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Campania Wines

Campania Wines

Campania Wines

"You simply can’t leave Italy without devoting enough time to each one of the spectacular wine regions where you can find some of the most sensational wines you’ve ever tasted. It may not be the most popular one, but the region of Campania is the home to certain wines you shouldn’t let slide. This “happy land” has one of the longest histories of winemaking in Italy. It’s also quite unique, given that some of the grape varieties that grow in Campania are very hard to find anywhere else. We can easily say this region is nothing short of legendary - it has even kept the influences of ancient Greeks and Romans.

The wide array of grape varieties contributes to the diversity characteristic of Campania. Aglianico is unquestionably one of the most popular varieties, used to make wonderful red wine with high acidity and enjoyable berry flavors. White wines don’t fall behind - Fiano is an exquisite variety with touches of pineapple and honey. Other than these grapes, which probably sound familiar to many wine lovers, there are lots of lesser-known varieties that also make captivating wines. Aglianico del Taburno and Greco di Tufo are just some of the names you need to see on the label while pouring yourself a glass of some of the finest Campanian wines. "
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1998 imparato montevetrano Italy Red

I have been extolling the virtues of this wine, produced in partnership with the owner Silvia Imparato and consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella, for nearly a decade. I love its individualistic style. Each year, regardless of vintage conditions, it offers up compelling amounts of blueberry, blackberry, and black raspberry fruit presented in a distinctive, medium to full-bodied, fruit-driven, complex personality. It also exhibits a touch of minerals, marvelous purity and symmetry, as well as the potential for 10-20 years of evolution.The 1998 is an outstanding success, with elegance allied to power and intensity. Montevetrano’s hallmark blackberry and black raspberry component is present as well as beautiful purity/symmetry, and a long, medium to full-bodied, highly-concentrated finish. Sadly, production is a mere 2,000 bottles from a 4-acre vineyard planted in 1991 with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, and 10% Aglianico. Like most of the wines made under the supervision of Riccardo Cotarella, it is aged in new French oak, and bottled with neither fining nor filtration. The 1998 should drink well for 10-15 years.Robert Parker | 92 RPThe 1998 is another excellent vintage for drinking today. Although this isn’t the most complex Montevetrano I am struck by how primary the wine is. The 1998 is open in its dark fruit with a soft, accessible personality that is similar to the 2000. Sweet, silky tannins round out the long finish. Readers who prefer layers of tertiary complexity will want to cellar the 1998 for a few more years, but from a textural standpoint, it is a highly rewarding wine today.Antonio Galloni | 92 AGDark ruby in color, with aromas of currants, berries and tar. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, berry, vanilla aftertaste. Needs time to come together. Another gorgeous red from Montevetrano, though not as great as the ’97. Best after 2002. 1,100 cases made.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

