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Explore Campania (July 2011)
With Naples as its capital, this region of south-west Italy was, in ancient times, home to the country’s most renowned wines. In the modern era, sadly this is not the case and the region is far better known as a tourist destination than for its wines. But there is no denying the potential for Campania’s wines to be great once again. There is a wealth of interesting and distinctive grapes and perfect conditions for growing them, particularly in the mountainous interior.
Some far-sighted producers are starting to realise this potential and we have been particularly excited by the wines of La Guardiense, a newly revitalized co-op situated in Guardia Sanframondi, a small village in the province of Benevento. It is one of Italy’s biggest farming co-operatives and proof that big can also be beautiful. Its 1,000 members farm over 2,000 hectares and by marrying ancient skills with modern winemaking techniques the co-op produces both good quality wines for the mass market alongside top-quality bottlings of its best parcels.
The co-op has come to realise that its local indigenous grapes have so much more to offer than ubiquitous foreign varieties. We list a white and a red from the Guardiolo DOC, falanghina and aglianico, and greco, a white from the Sannio DOC. Members will have come across aglianico and greco from other parts of Italy but falanghina is new to us (the co-op’s members account for 90% of the world’s production). It has a freshness and fragrance and almost salty fruit acidity that make it wonderful with food or as an aperitif. There’s an intriguing minerality to the long finish too and it would work well with this tuna recipe.
Please click here to view Falanghina wines.