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.
Roman author and wine aficionado Pliny the Elder (AD 23/24 – 79), once opined that in Italy there are more grape varietals than sands on the beach.
The author should know because he’s the one who famously uttered “in vino veritas” and wrote arguably the first encyclopedia on Italian wine and classification, as well as what is fashionably known as “terroir” today in Natural History.
In Pompeii close to Naples, the capital of Campania, where Pliny dined and wined his way through life, three grape varietals are defining wines from Southern Italy and offer tastes, flavours and charms that are unrivalled from Nebbiolo in Piedmont or Sangiovese in Tuscany or the more generic international varietals.
It’s easy to see why southern Italy including Campania and Basilicata is making some of the most exciting wines in Italy today. Different from regions further north that have quickly embraced international varietals for financial returns, Campania and Basilicata are loyally dedicated to indigenous grapes that are as ancient as the majestic Pompeii.
The three indigenous grapes we are highlighting today are the powerhouse Aglianico, the age-worthy white grapes of Fiano and Greco. Most believe the trio can track their origin thousands of years ago to the Greeks when they brought vines to Campania and Basilicata. At the time, the bay of Naples and Pompeii are the center of a thriving wine trade thanks to their natural ports, centuries ahead of France’s Bordeaux.
Back then Campania for instance was home to some of the most famous wines of Italy, most famous of all being Falernian, the cult wine of its time, exalted by poets and intellectuals.
Here we take a closer look at the three under-discovered treasures, which will be highlighted at the upcoming Vino Condiviso on October 9 in Hong Kong.
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