94
ST
As low as $130.00
2001 feudi di san gregorio serpico Italy (Other)

Bold and structured red. Dark color; black licorice, raspberry and mineral character and hints of dried flowers; full-bodied, with spicy fruit and undertones of black pepper. Chewy finish. This is fantastic. Best after 2007. 5,000 cases made.Wine Spectator | 94 WSThe 2001 Serpico is another wine that appears to need more bottle age. Today it is in an in-between stage where the fruit is no longer primary but the tertiary notes aren’t fully developed either. The 2001 is a powerful Serpico with impressive tannic clout that will require further cellaring to soften. With time, hints of wild cherries, herbs, chocolate and leather emerge but only with great reluctance. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.Feudi di San Gregorio is one the leading estates in Campania and Italy. Enzo Ercolino spared no expenses in snapping up vineyards and building a state of the art facility that cranks out more than 4 million bottles per year. Along the way Feudi garnered considerable accolades from the press, perhaps too much attention for a winery that was just getting started. Today Feudi is owned and run by the Capaldo family. The estate makes a wide range of whites and reds, but the most consistently outstanding wines are the two Aglianicos; Serpico and the Taurasi Piano di Montevergine. From the outset Serpico was conceived as a more approachable interpretation of Aglianico than Taurasi. The softness of some early vintages suggests other grapes may have been used to help smooth the trademark Aglianico rusticity. The Taurasi di Montevergine was initially made from a number of different parcels although today it is a true single-vineyard wine made from a late-ripening plot that sits at 700 meters above sea level. Over the years, this site has proven to be exceptional in yielding structured Taurasis that at their best capture the full breadth of Aglianico. Consulting oenologist Luigi Moio, who had just returned from a stint in France, made the wines from 1995 through 1998, although he did not see all the wines through to their bottling as he left Feudi in 1999. Moio is one of the key figures in the development of the wines of the south. His consulting projects include Caggiano and Cantina del Notaio, in addition to the superb wines he is making at his own estate, Quintodecimo. At Feudi Moio favored lengthy fermentations often reaching more than 25 days (Moio has since adopted a shorter approach to fermentations with his own wines at Quintodecimo). Malolactic fermentation was done in steel. Moio used 100% new oak for Serpico and 60% new oak for the Piano di Montevergine. Oenologist Riccardo Cotarella made the wines between 1999 and 2006. Cotarella is another seminal figure in Campania, as he pioneered Montevetrano and Terra di Lavoro - two wines that were groundbreaking when they were conceived and that continue to set a high bar for the region - as well as Feudi’s 100% luxury Merlot cuvee, Patrimo. Cotarella preferred shortish macerations. After the alcoholic fermentation was completed, the wines were racked into oak until spring, when they were moved into steel for the malolactic fermentations. The wines were then moved back into oak, where they completed their aging. Cotarella favored 100% new oak for both Serpico and Piano di Montevergine. Since 2006 Feudi has moved most of its winemaking in house and relied less on outside consultants.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 92+ RPThe 2001 Serpico is another wine that appears to need more bottle age. Today it is in an in-between stage where the fruit is no longer primary but the tertiary notes aren’t fully developed either. The 2001 is a powerful Serpico with impressive tannic clout that will require further cellaring to soften. With time, hints of wild cherries, herbs, chocolate and leather emerge but only with great reluctance.Antonio Galloni | 92+ AG

92+
RP
As low as $225.00
2003 fattoria galardi terra di lavoro Italy Red

Galardi did a fabulous job with the 2003 Terra di Lavoro in this torrid, challenging vintage. This is a dark, muscular Terra di Lavoro loaded with imposing dark fruit wrapped around a frame of sheer muscle. The 2003 turns more elegant in the glass as the aromatics reluctantly begin to emerge, but the hard 2003 tannins never fully soften. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2028.Terra di Lavoro, first produced in 1994, has quickly established itself as one of Italy’s cult wines. I tasted all of these vintages with proprietors Arturo and Dora Celentano during their first visit to the US. The Celentanos have a huge passion for food and wine, and that exuberance comes through loud and clear in these fabulous wines. Terra di Lavoro is 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso from vines planted by consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella beginning in 1991. The fruit is harvested according to ripeness rather than strictly by variety, which means that Aglianico and Piedirosso are sometimes picked and vinified together. After the alcoholic fermentation, the wines are racked into French oak where they remain on their lees for several months. Cotarella describes Aglianico as a hard grape to take through malolactic fermentation. He therefore believes it is essential for the final blend to be made before the wines go into malo. The final blend is assembled and undergoes what is usually a very slow malo, in steel for 80-90% of the wine, prior to being moved back into oak. There is little question that malolactic fermentation in stainless steel contributes significant freshness and aging potential to this heroic southern Italian wine.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPGalardi did a fabulous job with the 2003 Terra di Lavoro in this torrid, challenging vintage. This is a dark, muscular Terra di Lavoro loaded with imposing dark fruit wrapped around a frame of sheer muscle. The 2003 turns more elegant in the glass as the aromatics reluctantly begin to emerge, but the hard 2003 tannins never fully soften.Antonio Galloni | 94 AG

