Updated: Nov 23
The Authentic Irpinia Wine Club brought to you with Schneider's of Capitol Hill
Taste the Terroir
We promised you 18 bottles of wine before the year was up and we are delivering! Now that you’re all stocked up for the holidays, in one massive shipment, I’ll invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy this incredible display of just how much terroir can change the flavor of a grape.
I also threw in a mini-vertical tasting from a rising star young winemaker in the area, Fabio de Beaumont, to demonstrate the differences (temperature, rain, drought, etc) a vintage can make on wines made from the same grapes.
These wines were picked for you to have fun with, to drink with friends and family (okok, you can drink them all on your own if you don’t want to share! I won’t tell), and pair perfectly with the richness of traditional winter dishes in the states and additional pairing ideas for you below in the notes…
Wine club makes a perfect gift!
Want to give the gift of exclusive Italian wines to someone you know this year? Just click, add in their details, and you’ll be set. Send me a note to let me know you gifted the club and I’ll make sure you get a gift all of your own as well!
Here’s a little more on the wines and winemakers you’re meeting in this shipment. And as a reminder, the club features only small, family-run wineries working biologically. No chemicals are used in the vineyards or in the cantina so you can drink knowing you’re getting the best these fermented grapes have to offer.
Casebianche: Pashkà, 2018, Cilento
The name for this wine is the Napolitano dialect for Pasquale, one half of this dynamic winemaking duo. The other half, Betty, short for Elisabetta, works alongside Pasquale in the vineyards and the cantina surrounded by their 5 dogs and 4 cats. Like this team, the wine is 50/50 blend - but of Aglianico and Barbera grown on vines just a few kilometers from the salty sea waters of Cilento. Think of this wine like a Lambrusco of Cilento - but less bubbly, and full of red fruit flavors and just a hint of that salty sea goodness. Serve this wine slightly chilled with your favorite salumis, genuine parmigiano cheese, or a meat sauce pasta.
Casebianche: La Matta, 2020, Cilento
This amazing wine is 100% Fiano and is crafted by freezing a portion of the unfermented grape juice after 10 days of the grapes and skins all being together after the harvest. Once the rest of the grape juice goes through fermentation and is deemed ready to be drunk, Betty and Pasquale add back in the frozen unfermented grape juice to the wine, bottle, and let the bubble magic happen. You have to pay an insane amount of attention while making this wine, or the result will be a volcano when you open the bottle. This wine might have a bit of a distinct smell when you first open it, but don’t worry, that will fade as you enjoy each sip of the balanced sea salty goodness with an acidity that allows you to drink this wine with just about anything you can think of. Serve chilled alongside your favorite pizza or pasta - this wine is Duffy ride perfect.
Casebianche: Il Fric, 2020, Cilento
This sparkling Aglianico is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Dry, pink, salty bubbling goodness will convince you there’s no season for “pink wine” and that we should be drinking bottles like this all year round. The grape juice for this wine spends just a short amount of time in contact with the skins giving the wine the gorgeous color that will have you thinking about the pomegranates, strawberries, and more when you pop open this bottle. (Let me know what you find!). Serve chilled with your favorite charcuterie, a roasted chicken, or while watching a sunset on the beach.
Casebianche: Dellemore, 2018, Cilento
“This wine is totally drinkable. In fact, you should drink it every day.” - Pasquale. This 70% Aglianico, 15% Piedirosso, 15% Barbera blend spends 3 days in contact with the skins before heading to steel tanks to age for a year. 2018 was a very tough year, with rain pouring down in September, just in time to make the harvest a potential disaster. There were very few usable grapes when they were finally able to pick by hand, and they didn’t make their other red wine in 2018 because conditions were so difficult. But like most difficult vintages, the wine they did craft is absolutely divine - perfectly balanced with notes of red fruits and tea. You just want to keep drinking it as soon as you take your first sip. You can drink this wine on its own, with your favorite fresh Italian cheeses, or with your favorite fish. Serve just under room temperature.
Casebianche: Tondo, Cilento
A little history break: Casebianche was founded in 2000 and they started out selling their grapes to other winemakers. But once they saw how great the wines were that were being crafted from their grapes, they started experimenting with their own wines and produced their first vintage in 2007 and were a certified biological winery by 2009. Betty and Pasquale both studied architecture before they became full-time winemakers. Their red vines are 60% aglianico, 30% Barbera, and 10% piedirosso. Their clay soils were once upon a time FULLY immersed in ocean waters - the only place this occurs in all of Italy - and provides a totally unique terroir for their wines.
This one liter bottle you’re about to pop open is a mix of all the wine that didn’t get bottled and it’s freaking amazingly delicious. Serve just under room temperature.
