related, by the way) and many other vines of more local fame. Field techniques have been dramatically updated, and organic farming methods are beginning to take hold – especially in the south and the islands, where approximately 70 percent of all agriculture is being conducted along organic lines. And cellar techniques have changed most of all: modern technology has been adopted throughout all of Italy’s winemaking regions, with, for instance, stainless steel fermenters and temperature controls becoming ubiquitous. The results of all these changes can be seen most dramatically in recent vintages, where the vineyards have had the chance to benefit from all the new technologies and from the improvements in their cultivation. The common characteristic to be found in the best examples of such wines is the clarity and resonance of their varietal flavors, whether it be the tar and tobacco intensity of Nebbiolo, the black cherry tang of Sangiovese, the smoke and nuts punch of Aglianico, the mineral bite of Falanghina, or any of the many other varieties that are now expressing themselves more clearly than ever before. The north of Italy already has its established star varieties (though even there ancient grapes, such as Ruché and Bracchetto, are emerging from years of obscurity), but the center and particularly the south are now in the process of discovering just how great their native grapes, their prima materia, really are. In the south and the islands, a few local varieties have already broken through both in terms of public awareness and in quality of production. Campania’s white Fiano and Greco (both recently promoted to DOCG) and Falanghina are good examples of that. In fact, they have been so successful that they are now beginning to be cultivated in other regions, a breakthrough probably even more radical and profound than their entry into the international market. Other Campanian white grapes also wait in the wings for their moment on stage: Asprinio, Biancolella, and Coda di Volpe are names you will encounter more often in the near future. The red Aglianico, the source of Campania’s famed Taurasi, has long been cultivated throughout the south – notably in Basilicata -- and even up into the center, as far north as The Marches. Its Campanian companion vine, Piedirosso, has not yet become so popular, though in Campania it is almost ubiquitous, either as a monovarietal wine or in blends with Aglianico. Sicily has an equally rich repertory: the red grapes Nero d’Avola (sometimes called Calabrese), Nerello Mascalese and Perricone all yield rich, complex wines capable of long life, whether they are vinified by themselves or blended in such traditional DOC wines as Faro. The white grapes Inzolia (equally often called Ansonica) and Grecanico are already gaining attention, and Catarratto and Grillo, once liberated from their traditional role in Marsala, are showing real capacity for making dry white table wines.
- Summer '16
- IGT, rosso r-dr, Greco di Bianco