As low as $190.00
2003 imparato montevetrano Italy Red

The 2003 Montevetrano is one of the revelations in this tasting. Layers of dark, baritone fruit form the building blocks, followed by suggestions of leather, spices and earthiness that add richness and complexity. Incisive and muscular throughout, the 2003 impresses for its overall sense of balance, something that was very hard to come by in this torrid vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2025.Proprietor Silvia Imparato is one of the early pioneers in the world of Campanian oenology. Originally trained as a photographer, Imparato came to winemaking accidentally when one of her clients invited her to join a wine tasting group in Rome in the 1980s. Over the course of the following years, Imparato had the opportunity to taste many of the world’s great bottles on a regular basis. On a lark, she thought she would try to make wine at her family’s small estate in Salerno. She enlisted the help of consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella, and together they created Montevetrano, the wine that launched Campania in a big way around the world. This was the first complete vertical Imparato had ever hosted on this scale, and she was clearly moved by the occasion. All of the wines were shipped directly from the estate, guaranteeing perfect provenance. The wines were opened a few hours before being served. It was a warm, humid summer day in New York and the wines were particularly radiant and expressive. Montevetrano is approximately 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 10% Aglianico (the international varieties were planted on the existing Aglianico rootstocks) although the exact blend changes from year to year depending on vintage conditions. Imparato makes it clear she isn’t a big fan of giving the exact breakdown in each vintage, so readers should take the varietal blend as a rough guideline. Clearly there are a number of vintages where the Aglianico seems to come through with a much more assertive voice than 10% would lead one to believe. The harvest times vary greatly from Merlot to Aglianico, so the different grape varieties are harvested and vinified separately. Consulting oenologist Riccardo Cotarella fashions the final blend before the wines undergo malolactic fermentation. As opposed to Terra di Lavoro, which mostly sees malo in steel, here Cotarella feels more at ease doing the malos in oak as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are clearly more suited to this approach than Aglianico. Montevetrano was aged in 100% new oak until 1995, when the percentage of new barrels was dropped to 50%.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94 RPThe 2003 Montevetrano is one of the revelations in this tasting. Layers of dark, baritone fruit form the building blocks, followed by suggestions of leather, spices and earthiness that add richness and complexity. Incisive and muscular throughout, the 2003 impresses for its overall sense of balance, something that was very hard to come by in this torrid vintage.Antonio Galloni | 94 AGThis 60-30-10 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Aglianico blend is a real treat from southern Italy with interesting complexity and flushed out tones of small berry fruit, exotic spice, vanilla, espresso and leather. The Cabernet aromas shine brightest. It’s modern, vibrant and a fine example of successful winemaking.Wine Enthusiast | 91 WEChewy and rich, with blackberry and chocolate character, plus walnuts with dried stones. Full-bodied and tannic. Needs time to soften. Better in 2016.James Suckling | 90 JS

93
RP
As low as $89.95
2007 imparato montevetrano Italy Red

The 2007 Montevetrano is the product of an unusual vintage characterized by hot temperatures that were virtually uninterrupted throughout the year. Bright red fruit, flowers and spices are some of the nuances that emerge from this silky, beautifully balanced Montevetrano. The combination of explosive ripe fruit, richness and finesse are utterly breathtaking. The warmth of the vintage comes through in the wine’s generosity, yet there are no suggestions whatsoever of over- ripeness. This is a magnificent Montevetrano.Antonio Galloni | 95 AGThe 2007 Montevetrano suggests a more prominent presence of Cabernet Sauvignon, aromatically speaking, compared to the other wines in this mini retrospective. The percentage of grapes used is the same but this impression is reinforced by the warmth of the summer growing season and the exuberance of the fruit. Blackberry aromas are followed by spice, leather and tar. There are subtle notes of balsam herb and green peppercorn as well. The wine is structured and firm but not astringent. The tannins are softly integrated and fine in texture.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 94+ RPDark and sappy, with tightly wound layers of black currant, blackberry and plum skin. Hints of underbrush, ash and smoke are framed by firm tannins, which need time to resolve. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Aglianico. Best from 2013 through 2021.Wine Spectator | 91 WS

