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WSET Diploma: Unit 3: Italy > Campania > Flashcards

Flashcards in Campania Deck (30)
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Finest wines of Classical Italy, with volcanic soils ideal for fine wine production. Standards fell significantly; one a few producers today are seeking quality in their production.


Taurasi DOCG

Aglianico grape, thick skinned and high in acidity, ripens late with complex flavours. Produces full bodied, tannic wines with flavours of dark plum and spice. 3 years ageing, with one in cask before release is required.


Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio

Greco grape with others in blend. Range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling. Some red and rose also produced.


Greco di Tufo

A clone of Greco Bianco grown near the village of Tufo. Low temperature fermentation produces a fresh, aromatic white.


Final d' Avellino

Fiano grown in Avellino. Full bodied white with flavours of hazelnuts and pears.


Falerno del Massico

Slopes of Mount Massico. A red blend with 60-80% Aglianico, 20-40% Piedirosso and Primitivo and Barbera (maximum 20%)



Region of south-west Italy of which Naples is the capital. In the ancient world, Campania was the home of some of the most renowned wines of Italy, if not of the whole Mediterranean basin: surrentine, massic, and, most famous of all, falernian. In spite of its southern location, Campania is known for its white wines, as daytime temperatures are largely mitigated by elevation in the mountainous inland (Campania boasts its own ski resorts) and its indigenous varieties, showcased in Campania’s many DOCs and DOCGs, are capable of retaining freshness and acidity in a warm climate. On the basis of its soil types the region can be broadly grouped into three parts. The volcanic, sandy soils of DOC Vesuvio and DOC Campi Flegrei (the ‘fire fields’ named by the Romans, who built thermal baths on the slopes of these extinct volcanoes) are almost in the suburbs of Naples, where the white falanghina and red piedirosso are planted on their own rootstocks as phylloxera cannot survive there. Once considered workhorse varieties, Falanghina and Piedirosso now receive serious attention, including higher density vineyards and lower yields. The DOC Vesuvio is based predominantly on Caprettone, Falanghina, and Piedirosso, resulting in white and red lacryma christi. The second soil type, alluvial sediments, prevails in the DOC Sannio on the Piana Campania Plain between Naples and Benevento. In the early 2010s, the much smaller DOCs Guardia Sanframondi, Sant’Agata dei Goti (with its own clone of the Falanghina as produced by Mustilli), Solopaca, and Taburno (its speciality being aglianico) were all demoted to subzones of Sannio, while a new DOCG, Aglianico del Taburno, was created. The third soil type is the porous limestone which typifies the hills of the DOC Irpinia. It was called tufo by the Romans (hence greco di Tufo)—incorrectly as it is not of volcanic origin. Within Irpinia lie the superior DOCGs taurasi, fiano di Avellino, and greco di Tufo, the latter two producing Campania’s most famous and long-lived whites, typified by peaches and flint, and smoky notes in aged versions. Taurasi is arguably Aglianico’s finest and longest lived expression. A large part of Campania consists of hills and mountains with myriad expositions and elevations. The higher the elevation, the cooler it is—so cool in fact that the grapes of Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are not picked before the beginning of October, and the late-ripening Aglianico may be picked even later in Taurasi. With the exception of mastroberardino, a general focus on quality has been recent (see taurasi for more details). The third large Campania DOC, Cilento, lies 50 km south of Naples, its coastline dominated by Paestum, site of the little-known Greek temple, while its rugged mountainous hinterland is planted with olive trees and vines. In spite of its extent, Cilento produces very much less wine than Sannio, producing small quantities of Fiano and Aglianico which can be worth seeking out, especially from such overachievers as Conciliis and Casebianche. North of Cilento the tiny DOC Costa d’Amalfi, grown in Campania’s stunning answer to the French Côte d’Azur, has low-yielding vineyards clinging to any available ridge on this stony coast. Modern but very individual whites based on Falanghina and Biancolella, and reds based on Piedirosso and Sciasinoso, are produced by Marisa Cuomo and Tenuta San Francesco, while its subzone Tramonti is renowned for its many centenarian vineyards. Aglianico and Piedirosso also feature in the DOC Falerno del Massico to the north towards Lazio, its wines said to have already been appreciated by the Romans (see falernian). Curiously, a 100% Primitivo is also allowed here. While the demands of tourism have replaced the once-renowned viticulture of the island of Capri, ischia has managed to retain 60 ha/150 acres of DOC vineyards on steep terraced slopes overlooking the Mediterranean, producing small quantities of complex whites based on the local Forastera and Biancolella, notably those of d’Ambra, and minuscule quantities of red wine based on Guarnaccia (magliocco Dolce) and Piedirosso.



