Campania Stories 2018: Wines from the Alto Casertano- Falerno del Massico DOP & Galluccio DOP

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The breadth of viticultural offerings in Campania was staggering to me. I thought that I had a good idea about what was available but I discovered many DOP and IGP wines that I had not heard of previously. One that I knew was Falerno del Massico which was one of the first wines ever given a denomination. The area that uses this DOP is around the Massico Mountain and has calcareous and volcanic soils. Generally Aglianico and Piedirosso are grown here. But they also have notable plantings of Primitivo for the reds and for the whites, Falanghina.

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We tried a couple of examples of these wines including ones from Collefasani, a winery with six hectares of vines and Danilo Trabuco as their oenologist. I liked the Falerno del Massico Prometeo 2016 made with 100% Aglianico on volcanic-Tufa soils. The wine spends time in stainless steel, barriques and in the bottle.

We also tried their Primitivo Lapilli 2015 made with 100% Primitivo. It spends 12 months in stainless steel and 6 in the bottle before release. It had wonderful minerality, juicy tannins and sweet spice notes but it wasn’t over the top. Often I have a had time with primitivo but this one hit the spot.

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We also tried wines from Trabuco, in particular il 16 Marzo which is a Falerno del Massico Bianco made with 100% Falanghina. Their soils have tufa and fossils which lends itself to a mineral driven Falanghina. It was quite creamy as well as a result of the six months it spends sur lie. Falanghina can make wines in many different styles. Trabuco is the oenologist for many wineries in the area as was his father before him.

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The wineries that I know best from this area are Galardi and Villamatilde. This last was not part of this particular evening but Galardi’s wonderful Terre di Lavoro wines were. I fell in love with these wines some years ago when I first was introduced to them during a Wine Spectator tasting where I was a translator.

Made with 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso on volcanic soils, the wines are a beautiful and elegant expression of these grapes. Very refined and well balanced, they are made by Riccardo Cotarella. The wines ferment in stainless steel and age in barrique for 12 months and then in the bottle. A lovely wine from this producer who started in 1991 and has 10 hectares. We tried the 2011 and the 2008 that evening at Sclavia and the 2008 was marvelous.

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We also tried wines from the Galluccio DOP from Poderi Foglia, a property owned by the Vestini-Campagnano winery. I had never even heard of the denomination which was created in 1997. The area has volcanic soils and the vineyards are located from about 100 to 300 meters above sea level near the spent Roccamonfina volcano. They grow mostly Aglianico and Piedirosso for the reds and Falanghina for the white wines.

This Poderi Foglia wine is made with Aglianico and Pallagrello Nero, a specialty of this winery. It ages in barriques. It was a very intriguing wine with multiple layers of aromas and flavors and a balanced finish. I like their use of Pallagrello and the minerality that I believe comes from the volcanic soils.

Altogether a wonderful introduction to wines from the Caserta province of Campania. Tomorrow, I will write about another province, the Sannio.

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