Wines from the Campania region, with their volcanic essence and ancient roots, offer a journey through flavor and time. Intrigued? Well, I hope so!
In this article, I’ll tell you about:
- The range and character of wines in the region.
- Best Campania wines to try
- Some of the best wineries to visit
- My personal wine trail suggestion.
- Campania’s terroir winemaking techniques.
- Historical anecdotes of the region’s ancient winemaking legacy.
Campania Grape Varieties
Campania’s wine region showcases an array of fabulous wines created from diverse grape varieties such as:
These grapes, with their ancient Greek roots, bring forth the vibrant and complex flavors that make Campania wines stand out among the best in Southern Italy.
From the sought-after red wines like Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno to the versatile white wines that can be perfectly paired with seafood, meat, and cheese, Campania truly offers a wine for every palate.
Aglianico is the star of Campania’s red wines, boasting a full-bodied, rich, and complex profile with high acidity and tannins. This bold, structured wine is often blended with the softer Piedirosso grape, creating a harmonious marriage of flavors that excite the palate.
The Aglianico grape’s late ripening and unique terroir, consisting of volcanic soils and picturesque landscapes, contribute to the wine’s distinct character and popularity among wine appellations in Campania.
During your winery visits in the region, seize the chance to experience wine tasting, focusing on Aglianico wine, which is often aged in oak barrels to soften its rich tannins and develop its complex flavors. From the prestigious Taurasi DOCG to the lesser-known Aglianico del Taburno, these red wines will leave a lasting impression on your palate.
Aglianico key facts:
- Color: Red
- Taste Profile: Full-bodied, with dark fruit flavors, high acidity, and firm tannins
- Primary Growing Area: Campania region, particularly well-suited to the volcanic soils around Taurasi and Taburno
- Aging Potential: Excellent, especially for Taurasi DOCG, which develops complexity over time
- Food Pairings: Pairs well with red meats, game, and aged cheeses
Fiano and Greco
Campania’s white wines are just as enchanting as its reds, and Fiano and Greco are no exception.
Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are two famous white wines in the region, both known for their unique flavors and characteristics. Fiano grapes produce wines with bright acidity, minerality, and complex aromas of citrus and stone fruits, while Greco di Tufo showcases a heavier body with mineral depth and a dark gold color.
While discovering this enticing wine region, enjoy a glass of Fiano or Greco, as these versatile wines make a perfect companion to the local cuisine. Whether enjoying a meal by the Mediterranean Sea or exploring the historic streets of Naples, these delightful white wines will elevate your Campanian experience.
Fiano key facts:
- Color: White
- Taste Profile: Crisp with notes of citrus, pear, and hints of honey; often has a toasted nut finish
- Primary Growing Area: Avellino, within Campania
- Aging Potential: Good, can develop more complex flavors with age
- Food Pairings: Ideal with seafood, white meats, and light pasta dishes
Greco key facts:
- Color: White
- Taste Profile: Medium to full-bodied with flavors of peach, lemon, and herbaceous notes; distinct minerality
- Primary Growing Area: Tufo, within Campania, particularly Greco di Tufo DOCG
- Aging Potential: Can age but often enjoyed young for its freshness
- Food Pairings: Complements fatty fish, rich poultry dishes, and can stand up to spicy flavors
Another gem in Campania’s crown is the Falanghina grape, which produces a dry, acidic white wine bursting with citrus and nutty notes. Often used in sparkling wines, Falanghina’s unique character is heavily influenced by Campania’s warm Mediterranean climate, cool breezes, and long growing season, making it perfect for creating a delightful sparkling wine.
The coastal influence and cooling sea breeze help maintain acidity and freshness in the grapes, while the fertile volcanic soil imparts a distinctive minerality to the wines. When visiting the numerous wineries of Campania, ensure you sample a glass of Falanghina to experience its lively and refreshing flavor profile.
Falanghina key facts:
- Color: White
- Taste Profile: Vibrant and aromatic with flavors of apple, pear, citrus, and a hint of almonds
- Primary Growing Area: Widespread in Campania, especially in the Sannio area and around Mount Vesuvius
- Aging Potential: Typically consumed young to enjoy its freshness and aromatic qualities
- Food Pairings: Excellent with seafood, light appetizers, and as an aperitif
Best Campania Wines To Try
Taurasi Wine DOCG – A Must-Try
I believe the Taurasi wine deserves a special mention in this post.
