chilled as an aperitif and with seafood dishes and soft cheeses.
Cantele 2010 Amativo
This delicious wine is 40% Negroamaro and 60% Primitivo, which is known as Zinfandel in California. The name Amativo was coined by Giovanni Cantele with the idea that if the wine was to be a blend of the most historic grapes of Puglia, the name should also be a blend. The result was ama from Negroamaro and tivo from Primitivo. Aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, the wine has intense ruby color with mature red fruit and spice aromas, followed by a hint of vanilla. On the palate, the Amativo is rich and warm with finely textured tannins that contribute to a lively finish.
Terredora di Paolo 2010 Lacryma Christi Rosso
Lacryma Christi wines are made in white, red and rosé versions. Several charming legends surround the origins of the name Lacryma Christi, or “tears of Christ” in English, and how it was applied to the wines of Mount Vesuvius. The popular legend is that the Archangel Lucifer, cast from Heaven, desperately grabbed a piece of it with his fingernails as he fell and placed it on earth near the Gulf of Naples. Noticing the loss, the Lord wept, and where each of his tears fell, the first vines grew on earth. Aged for eight months in oak barrels, the Lacryma Christi shows aromas of cherry, raspberry, black currant, and spicy overtones with hints of minerals and cloves. The wine is soft and elegant and pairs with roasted poultry and lentil dishes.
Rocca del Principe 2012 Fiano di Avellino
This fresh, dry white wine sports an authentically mineral profile, spanning petrol and smokiness and reflecting citrus and balsamic. The wine shows nuances of pink grapefruit and basil, followed by a taut, elegant, multi-faceted palate with wafts of deep saltiness, underpinned by full structure that grows towards a long finish. This wine won Gambero Rosso’s highest Tre Bicchieri award in 2007, 2008, and 2010. Serve chilled.
Terredora di Paolo 2008 Taurasi Fatica Contadina
With points and praise from Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Antonio Galloni, Stephen Tanzer among others, the 2008 Taurasi Fatica Contadina was honored with Gambero Rosso’s highest Tre Bicchiere award this year. A blend of Aglianico, harvested from two Terredora Dipaolo vineyards, one in Lapio and the other in Montemiletto, this Taurasi was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels and another 12 months in oak casks. With intense color and a pronounced and complex nose, the wine exudes scents of black cherry, violet, tobacco, and mineral notes. The aromatic intensity incorporates itself into elegant sensations on the palate, perfectly balanced with smooth tannins and refreshing acid. Decant and serve at cool room temperature.
Rocca del Principe 2008 Taurasi
Aged for 30 months in oak barrels and casks, this well-regarded Taurasi shows a pronounced and complex bouquet with hints of cherry, spicy scents of violet and tobacco with a suggestion of minerality. With nice body on the palate and balanced tannins and acidity, the finish has characteristic hints of plum, ripe cherry, and black pepper. This beautiful Taurasi can be paired with all roasted meats, grilled lamb chops, game, and dishes with mushrooms, truffles, and mature cheeses. Decant and serve at cool room temperature.
Italian Region of the Month
The capital of Campania, Naples was founded by the Greeks, enlarged by the Romans, and subsequently invaded by the Normans, Hohenstaufen, French, and Spanish among others. Established by the Greeks in the 11th Century BCE, Naples was the earliest of a cluster of far flung settlements throughout southern Italy. Many important figures of the age, including Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Aeschylus lived in these settlements, and today some of the best ruins of the ancient Greek world can be found there. Along with mathematics, architecture, and drama, the ancient art of winemaking also flourished. Aglianico and Greco, vines that the Greeks introduced, are still highly prized. The Greek historian Herodotus called this part of Italy Oenotria, the land of wine. Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are among Italy’s most distinguished white wines, while Taurasi from Aglianico has been called the “Barolo of the South” because of its aging ability. Taurasi, Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Aglianico del Taburno are the four DOCG wines to date in the government system of laws that regulate wine production. There are 17 DOC areas and nine IGTs.