Updated: Mar 29
The Authentic Irpinia Wine Club brought to you with Schneider's of Capitol Hill
Spotlight: It’s a family affair
Two brothers, father and son, and a seventh generation winemaker are all featured in this month's shipment. The best part about these winemakers, they’re not unusual for Irpinia where the vast majority of those making wines are continuing family traditions.
Can’t wait to hear what you think!
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Here’s a little more on the wines and wineries you’re meeting in this shipment.
These two brothers, Franco and Gianluigi, are continuing their family tradition of winemaking, and are one of only three wineries to produce a wine from the local rovello grape known in Taurasi dialect as Grecomusc’. Their vineyards range in age up to 100 years old and some of the vines I can’t even reach overhead if I stand on my tippy toes.
You’re the very first to ever drink their wines in America, and they couldn’t be happier about it!
Grecomusc’: (Pronouced: Greco-Moosh) Even though this is a crisp, dry white wine, you can’t help but look for bees when you first sniff your glass because the hints of honey just jump right out. These notes are perfectly balanced by the wine’s acidity, making this a pretty perfect wine for some great porch drinking. It’s perfect all on its own, or paired with just about any cheese you can think of, especially a young, fresh cheese. And if you have the willpower to leave this wine in your glass for about an hour, you’re going to get a ton of oregano. Not a joke. Franco likes to remind me this varietal is like a red in that it needs oxygen to reach its full potential.
Campi Taurasini: When you first smell this Irpinia Aglianico wine you’re transported to a field of violets with a bright blue sky overhead. The grapes for this wine were grown above head, in the traditional “quadrata” format where the vines were trained to form squares overhead so families could grow gardens below the vines in the limited space they had under Irpinia’s feudal system. The Irpinia Aglianico tannins in this wine have been tamed in French Oak that doesn’t overpower the centuries of winemaking traditions that form the foundation of this wine. This pairs amazingly well with a cow’s milk cheese aged over a year. Trust me, these two together and you’re going to be loving your life.
Colli di Castelfranci:
Sabino and his father, Gerardo, are the winemaking team at this winery in one of my favorite Taurasi zones. Like the other winemakers featured in this shipment, their family has 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 locals. He brings that expertise to Castelfranci, producing some outstanding wines. Fun fact: Sabino’s godfather is Raffelle Boccella of one of our other favorite Irpinia wineries, Azienda Agricola Boccella, just down the road.
Rosie: This Irpinia Aglianico rose is a perfect balance of acidity and fruit, namely, strawberries and is a fantastic summer 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.
Taurasi: Right off the bat, you’re going to notice the big red fruit smells jumping out of the glass. You’re going to want to let this wine sit for a few minutes to hour(s) after opening it as it’s going to open up beautifully the more time you let it breathe. It’s incredibly well made, and balanced. Once it opens, you’ll start to notice hints of smokiness and tobacco as well. I noted the harmony in this wine, and what will bring that out best is to drink this on a summer night with friends with bbq steak or hamburgers.
Luigi is a seventh generation winemaker from Melito Irpino and I was introduced to him by not only the famous Mario Carrabs, macelleria in Gesualdo, but by the DiPietro family from one of my favorite Irpinia restaurants, Antica Trattoria Di Pietro.
It’s a family affair with their winery built next to the family home where generations of Ruggiero’s have been living and growing grapes for centuries.
N’Sisto 2015 Irpinia Aglianico (Melito Irpino): In dialect, N’sisto is the word for “strong.” This Irpinia Aglianico wine was made without ever passing through wood barrels. It’s chock full of tannins balanced with a big acidity and hints of cherry you just can’t miss. This is easy drinking for anytime you want a red wine and pairs perfectly with fresh mozzarella and salumi. Salty foods are going to bring out amazing flavors.
Na’Stizza 2014 Campi Taurasini (Melito Irpino): Na’Stizza is dialect for “just a little.”
The first thing you’re going to notice about this deep purple Aglianico is the elegance of the wine. It’s like a ballroom dancer floating across the floor. This wine is perfectly balanced and the cherry notes are just a little more pronounced. The big tannins and acidity make it the perfect wine to pair with stuffed fried zucchini flowers, meatballs, or your favorite steak.