It is a prestigious red wine produced in the Taurasi DOCG zone within Campania, Italy, particularly in the province of Avellino. Made primarily from the Aglianico grape (known for its ability to age well), Taurasi wines are recognized for their robust structure, high tannins, and acidity, which allow them to mature and develop complex flavors over time.
The wine has a deep ruby color that can evolve into garnet as it ages. Its flavor profile includes rich dark fruit, chocolate, and earthy notes, often with a hint of spice due to aging in oak barrels.
Taurasi wines are some of the most full-bodied and intense wines from southern Italy, sometimes compared to Barolo in terms of their aging capacity and the depth of flavor. They pair excellently with hearty dishes such as red meats, game, and strong cheeses.
Taurasi Wine Facts:
- Color: Red
- Taste Profile: Complex with dark cherry, plum, chocolate, spice, and leather notes
- Primary Growing Area: Avellino province in the Taurasi DOCG zone, Campania
- Aging Potential: High, can age for decades due to its structure and tannins
- Food Pairings: Well-suited to rich dishes like game, red meats, and aged cheeses
Aglianico del Taburno DOC
Aglianico del Taburno is a red wine made from the Aglianico grape variety grown in the Taburno DOC region, which is situated around the dormant volcano Mount Taburno in Campania.
This area provides a unique microclimate and soil composition that is particularly favorable for the Aglianico grape, resulting in wines that can differ in character from those produced in the Taurasi DOCG, despite being made from the same grape.
Aglianico del Taburno wines are known for their robust structure, high tannins, and acidity, much like Taurasi, which allows them to age well.
They typically showcase flavors of dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and spice, with a potential for developing more complex notes over time. The region’s designation indicates both a high quality of wine production and the distinctiveness of this particular expression of the Aglianico grape.
Aglianico del Taburno Facts:
- Color: Red
- Taste Profile: Robust with flavors of black cherry, blackberry, spice, and leather, often with smoky undertones
- Primary Growing Area: Taurasi DOCG, Avellino province, Campania
- Grape Variety: Primarily Aglianico
- Aging Potential: Excellent, can age for 10-20 years or more, allowing complex flavors to develop
- Food Pairings: Ideal with hearty meats, game, rich pasta sauces, and aged cheeses
- Serving Temperature: Best served at 18°C (64°F)
Terroir and Winemaking Techniques in Campania
The soul of Campania wines lies in its unique terroir and winemaking techniques. Characterized by volcanic soil, diverse vineyards, and a mild climate, the terroir in Campania gives the wines their distinct taste and character. Winemaking techniques in the region blend both traditional and modern approaches, resulting in diverse and unique wine styles that embody the essence of Campania.
We’ll explore in more detail the effects of volcanic soil, the balance between traditional methods and modern innovation, and the emerging trend of organic and biodynamic practices in the region.
Volcanic Soil Impact
Volcanic soil has a profound impact on the flavors and aromas of Campania wines. It contributes to high acidity, salinity, and a savory character in the wine, which sets it apart from other soil types. The mineral composition of volcanic soil adds a distinctive mineral edge and complexity to the wines, making them truly unique.
Grape varieties such as Falanghina, Aglianico, and Greco di Tufo are mainly influenced by the volcanic soil in Campania, resulting in wines that showcase a perfect balance of fruitiness and minerality. Embarking on your ideal wine tour in Campania, take a moment to appreciate how the region’s volcanic soil shapes the flavors and character of its wines.
Traditional methods versus modern innovation
Campania’s winemaking techniques boast a harmonious blend of traditional methods and modern innovation. Traditional techniques include hands-on, unobtrusive methods, aging in specific oak barrels, and unique fermentation techniques passed down through generations. On the other hand, modern techniques incorporate temperature-controlled fermentation and the revival of ancient grape varieties, resulting in diverse and unique wine styles.
While visiting the numerous wineries of Campania, you’ll observe how the region incorporates modern innovation and retains its traditional winemaking heritage. This balance between old and new techniques ensures that Campania wines continue to be recognized for their exceptional quality and distinctive flavors.