Azienda Agricola Boccella: Taurasi, 2017, Castelfranci
Angela & Raffaele are crafting some of Irpinia’s best wines year in and year out as they work by hand as they work in the vineyards and in the cellar. They’re helped by Angela’s sister and Raffaele’s brother (who are also married!), extended family, and friends during the harvest season. Since their first vintage in 2005, this Taurasi has incredible aging potential - you could leave this wine in your cellar for 30 years without missing a beat thanks to the incredibly balanced tannins and acidity you’ll find in every bottle. Grown at 2100 feet on the steep slope of hillside, surrounded by forests and fruit and olive trees, this wine is the perfect accompaniment to your favorite grilled meats or vegetarian alternative. Open at least an hour (even better 2 hours if you can manage to wait that long) before serving and serve at cellar temperatures.
Azienda Agricola Boccella: Campi Taurasini, 2019, Castelfranci
This might be one of my favorite vintages of this red wine since 2007, which was named a top wine in Italy for that year. It’s bright, and just puts a smile on your face as you drink it. By no means is this an “easy” wine, it’s complex, full of flavors and aromas emblematic of Irpinia, but it definitely leads to a second, and third glass, and then before you know it, the bottle is gone. So before that happens, I’d recommend pairing this with a delicious porcini and red sauce pasta, or some delicious meatballs and serve this just under room temperature.
Azienda Agricola Boccella: Casefatte Fiano, 2020, Castelfranci
2019, 2020, and 2021 were incredible vintages for Irpinia grapes, and that’s on full display in this bottle of Fiano grown at about 2300 feet just a short walk from the Boccella home. A few days of the grape juice having contact with the skins of the grapes gives this wine its beautiful color and the pronounced aromas you’ll find in your glass. The wine aged in steel tanks before bottling right before the 2021 harvest and then spent another year in bottle before being loaded on a boat to head directly to your door. I love this wine with freshly sliced prosciutto or a slightly aged caciocavallo cheese. It pairs beautifully with your favorite roasted meats too - don’t be scared to try. Serve chilled.
Azienda Agricola Fabio de Beaumont: Barbera, 2017, Castelvetere sul Calore
Are you ready for a mini-vertical tasting? This wine and its 2018 counterpart are ready to display a brilliant lesson in how the various differences throughout a wine growing season can change a wine. These wines both come from 150+ year old vines (pre-phylloxera rareness!!), and were brought to Irpinia by Fabio’s French Aristocratic ancestors from Piemonte. SIDE NOTE: there were two periods of French rule in Naples, and Fabio’s family has been in Italy since the 1400s. They were named the Barons of Castelvetere sul Calore and other surrounding villages in the 1700s and they’ve maintained their family home there since. Back to these grapes - they were grown in the traditional “Pergola Avellinese” high overhead and trained to grow in a square shape. Vines were grown overhead to maximize land and grow other crops like eggplants, tomatoes, potatoes, zucchini, etc below the vines. You’ll notice the bright acidity of this wine, with hints of blueberry and cherry blossoms on the nose. Fabio wants you to know there’s tons of carruba, carob, in this wine as well. Pair this wine with your favorite charcuterie or a favorite grilled meat. Serve just below room temperature.
Azienda Agricola Fabio de Beaumont: Barbera, 2019, Castelvetere sul Calore
What a difference two years can make! While I’m a huge fan of the 2017, the 2019 Barbera is from a standout vintage. Grown on the same vines two years after the HOT 2017 vintage, 2019 was a much more balanced weather year providing rain and sun in a perfect combination to bring you an amazingly bright, full of violets and fresh red fruits wine. This wine just puts a huge smile on my face as it’s dancing among my tastebuds. 10% of this vintage spent time in old wood barrels and you could easily age this wine for 5-10 years without missing a beat, even up to 20 years in your cellar but who can wait that long to drink this great wine?? Hopefully, you’ve opened this wine alongside the 2017 version and you’re drinking with the recommendations above. It’s a perfect holiday wine to enjoy with friends and family.
Il Cancelliere: Taurasi 2016, Montemarano
This family-run winery only cultivates Aglianico grapes, which they turn into some of my favorite Irpinia red wines. These are big, bold, beautiful wines. If you don’t know Taurasi or Irpinia Aglianico yet, think Barolo or Cabernet Sauvignon but better. In fact, up in Piemonte, they’ve been fortifying Barolo wines with Aglianico grapes since before anyone can remember, so no surprise that if you like Barolo - you’re going to LOVE this family’s wines. The Taurasi is the big boss wine of the Aglianico grape - and you’re going to want to open this wine a few hours before drinking and you’re definitely going to want to get the grill out and put your favorite lamb, steak, or pork chop on the grill. Vegetarians get those cauliflower, tofu, or mushroom steaks prepped, because this wine is going to knock your socks off. Will be a perfect bottle for Thanksgiving dinners as well! Serve slightly below room temperature.
