The Authentic Irpinia Wine Club Vol. 10 Tasting Notes
The Authentic Irpinia Wine Club brought to you with Schneider's of Capitol Hill
Easing into 2022
We’re easing into the new year with some of your favorites before we start exploring more of Irpinia and some of the surrounding areas. You’ll be on a grand tour of Irpinia with wines spanning nearly the entire territory, and one from just South in Cilento.
Winemaker Virtual Tasting Coming in March!
Want to meet the folks behind the Il Cancilliere “Giovianno”?? Of course you do. That’s why we’re putting together a special virtual tasting for club members. Stay tuned for more info!
Follow along on my Irpinia adventures on Instagram and Facebook!
Here’s a little more on the wines and wineries you’re meeting in this shipment.
Il Cancelliere: Gioviano, Montemarano
Il Cancelliere is located in the heart of Montemarano, in an area particularly well suited for the production of Taurasi. Their natural winemaking process is based on traditional Irpinia wine making techniques that Soccorso, the patriarch of this family, learned from his father, and these lessons serve as the foundation for all they do.
Perfectly balanced, structured, fruit forward with hints of cherry and strawberry, this Irpinia Aglianico is beautiful. It will open nicely during the hours and days after you first open the bottle, stored in a cool environment this bottle will be good for at least a week after opened. This will pair amazingly with a tomato based pasta or grilled meats. You can let this wine sit in your cellar for 10-15 years without losing anything from this wine. It’s a stunner. (Their 2006 version of this wine is stunning and one of my favorite bottles of wine.) Serve room temperature.
Fratelli Addimando: Campi Taurasini, Taurasi
These two brothers, Franco and Gianluigi, are continuing their family tradition of winemaking in vineyards range in age up to 100 years old with vines I can’t even touch overhead if I stand on my tippy toes.
When you first smell this Irpinia Aglianico wine you’re transported to a field of violets with a bright blue sky overhead. Your first taste will be full of red fruits and the delicate balance of tannins and acidity will have you reaching for another glass without even thinking about it. The grapes for this wine were grown on vines at least 7ft overhead, in the traditional “quadrata” format of Irpinia. The vines were trained to form squares high overhead so families could grow their farm crops below in the limited space they had under Irpinia’s feudal system. The Irpinia Aglianico tannins in this wine have been tamed in French Oak, but you won’t notice the traditional oak flavors in the wine as you would would some California reds. This pairs amazingly well with a cow’s milk cheese aged over a year. Serve room temperature.
Azienda Agricola Silvio Trama: Capotosta, Cilento
I got to know this small Cilento winery, about a 2 hour drive southeast from Irpinia, run by a father daughter team though my friends at Il Cancelliere. Like Irpinia, Cilento has a volcanic, mineral soil, but since they’re on the ocean, you’re going to notice a much higher degree of sapidity in the wines. This is their last vintage, so let’s raise another glass to their dedication to crafting quality wines!
“Capotosta” is dialect for hard headed in Cilento and Irpinia (a word I know well because I can’t tell you how many times my grandfather yelled this phrase when he was frustrated with my dad), and Lucia told me the native Cilento grapes that serve as the foundation for this wine are the full expression of this hard headedness. Yet, while the grapes may be difficult to grow, the wines they make are fantastic. This super fruit forward red will have notes of plums, followed by an explosion of strawberry and blueberry. It’s elegant to drink and will really open up after even just a few minutes in your glass. Serve just under room temperature.
Cantina Giardino: Sparkling Bianco, Ariano Irpino
Daniela and Antonio founded their Irpinia winery 20 years ago with an idea that wine could be made differently and better than those seeking mega production enterprises. Today their winery exists in 3 or 4 different small structures around Ariano Irpinia as they’ve expanded, and they’re crafting 24 or 25 unique wines every year. Their philosophy comes down to this: you can do anything you want, try anything, experiment, have fun, but at the end of the day, the wine has to be drinkable. It has to be enjoyable. I couldn't agree more.
This sparkling white wine is a delicious year round bottle with flavors of honey and apple balanced by the big acidity of the Greco grapes inside. Don’t be scared by the nose on this wine when you first open it - it’ll mellow within minutes. I love pairing this easy drinking bottle along with a favorite charcuterie, or a fresh cucumber and tomato salad sprinkled with oregano. Or just drink this all on it’s own. And don’t worry, the residual is natural and you can drink it without worry. Serve chilled.
Colli di Castelfranci: Rosie, Castelfranci
Sabino and his father, Gerardo, are the winemaking team at this family owned winery and they have been making wine in Irpinia for as long as anyone can remember, but with a twist. Sabino studied as a winemaker in France at the famous Chateau Margaux among other notable French wineries, and has brought that expertise back to Irpinia.
This Irpinia Aglianico rose is a perfect balance of acidity and fruit, namely, strawberries, and is a fantastic wine to drink all on it’s own or with your favorite snacks and even pizza. Don’t be surprised by the longevity of this wine...it’s still Irpinia Aglianico afterall. Serve chilled.
Antico Castello: “Mida” Greco di Tufo, San Mango Sul Calore
Brother and sister, Francesco and Chiara Romano, decided to remain in their beloved Irpinia and continue what their parents started: a new winery focused on the best of Irpinia. The family is dedicated to growing only the highest quality grapes to produce wines that are some of the best representation of Irpinian traditions.
This unique white wine was a bit of an experiment for Chiara and Francesco as they attempted to craft a wine from what was a disastrous winemaking year for most in Irpinia and across Italy, the 2014 vintage. This wine is made from 100% Greco grapes grown in a clay soil 400 meters above sea level. Harvested by hand in early October, these grapes then went through fermentation and maceration for 7 days. The wine was then aged in the steel tanks for 12 months in contact with the grape skins, then resting in bottle for 3 years before arriving on the market. You’ll instantly see a brilliant gold yellow color in the glass and note the intense and floral scent of citrus and green apple. This wine is fresh, with a great sapidity, well structured and persistent to taste. Serve chilled all on it’s own or amazing with oysters, young cheeses, or a plate of tomato based pasta.