On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Campania Stories - Day 3 & 4

26 Apr 2017


Both day three and four start out with “major” tastings of both white and red wines (you can find those notes here: Campania Whites / Campania Reds) … and then the day of touring began:

Day 3 …

A small handful of us end up at Feudi di San Gregorio, the largest winery of Campania (3 million bottle output) and one of the largest in all of Italy (4+ million bottles total).  This ultra-modern winery has everything Feudi 6 Pack of Picsgoing for it: access to old vines, state of the art winemaking facilities, gorgeous views and a Michelin-star restaurant (sadly closed for a private event during our visit). Young by Italian standards (est. 1986) this winery has grown up fast and maintains a young, vibrant, energetic staff to keep it on the cutting edge and moving forward with an eye both on the past, but definitely with one zeroed in on the future.  Some of the most impressive wines were the traditional method sparklings made in very small quantities, but definitely worth tasting if you get out to the winery.  Other wines that truly impressed were:

2015 CampanaroFeudi Wines
2011 Taurasi
2011 Taurasi, Piano di Monte Vergine
2011 Serpico

Day 4 …

Today, two visits are on the docket, both are wineries located on the hillside of Mt Vesuvius … stunning views and the proximity to “danger” is a really impressive way to spend an afternoon.  At one point we were a mere 4km from the crater – it is said that within that distance, if the volcano were to erupt, you have less than 7 minutes to kiss your family and your own ass goodbye. While many of us would think living under Vesuvius Soilsthose conditions would be stressful the people up here seem less concerned with the volcano’s temperament and more on their day-to-day lives and how they can focus attention on agro-tourism to their part of the world without being able to spend a dime on infrastructure.  The wineries are part of the National Park (Sorrentini Vini in particular) and because of this the government has a say in what they can and cannot build, or even do, with their winery making it hard to make upgrade and modernizations … at times, as Giuseppe Sorrentino speaks, I am reminded of home and how our government likes to poke its nose into areas it shouldn’t when it comes to the wine business.

200 Year Old Vines

For the most part these wines are grown on un-grafted vines because of the volcanic and sandy soils they are grown in (phylloxera does not thrive in sandy soils), and they give an authentic feel to the wines … do they taste better than grafted (on North American rootstock) wines? That is a tougher question to answer and one for the drinker / consumer to decide – for me, a good wine is a good wine grafted or not.



Casa Setaro wines of note:
2013 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso Riserva, “Vincenzo”
Caprettone Spumante Metodo Classico
2014 Aglianico Campania, “Terramatta”


Sorrentino Vini wines of note:
2015 Lacryma Christi de Vesuvio Bianco Superior, “Vigna Lapillo”
2014 Lacryma Christi de Vesuvio Rosso Superior, “Vigna Lapillo”
2016 Lacryma Christi de Vesuvio Rosato
2012 Aglianico Vesuvio Superiore, “Don Paolo”



Piccini Visit and Wines Reviewed

25 Apr 2017

Piccini really knows how to host a tasting:  1) show someone around; 2) taste many barrels from upcoming vintages; 3) open everything you’ve got, shut up and wait for questions.  I sat down with Camelia Lazar (Communications Manager / my translator) and winemaker Santo Gozzo, who is one of the humblest winemakers I have ever had the pleasure to sit across the table from, he actually lets the wines speak for themselves before adding his thoughts into the mix, but his comments always seem to come with a “but-what-do-I-know” shrug. Santo Gozzo - winemaker

Turns out Piccini is one of the big guns in Tuscan winemaking, but they are very quiet about it, preferring instead to take the lead of their  winemaker and letting the wines speak for them.  When it comes to Brunello they are one of the biggest producers, but for the best quality you must look to their single estate Villa al Cortile line, which is what we tasted today, from 2015 all the way back to 2010; plus two very special wines from their “volcanic” series – born in the south of Italy …

Piccini 2014 Rosso di Montalcino
Piccini 2015 Rosso di Montalcino

Piccini 2011 Brunello di Montalcino, Villa al Cortile
Piccini 2012 Brunello di Montalcino, Villa al Cortile

Piccini 2010 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Villa al Cortile
Piccini 2011 Brunello di Montalcino Riserva, Villa al Cortile

(Click on the wine name to read the full review)

Volcanic Series wines …


Torre Mora 2013 Etna Rosso (Piccini)
Regio Cantina 2012 Genesi (Piccini)





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