Il Cancelliere: Irpinia Aglianico 2018, Montemarano
Looking for something a little lighter than a Taurasi? Meet my friend Gioviano. This 2018 has something you can seek your teeth into without needing a full meal to bring out the best in the wine. A great charcuterie sampler and a sunset will be all you need for this fruit forward bottle. Serve a little cooler than room temperature. Also - you’ve had the wines from Il Cancelliere in a shipment throughout the club’s time. If you still have one, pull it out and do a fun vertical for your friends and family!
Il Cancelliere: Vendemmia Aglianico, 2019, Montemarano
2019 marks the start to an amazing 3 year run for Irpinia red and white wines, and this is showcased in this bottle of the “youngest” aglianico made by the Romano family. While this is by no means a light wine, it is the easiest drinking of the Il Cancelliere offerings. This is a perfect bottle to kick off your night or when you just want a glass for yourself. These aglianico wines will only get better with time. You could keep this bottle opened but with the cork and in the fridge for a week or so without a second thought. The Taurasi can go easily two weeks like this. So don’t feel pressure beyond how delicious the wine is to drink the whole bottle. Serve just below room temperature.
Cantina del Barone: Paone Fiano, 2019, Cesinali
I just recently tried one of Luigi’s wines from 2003 (literally he made it at 16 years old and hasn’t stopped since) and couldn’t get over how a 20 year old white wine could still be so fresh, vibrant, and delicious to drink. It went against everything I’d been taught about white wine, a fact that put a huge smile on Luigi’s face. He’s not here to please critics, or anyone else for that matter. He’s crafting wines that represent the best his Fiano grapes have to offer, he sees it as his duty not to interfere with nature, just as he and his family before him have been doing for generations. So open this bottle, or stash it in your cellar for the next 20 years. Either way, you’re going to love this wine with a tomato based pasta, a roasted chicken, or all on its own with some salami, crackers, and cheese. Serve chilled.
Cantina del Barone: Particella 928 Fiano, 2019, Cesinali
This is a white wine to convince all white wine haters they’ve been missing out. With the body and structure more commonly associated with a red wine, this incredibly crafted white wine is out of this world good. I personally can’t decide which of Luigi’s two Fianos I like more - it depends on which I drank last really. Ageworthy, bright, full of acidity and with notes of the hazelnuts that surround the vineyard, you won’t be upset about opening this bottle. Serve chilled and drink with just about anything you’re craving.
Cantine dell’Angelo: Torrefavale Greco di Tufo, 2019, Tufo
Angelo Muto’s family has been producing Greco wines, well, since forever. His Torrefavale vineyard is the oldest land where Greco grapes have been grown in Tufo, and that long history with this grape comes through clear as day in his wines. Bright, mineral, with a structure that seems unbreakable, these incredible wines will have you imagining you’re actually in Angelo’s 4x4 climbing nearly vertical up the hills into the clay limestone soils of the vineyard. These delicate grapes grow in tight bunches, and their thin skins allow for incredible colors, flavors, and smells to mature along with the grapes themselves. You’re not seeing things if you notice a slightly lime green hue to this wine either. Serve this wine chilled with fresh Italian cheeses, salumis, your favorite pasta, or roasted lamb. (bet you weren’t expecting that last one!)
Cantine dell’Angelo: Miniere Greco di Tufo, 2019, Tufo
Angelo’s other vineyard, Miniere, grows on top of Tufo’s abandoned sulfur mine, and the minerality of the chalky, clay, limestone soils is on full display in this elegant Greco wine. I’ve had a 15 year old version of this wine, and it beyond stands the test of time. You could put this in your cellar for as many as 20 years and expect to drink this to great fanfare. Future you would thank you, but I’m sure there’d be a big fight with right now you because this wine is so easy to enjoy. Served chilled and pair with cod or swordfish or with an aged Italian cheese of your choice. Or drink all on its own, you won’t be upset about it.
Cantine dell’Angelo: "del Nonno" Coda di Volpe, 2020, Tufo
While he's widely known for his Greco di Tufo, this Coda di Volpe from Angelo Muto was crafted from grapes planted by his grandfather before WWII. On the nose you smell the sun shining down on green hills of the late spring/early summer. You feel happy. You take a sip, and suddenly you want more. A lot more. If you can wait an hour to drink this wine, even 30 minutes, after opening, your future self will thank your past self as this wine blossoms into a Monet. Chill and pair this with fried anchovies. If that's not your thing, think of fried calamari or other similarly salty fried foods, but trust me on the anchovies. It won’t disappoint.