Full-bodied red from campania produced from the distinctive aglianico grape grown on 1,000 ha/2,470 acres of vineyards in a zone north east of the city of Avellino. The wine has such high levels of acidity and tannins that it demands bottle ageing, which is why it is regularly referred to as ‘the Barolo of the south’. Taurasi demonstrates the heights which Aglianico can reach in the volcanic soil which it favours (see also aglianico del vulture, produced in basilicata to the east). A total of 17 villages on both sides of the River Calore in the province of Irpinia form the Taurasi docg. This hilly terrain has a multitude of different soil types, elevations, and exposures. The left bank of the river with full southern exposition is the warmest part of the zone while the west-facing slopes have a more continental climate. In the central valley on the right bank, on calcareous soils with rock fragments, a cooler macroclimate prevails. On the southern slopes vines are planted as high 700 m (2,300 ft), harvest can be as late as November, and the wines are marked by higher acidity. DOCG regulations require three years of ageing, one of which must be in wood, and riserva bottlings must be aged for four years. By 2013 there were 50 producers of Taurasi (up from a mere ten in the 1980s) and more than 227 grape growers tending an extremely parcellated vineyard area. mastroberardino was until the early 1990s the only label on the market. Taurasi has been a hotbed of activity this century with several new estates striving for the highest quality, experimenting with organic viticulture, ambient yeast fermentations, and ageing in large casks rather than French barriques, resulting in muscular, concentrated, and complex wines which need age to develop notes of red berries, cherry, tobacco, and, often, hints of tamarind and iron. Although its two largest producers, Mastroberardino and Feudi di San Gregorio, give Taurasi some visibility, the wine arguably needs a consorzio to promote it.



Beneventana of Benevento province is the less common of Campania’s two distinct Falaghinas while the leafy-smelling Falanghina Flegrea of Campi Flegrei is Campania’s signature white wine grape which may have provided a basis for the classical falernian and is now the base for Falerno del Massico and Sannio docs. It produces attractive, unoaked, fragrant wines of real interest. Modern fermentation enabled producers to preserve its aromas, which gave it a new lease of life from the mid 1990s. The Italian 2010 vine census did not distinguish between the two but found more than 3,000 ha/7,500 acres in total—nearly twice as much as in 2000.



Strongly flavoured classical vine responsible for campania’s Fiano di Avellino docg in southern Italy. Wines made from this variety are assertive but lack the aromatic lift of Fiano Aromatico, or minutolo. It is also planted in Puglia, Molise, and increasingly in sicily. The 2010 Italian vine census did not distinguish between the two Fianos but found a total of 1,376 ha/3,400 acres. Total Australian plantings had reached 1000 ha by 2012.



(which has its own DOCG for the zone around the village of Tufo), is a late-ripening Campanian white wine grape that has been shown by dna profiling to be identical to asprinio. The variety also grows in northern Puglia, Lazio, and Tuscany, and is genetically distinct from greco Bianco. Wines tend to be dry, assertive, and to have more body than aroma. The 2010 vine census notes a total area of 829 ha/2,048 acres and a smaller, separate total for Asprinio.


