Ancient Wine from Campania- Falerno del Massico


For this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend,  #WinePW, Nicole at Somm’s Table invited us to write about wines from the ancient world.Thinking about what I wanted to add to the discussion, Falernian came to mind. It is the most famous wine that was drunk in Ancient Rome and truly became a cult wine.  Vinum Falernum was described by Pliny and in the poetry of Virgil, Martial, and Horace. It came from Campania and was made from a blend of grapes, certainly including Aglianico, Piedirosso and maybe even Falanghina or Greco. It was made on the hills of Mount Massico. Wine is still produced in the areas where this ancient wine was made. It was considered a cult wine and this piece by the Wine Spectator gives a lot more history about the wine than I am going to fit in my post today.  I am writing about a couple of wines that are produced in this area by Villa Matilde, Villa Matilde is a historic winery and is currently imported by Kobrand.

Roccamonfina  is an extinct volcano and this IGP wine come from  this area in the Alto Casertano which received its denomination in 1995. The wines are made from Aglianico, Piedirosso, and Primitivo for the reds and Falanghina is the prinicipal variety used in the whites.

I was first introduced to Villa Matilde at a Vinitaly tasting some years ago. I first wrote about them at the beginning of my indigenous grape variety series in 2009. I have met the members of the family during Vinitaly and they are all quite passionate about their wines and the history behind them. Apparently, their father set out to recreate wines that were drunk in antiquity, Falermum (in Latin), in the Monte Massico area.

In addition to the Falerno Bianco, made from Falanghina and the Falerno Rosso, made from Aglianico and Piedirosso, they make a host of really interesting, intense and opulent wines that I thoroughly enjoyed. The wine in the picture above Cecubo is made from 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso and is made without using sulfites. I also tried their Vigna Camarato pictured below, also a blend.Vigna Camarato

It was a beautiful and elegant wine with spice and fine tannins on the palate. I remember drinking it in the middle of Vinitaly and wishing I could be tasting it at dinner rather than at a stand. Despite that and the wait at their stand, the wines are well worth it.

For a pairing with these wines, I think Lamb would be perfect, right in time for Easter.

You are absolutely still welcome to join the fun, even if you haven’t already sent in your title. Simply join us by following the #WinePW tag on Twitter starting at 8:00 a.m. PT/ 11:00 a.m. ET this Saturday, April 11th. It’s always a fun time.

Be sure to also check out what my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers discovered on their journey with Ancient Wines!

  • Nicole from Somm’s Table will be sharing “An Armenian Feast with Friends Paired with Armenian Wines”
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla will be sharing “History on the Table – A Dish from the Hundred Years War Meets Wine from the Land of the Bible: Cassoulet + Tabor Adama Shiraz 2013”
  • Wendy of A Day on the Life on the Farm will be enjoying “Clams Tossed in Herbs and Spaghetti with a Santo Assyrtiko”
  • Terri of Our Good Life is taken with “Old World Charm: Tifosi Vino Bianco with Olives and Citrus”
  • David of Cooking Chat is “Tasting and Pairing Ancient World Wines”
  • Pinny of Chinese Food & Wine Pairings is making the case to “Drink Ancient Saperavi and Eat Modern Family Meals from Chinese Takeouts”
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass discovers “Agiorgitiko: Modern Greek Wine from an Ancient Land”
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator shares an “Ancient Wine for Modern Times: Slovenia’s Jarenincan and Calamari with Lemon Caper Sauce”
  • Cindy of Grape Experiences looks at “Aglianico – An Ancient Variety That Ages Well”
  • Susannah of Avvinare will be sipping an “Ancient Wine from Campania- Falerno del Massico”
  • Jane of Always Ravenous is talking about “Food and Wine in Ancient Greece”.


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