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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.