Campania: History

Italian wine industry settled here 3,000 years ago by the Greeks.

Nowadays, little investment and demand in the region means the region is failing to stand out for its quality.


Campania: Climate and Weather

Mediterranean climate with the sea and nearby mountains preventing temperatures to be too hot


Campania: Typography and Soils

Coastal continuation of Lazio; most vineyards by Lazio border (Falerno del Massico), around Avellino & Cilento

Mainly volcanic soils on and around the Vesuvio.


Campania: Aglianico

Thick-skinned grape, hi in acidity, early budding but late ripening that thrives at higher altitudes (400-500m hi)

Produces deep coloured, full bodied, tannic wines w aromas of maraschino cherry & violets and chocolate, dark plums flavours


Campania: Pedirosso

Light red mainly as a blending ingredient

Grown mainly on the islands of Ischia & Capri


Campania: Other Red Wine Grapes

Primitivo, Barbera


Campania: Greco

Believed to be of Greek origin

Tends to mature very late

Deep colour w aromas of peaches & fresh green foliage

Usually blended w Falanghina and/or Biancolella on Capri

Greco di Tufo is a clone of Greco bianco


Campania: Fiano

Small, thick-skinned berries are low yielding and tend to produce little juice

Not as aromatic as Greco di Tufo but waxy texture and subtle aromas of honey, spices & hazelnut


Campania: Other White Grapes Varieties

Coda di Volpe, Falanghina, Biancolella


Campania: Taurasi DOCG (R)

- South’s first DOCG (1993); area 10kms east of Avellino; volcanic soils w best vineyards in higher altitude

- Primarily Aglianico but can have up to 15% Barbera, Piedirosso and Sangiovese. Minimum 3 years ageing with one in cask. Riserva min 4 years.

- Only one winery (Mastroberardino) producing for the export market. Now nearly 300 wineries.


Campania: Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio/ Vesuvio DOC (R/W/ Sparkling/ Dessert/ Fortified)

Blend of Greco, Verdeca & Coda di Volpe grown on the slopes Mt Vesuvius


Greco di Tufo (W)

North of the Fiano d’Avellino DOCG; east of Napoli; DOCGs since 2003

Soils are derived from tuff, a rock formed from volcanic ash

Min 85% Greco w Coda di Volpe for the rest.

Low temperature fermentation produces a dry, fresh aromatic white usually ready to drink 3-4 yrs after
harvest and up to 12 yrs


Fiano d' Avellino DOCG (W)

Grown around Avellino on gently rolling hills; 20km east of Napoli

Min 85% Fiano w Greco, Coda di Volpe & Trebbiano to complement the blend.

Full bodied white w flavours of hazelnuts and pears/peaches


Falerno del Massico DOC (R)

Slopes of mountain Massico on the border w Lazio

Red blend w 60-80% Aglianico, 20-40% Piedirosso and max 20% Primitivo and/or Barbera


Campania: Production and Key Producers

30,000ha for 2m hl/yr – 6% only is DOC/G

Feudi di San Gregorio: one of the best & biggest producer w 3.5m btls. Produces most types of DOC/G wines oMastroberardino: historically the most important producer of Taurasi; now superseded in quality by Feudi S.G.