95
RP
As low as $179.00
2015 feudi di san gregorio taurasi riserva piano di montevergine Italy Red

This wine was not produced in the 2014 vintage. The excellent 2015 Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine amply makes up for that gap thanks to its generous purple and black fruit. This is a terrific vintage with ample spice and smoke. Feudi di San Gregorio CEO Antonio Capaldo tells me that he likes 2015 more than 2016 and he likes 2017 best of all. I can’t wait to review those finished wines over the next few years. The 2015 is more explosive and 2016 is more direct, fine and elegant. This wine shows extra volume in the mouth, making a great impact. Some of the historically best vintages of this important wine include 1999, 2001, 2010 and 2013. The jury is still out on whether this wine will be produced in the difficult 2018 vintage.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RPThe 2015 Piano di Montevergine is more primary than the 2013, its bold blackberry flavors framed by firm, black-rock tannins. The 2015 growing season was hot and dry in much of Italy, yet this wine feels bright and energetic, the fruit coming from the estate’s first planted vineyard on a plateau at 1,300 feet above sea level. Its cool, graphite tones and mouthwatering acidity surge through the ripe fruit tones as they take on notes of licorice and dried herbs, and the wine stays balanced through a smooth and spicy finish.Wine & Spirits | 95 W&SA tarry red, with smoke and loam notes transitioning to flavors of dried cherry, dark chocolate, menthol and spice. Full-bodied and fresh, with well-knit tannins providing light definition throughout and emerging to firm the chalky finish. Drink now through 2030. 2,000 cases made, 100 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 92 WSFrom Piano di Montevergine and Taurasi villages, this Riserva is harvested from relatively young vines of 15 to 20 years. Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, it is focused on graphite minerality and restrained cassis, enhanced by a herbaceous character and wild dark fruits, linked nose-palate by cacao powder. The tannins are velvety with huge mid-palate extraction and firm acidity, yet the wine is balanced due to a great concentration of fruit. Overall a bold style right now; it will improve further with ageing. Drinking Window: 2023 - 2035Decanter | 92 DECMeaty and herbal notes on the nose with dried earth and pistachio skin. Cloves, too. It’s full-bodied with layers of ripe and dried black fruit, cloves, walnuts and smoked meat. Firm, slightly dry tannins, but still attractive. Drink or hold.James Suckling | 91 JSAromas of toasted oak, baked plum and mocha lead the nose. The aromas carry over to the firm palate together with notes of star anise and clove. Close-grained tannins grip the finish. Drink through 2027.Wine Enthusiast | 91 WE

96
RP
As low as $47.99
2015 villa matilde taurasi Italy (Other)

Subtle and flavorful with spice, white-pepper and dark-berry aromas and flavors. Medium to full body. Firm tannins. Polished and delicious. Why wait? Drink now or hold.James Suckling | 92 JSModerately saturated bright red. Herbs, red fruit and minerals on the refined nose. Then also quite elegant in the mouth, where floral nuances lift the red and blue fruit flavors. Finishes long with herbal notes that add complexity.Vinous Media | 92 VM

92
VM
As low as $26.99
2016 cantine lonardo taurasi coste Italy Red

The 2016 Taurasi Coste is a showstopper, leading off with a dramatic mix of crushed blueberries and black cherries complemented by sweet exotic spices and shaved cedar. It’s seamlessly silky and plush, with a bolt of jolting acidity that motivates its tart wild berry fruits. Minty herbal tones mix with dark, dark chocolate toward the close. While structured and certainly in need of cellaring, the 2016 Coste maintains a wonderfully fresh persona as black currant and tobacco notes fade. From start to finish, this is a gorgeous young Taurasi, which may even deserve a higher score over time.Vinous Media | 95+ VM

95+
VM
As low as $67.99
2016 fattoria galardi terra di lavoro Italy (Other)