Organic and biodynamic practices in Campania winemaking
In recent years, organic and biodynamic practices have gained popularity in Campania’s winemaking scene. These practices focus on sustainable farming methods, avoiding synthetic chemicals, and promoting biodiversity in the vineyards. As a result, healthier grapes and a more balanced ecosystem are achieved, ultimately translating into higher-quality wines with distinct flavors and expressions of terroir.
Wineries like I Cacciagalli embrace organic and biodynamic farming practices, showcasing their commitment to preserving the environment and delivering outstanding wines. Exploring the Campania wine region, make a point of visiting these eco-friendly wineries and sampling the exceptional wines produced from their sustainable practices.
Must-Visit Wineries in Campania
Campania offers a multitude of must-visit wineries that invite you to discover their unique wines and breathtaking landscapes. Some of the top wineries in the region include:
- Cantina La Fortezza
- Cantine Bonaparte
- Cantine De Angelis 1930
- Casa Setaro
- Cantina Del Vesuvio
From the prestigious Taurasi DOCG to the lesser-known IGTs, these wineries offer a diverse range of wines that cater to every taste, making them perfect for wine tastings.
Campania Wine Trail — From north to south
In Cellole, the Fattoria Villa Matilde is a winery designed like a Mediterranean village with wine tastings and meals offered. From there, you can travel to the towns of Ponte, to see the Ocone winery and Torrecuso to visit the Rillo winery.
In Benevento, visit the Enoteca Provinciale del Sannio, located in the Piazza Guerazzi .
The Mustilli at Via dei Fiori 20 in Sant’Agata de’ Goti is a good wine choice. They serve wines aged for years in 15th-century cellars, and they have wine tastings by appointment.
Taurasi is the home of the famed Taurasi DOCG. Visit the interesting Caggiano winery (Contrada Sala), where you can taste their blends of local grape varietals.
In the towns of Atripalda and Salza Irpina, you can enjoy the wines of the Di Meo winery (Contrada Coccovoni 1).
Enoteca Partenopea is on Viale Augusto in the Fuorigrotta area of Naples. It has thousands of the best Italian and non-Italian wines.
In Prignano Cilento, De Conciliis (Localita Quercia 1) is a modern family-run winery that produces the Donnaluno Cilento Bianco DOC from Fiano grapes.
Campania’s Wine History and Culture
The history of winemaking in Campania dates back over two millennia, with its ancient roots and rich gastronomic culture playing a significant role in the region’s identity.
From the legendary Falerno wine, believed to be a gift from Bacchus, the God of wine, to the inhabitants of Ager Falernus, to the ancient ruins of Paestum with its well-preserved Greek temples, Campania’s wine history and culture are genuinely remarkable.
Ancient Roots: The Story of Falerno
Falerno occupies a significant place in Campania’s wine history. Once considered a luxury reserved for the Roman elite, Falerno wine is made from a blend of grapes, including Aglianico, Piedirosso, and possibly Falanghina or Greco.
This ancient wine has a storied past, with legends attributing its creation to Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, and its popularity among Roman emperors like Julius Caesar and Marcus Aurelius.
Despite its ancient origins, Falerno continues to be produced in the province of Caserta within the Falerno del Massico DOC, a testament to Campania’s enduring wine heritage. Exploring the region’s wineries, ensure you sample a glass of this legendary wine and delve into the rich history of Campania.
I hope this look into the Campania wine region has been helpful. Whether you visit these storied vineyards or enjoy a glass closer to home, I encourage you to savor the rich flavors that Campania has to offer. There’s wine for every palate in this vibrant part of Italy.
Campania Wines FAQ
Can Campania wines be paired with any cuisine?
Yes, the diverse wines of Campania, from light whites to bold reds, complement a wide range of dishes, from seafood to hearty meats.
Are there organic wine options available in Campania?
Absolutely. Campania hosts a growing number of vineyards dedicated to organic winemaking, offering wines made with sustainable practices.
Is Campania suitable for wine tourism all year round?
Campania’s mild climate makes it a great wine tourism destination throughout most of the year, especially from spring to late autumn.
What makes the wines of Campania region unique?
The combination of volcanic soil, ancient grape varieties, and a blend of traditional and innovative winemaking gives Campania’s wines their unique character and complexity.