Was the most famous and most highly prized wine of Italy in the Roman period. It was produced on the southern slopes of Monte Massico, the range of hills which runs down to the west coast of Italy in northern campania. With a precision which was unusual for the Romans, three distinct zones, or crus, were distinguished: Caucinian on the hilltops, Faustian on the slopes (probably in the region of present-day Falciano), and Falernian proper at the edge of the plain. Recent archaeological survey has revealed numerous Roman farms in this region and part of a vineyard of Roman date has been excavated. The vines were trained up trees and also on trellises on poles of willow. Falernian was a white wine of at least two types, one relatively dry, the other sweeter. As with other Roman fine wines such as caecuban and massic, it was normal to age it considerably. It was considered drinkable between 10 and 20 years. Its distinctive colour, deep amber, was probably the result of maderization, which may also explain the references to ‘dark’ Falernian in one source. The frequent descriptions of the wine’s ‘strength’ and ‘heat’ suggest a high alcoholic strength. One curious claim was that it was the only wine which could be set alight! Despite the concern of pliny in the second half of the 1st century ad that the reputation of Falernian was being endangered by a commitment to quantity rather than quality, the wine remained in the front rank until at least the 4th century ad. The contemporary revival is Falerno del Massico, produced in white, blended red, and all-primitivo grape versions in modern campania. See also athenaeus.



One of campania’s relatively few red wine grapes, very much in second place after aglianico, It is grown around Naples and on the islands of ischia and Capri. Also known as Per’e Palummo and Palombina, it can make fresh, fruity reds but total plantings had declined to under 700 ha/1,730 acres by 2010



A dark-skinned top-quality southern Italian grape variety for long thought to be of Greek origin (the name itself was said to be a corruption of the word Ellenico, the Italian word for Hellenic) although dna profiling has failed to find a relationship with any known Greek variety. It retained the name Ellenico or Ellenica until the end of the 15th century, when it took its current name of Aglianico. First planted around the Greek colony of Cumae, close to present day Avellino (home of taurasi), it is today cultivated in the mountainous centre of Italy’s south, in particular in the provinces of Avellino and Benevento in campania, and in the provinces of Potenza and Matera in basilicata. Scattered traces of this early-budding vine variety can also be found in calabria, in puglia, molise, and on the island of Procida near Naples. Italy’s total plantings were 9,910 ha/24,488 acres in 2010. The vine can ripen so late even this far south that grapes may be picked in November. Attempts to pick it earlier, or to increase yields, invariably lead to a failure to tame its rather ferocious tannins. The grape’s best wines are deep in colour with full chocolate and plum aromas, fine-grained tannins, and marked acidity on the palate. Aglianico seems to prefer soils of volcanic origin and achieves its finest results in the two docs of Taurasi in Campania and aglianico del vulture in Basilicata where elevations are lower and the wines rather softer and earlier-maturing. Its nobility is so obvious that it is now grown in both Australia and California.



Large south Italian port and capital of the campania region. The area around Naples had once produced all the greatest wines of Ancient rome, not only falernian, but also caecuban, massic, and surrentine, but in viticultural terms it was never to be that famous again. With the fall of the Roman empire and the economic decline of Italy, the market for fine wines collapsed. Its oriental trade, which dates from Naples’s medieval period under Byzantine rule, included the strong sweet malmsey of Crete, but pugliaproduced similar wines itself, mostly for consumption in southern Italy. Naples also traded in the vernaccia of Liguria, which it sold to Sicily, Majorca, and paris. These wines were known collectively as vini grechi, because like the wines imported from the Aegean they were high-quality sweet wines, capable of surviving a long sea voyage. The wines of Campania, which were not in the Greek style but dry, were called vini latini. They were considered inferior and were not long lived enough to be sent overseas to northern Europe. The highest regarded of the vini latiniwere those of Mount Vesuvius, which were sold to other parts of Italy by the merchants of Naples and Salerno. In addition, Naples sold calabrian wines to Aragón and the Balearic islands. All this made Naples the most important Mediterranean wine-trading port in the 14th century, yet, because of its many changes of regime and its severance from Sicily in 1282, Naples never became a political or economic power to match the northern city states. Geographically it was far better placed than venice and genoa to conduct the lucrative trade in Aegean wines and other luxury goods with northern Europe, but by the late 13th century, when Genoa began to send its galleys to Southampton and Bruges, Naples was no longer in a position to compete.
(Today the name Naples is more readily associated by American wine lovers with an important charity auction held in the city of the same name in Florida.)