Very deep and dark, but also fragrant, this glides from dried blueberries, tar, brambleberry essence and cassis to cedar, tobacco and dried nutmeg. The palate is rich and concentrated with a ton of fine-grained tannins and a long, complex, dry finish. Drink in 2023.James Suckling | 95 JSCabernet Sauvignon is not in the blend, but the aromas in the 2016 Terra di Lavoro are very similar to what you would get with that grape, with bright notes of green pepper corn with blackberry and exotic spice. The declared blend is 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso. This is a balanced vintage with lots of depth, precision and density. This is a beautifully made wine. For sure, I am not the first to say that the wine is more characteristic of a house style, a Bordeaux-inspired house style, rather than a territorial expression of Campania. In truth, I’d say that this wine has feet in both those words. I recommend waiting at least five more years before drinking this vintage. Some 30,000 bottles were made.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPGood full ruby-red. Pretty aromas of fresh raspberry, red cherry and crushed stone and a strong whiff of minty botanical herbs. The vibrant flavors of red fruits, herbs and flint show very good cut and thrust. Not hugely fleshy but boasts very good palate presence and noteworthy refinement. Finishes with polished tannins, outstanding length and perfumed lift. Totally different from the riper 2015 Terra di Lavoro but just as good.Vinous Media | 93 VMThis estate near Campania’s northern border makes just one wine from 25 acres of low-yielding vines planted on the slopes of a dormant volcano. A blend of aglianico softened by 20 percent piedirosso, the 2016 Terra di Lavoro offers flavors of plum and raspberry underscored by a black minerality. Notes of eucalyptus and mint brighten the flavors, and the structure feels lean and taut, bound by rigid tannins. Stow this in the cellar for at least five years.Wine & Spirits | 92 W&S

95
RP
As low as $56.99
2019 Montevetrano Colli Di Salerno

This is one of the icon wines of southern Italy. It maintains its timeless nature throughout the years, in good vintages and in bad. The 2019 Montevetrano embraces the radiance and elegance of the very good vintage this was in Campania, with cool nights, good moisture and average summer temperatures. The blend is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Aglianico and 20% Merlot sourced from a five-hectare site with clay soils. Some 20,000 bottles are made. The bouquet reveals dark cherry and black plum with baker’s chocolate and exotic spice. There is an especially black fruit quality that is almost tarry from the Aglianico, and that grape really pops from the blend, as it should, since this is one of the original "super Campania" wines.Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 95 RPThe 2019 Montevetrano captivates with a rich mix of brown spice, tobacco, rum-soaked cherries, menthol and mint. This is classy and polished, with textures of pure silk and a massive core of dark red and black fruits that slowly saturate the palate. The 2019 finishes classically dry and incredibly long, leaving fine-grained tannins framing wild blueberry and sage nuances. What a beauty. Cellaring will be required to unlock all of its charms. The 2019 Montevetrano is a beautifully composed blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Aglianico and 20% Merlot.Vinous Media | 95 VMA bold red, with lush layers of blackberry reduction and crème de cassis enriched by toasty smoke and tarry mineral threads. Features fine-grained, well-knit tannins that provide sculpted structure, with fragrant black licorice, fig cake and wild sage notes lingering on the chewy finish. Aglianico. Best from 2023 through 2029. 1,000 cases made, 200 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 93 WSThis famed red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Aglianico and Merlot, finds a greater balance in 2019 than in the past couple of vintages. Purplish in the glass, its rich nose packs a punch: ripe blackberry, clove, dark chocolate and an almost-curry scent. Although powerful and concentrated, it seems to be more polite than usual, with soft tannins, moderate extraction and extremely good balance. The tannins are firm and polished on the mid-palate, well balanced with the fruit despite a slightly austere finish.Decanter | 91 DEC

95
RP
As low as $65.99
2020 Montevetrano Core di Montevetrano Bianco

Enticing fruit-cocktail nose with a lemony twist, as well as some honey and meadow flowers. Medium-bodied with intense, super clean fruit flavors and a delicious finish. So well balanced. Enjoy now.James Suckling | 93 JSA blend of equal parts fiano and greco, this wine offers flavors of cool citrus in a round, creamy texture. Scented with apple blossom, chamomile and bee pollen, the wine gains richness with air, yet remains high-toned and refreshingWine & Spirits Magazine | 91 W&SA creamy white, with juicy yellow apple and pear fruit laced with hints of vanilla, verbena, anise and toast. Reveals a subtle, pleasing plumpness that’s refreshed and balanced by citrusy acidity and a tang of salinity. Fiano and Greco. Drink now. 1,000 cases made, 200 cases imported.Wine Spectator | 90 WS

93
JS
As low as $21.99
2021 terredora di paolo greco di tufo loggia della serra Italy White

Ripe and complex nose with some jackfruit, hay and a hint of mineral and honey. Bone-dry on the palate with a bright streak of acidity with a medium body. Flavorful and textured and with a delicious, pithy finish. Drink now.James Suckling | 92 JS

91
RP
As low as $14.99

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