The achievements of Campania’s modern wine revolution are striking. Grapes such as Fiano, Greco, Falanghina and Aglianico are now undeniably part of the Italian wine establishment, acknowledged and admired for their ability to produce premium quality wines. There is also a rapidly growing movement of producers seeking to preserve the hundreds of ancient varieties that can still be found planted throughout the region’s different terroirs. The red Piedirosso is highly regarded, but the white coastal varieties of Biancolella, Forastera and Ginestra are gaining ground as well. Likewise, both Pallagrello Bianco and Nero grown in Volturno are showing promise, as is the very exciting Casavecchia.
Red grape variety grown in the South of Italy, particularly in Campania but also in small amounts in Basilicata.
Barbera is one of Italy’s iconic and most planted red grape varieties. It is predominantly found in Piedmont around the town’s of Asti and Alba. It generally produces medium to full bodied wines with high levels of acidity and lots of black fruit flavours. One of the best examples in Italy come from the newly created Nizza DOCG.
Prevalent across most of the world’s wine-producing regions and with an unequalled 340,000 hectares worldwide, Cabernet Sauvignon produces full bodied, tannic wines with excellent ageing potential.
Casavecchia is a rare red grape variety grown in Campania. It is used mainly in the Casavecchia di Pontelatone DOC. Some producers such as Alois choose to age it in wood before release.
Guarnaccia Nera is a red grape variety grown on the island of Ischia. It could well be the same grape variety as Perricone.
With 266,000 hectares worldwide, the dark skinned variety Merlot is the second most planted wine-making grape on the planet. Taking its name from the French word ‘Merle’ - meaning blackbird, it is popular both as a varietal and in blends, and is principally known for its role in the red wines of Bordeaux.
Olivella is a rare red grape variety grown in coastal vineyards in Campania. It is often blended with Aglianico, Piedirosso and Marsigliese.
Pallagrello Nero is a little known but ancient dark skinned grape variety grown in the Campania region of southern Italy. Despite its obscurity it is considered a high potential grape variety by the handful of growers that cultivate it.
Piedirosso is a thick skinned grape variety from the South of Italy. It is becoming increasingly fashionable with young wine makers around Naples and the wider Campania area.
Pinot Nero is the Italian name for Pinot Noir. It’s grown mainly in the north of Italy and used in sparkling wines such as Franciacorta.
Primitivo is a thick skinned grape variety grown predominantly in Puglia, where it finds its best expressions around the towns of Gioia del Colle and Manduria. It produces full bodied red wines capable of ageing. It is the same variety as Zinfandel in the USA although the wines are generally very different. In Croatia it is known as Crljenak Kastelanski.
Sangiovese is the key red grape variety found in Tuscany and central Italy. It is capable of producing outstanding wines and is the star of numerous premium wine appellations in the region. It is also cultivated across the world in an attempt to emulate its Tuscan success.
Syrah is a dark skinned grape variety most synonymous with the French Rhône Valley region but now grown all over the wine producing world. Referred to by the alias, Shiraz, in Australia and South Africa, the Syrah grape is used to produce rich, full bodied wines with a distinctly dark hue and fruit flavour profile.
Asprinio Bianco or Asprinio for short is a white grape variety grown in Campania. It is known for its high acidity and ability to produce sparkling wines. Generally they are simple, uncomplicated wines.
Neapolitan variety also found on nearby islands such as Ischia. Casa d’Ambra produce one of the most accessible examples.
Caprettone is a white grape variety found in Campania, particularly the volcanic soils of the Vesuvius national park. It is used primarily in the Lacryma Christi style wines of the Vesuvio DOC.
Catalanesca is a white grape variety found in the south of Italy, particularly around Naples. It stars in the IGP appellation of Catalanesca del Monte Somma planted in Campania, particularly around the Somma mountains, an integral part of the volcanic mountain formation north east of Mont Vesuvius.
White grape variety grown in the South of Italy, particularly in Campania and Calabria. Capable of producing better wines than it’s given credit for. It’s best expression is found in Sannio DOC and it can also be used for Lacryma Christi white wines in the Vesuvio DOC.
Falanghina Beneventana is a white grape variety grown in Campania. It has been officially proven as distinct to Falanghina Flegrea but we will like have to wait some years before producers start to articulate which type of Falanghina they have planted. Beneventana is perhaps the more common. Depending on the producer it gives wines that range from simple to complex.
Falanghina Flegrea is a white grape variety grown to the west of Campania, around Naples and the Phlegraean Fields. It is found in the DOCs of Vesuvio, particularly the Lacryma Christi Bianco category, Campi Flegrei DOC, Falerno del Massico DOC and on the island of Capri.
Fiano is a white grape variety found all over the South of Italy. Its most famous expression grows around the town of Avellino in the Irpinia hills of Campania. where it is solely responsible for the DOCG wine Fiano di Avellino.
Ginestra is a light skinned white grape variety grown in the South of Italy. Historically it was cultivated in Campania, especially around Naples. DNA studies have revealed it to be the same grape as Biancazita, while also showing a close relationship with Caprettone.
Greco is a white grape variety grown in various parts of Campania’s, but notably in the province of Avellino where it is the key variety in Greco di Tufo DOCG. Is is distinct from the variety known as Greco Bianco.
Greco Bianco is a white grape variety typically grown in the Italian region of Campania. It is most famously utilised in the white DOCG wine Greco di Tufo, although producers here also refer to the grape by the same name. Greco Bianco should not be confused with a number of other ‘Greco’ grapes, confusingly used by Italians to represent all sorts of different varieties. However, testing suggests it is identical to Malvasia di Lipari.
Pallagrello Bianco is a white grape variety found in Campania, particularly in the north of the region around Caserta. It has only recently been shown any kind of attention and experiments continue but to date it seems to produce high alcohol wines with strong floral aromas.
Pepella is a very rare grape variety cultivated only on the Amalfi Coast of Southern Italy. Although a few producers are looking to reintroduce the variety the remaining vines are old and low yielding. Used predominantly in blends with other local white grapes, it provides deep notes of honey, melon and peach. It looks to have the qualities suitable for making Passito style wines.