Amalfi coast (pic: Internet)
Hong Kong Italy Wine

Three must-know grapes from southern Italy

From “Nebbiolo of the South” to age-worthy Fiano, southern Italy’s Campania and Basilicata have more to offer than ancient ruins of mythical Pompeii and cerulean blue waters in Capri.

Greco

Greco (pic: Vino Joy News)
Greco (pic: Vino Joy News)

As its name implies, Greco originated in Greece and was brought to southern Italy by the Greeks around 600 B.C. 

And the region that has been a cut above others for crafting delicious Greco is Greco di Tufo DOCG in Campania, which 85% of the wine must be Greco. The grape thrived thanks to the volcanic soil and hilly vineyards that managed to bring cool breeze to help preserve acidity and aromas.

Greco di Tufo wines tend be deep and golden in colour, showing more vivid lemon than many white wines.

Though not overly aromatic, Greco di Tufo wines show flavors from citrus, white fruit to stone fruit, and top examples will have a distinctive mineral character and take on hints of smokiness, nuttiness and herbal flavours with age.

Representative producers: Feudi di San Gregorio. Di Meo, Cantine di Marzo and Mastroberardino.

Other than Aglianico, Fiano and Greco, there are more off-the-beaten-track grapes that are worth discovering such as Piedirosso and Falanghina.

The ancient, black-skinned red grape of Piedirosso was once planted all throughout Campania until the phylloxera crisis in 19th century. The grape nowadays found a new lease of life as some producers are blending it with Aglianico or in some cases for 100% single varietal bottling.

The very aromatic white wine grape Falanghina provided the basis for Falernian, the cult wine for ancient Romans. It is fresh, dry, aromatic and makes fragrant wines of real interest and ageing potential. Today, producers have revitalized the grape and uses it as the base for Falerno del Massico and Sannio DOC wines.

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