Campania is located towards the south of Italy below Lazio on the western shore, the “shin” of Italy’s boot, it’s capital, Naples. The region has been producing wines, dating back to the 12th Century BC, and is one of Italy’s very oldest wine regions.
Campania, like many Italian regions, is host to an great variety of grapes, some of which are almost exclusive to this region. Its most important variety is many agree is Aglianico, the grape behind the region’s two most famous and respected red wines: Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno. Aglianico was introduced to the area by the Greeks and later cultivated by the Romans.
Also a mainstay of Campania’s vineyards are the white-wine varieties Fiano and Greco, which are exhibited in the region’s most respected white wines, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Fiano has been used here for more than 2000 years. Another light-skinned grape of interest here is Falanghina. The honeyed sweetness of Falanghina wines gained the variety praise from the ancient writer and philosopher Pliny the Elder, who is credited by some as being the creator of the phrase in vino veritas (there is truth in wine).
Campania’s varied climates and terroirs are contributing factors to the many vineyards that host around 100,000 acres (46,800ha) of vines. Viticulture is in its element thanks to an abundance of sunshine, dry hot summers, mild winters, a long growing season and volcanic soil. The coastal Mediterranean breezes blow in from the Tyrrhenian Sea and across the Apennine Mountains to temper the heat, encouraging a bright acidity in the fruit. These factors also contribute to the varied qualities of Campania wines. For instance, an inland Falanghina grown on slopes where there is more rainfall offers more fragrant notes than those found on the coast, where the climate is continental and tends to be more mellow.
Despite being ensconced in tradition, today’s wine styles are fruit forward and youthful: the whites are known for their aromatic characters, often redolent of the local flora, while the reds (mainly from Aglianico) have big personalities which require a little aging. Recent innovations in farming methods have helped improve the quality of Campania’s wines, specifically through better vineyard management, harvesting methods and cellar techniques. A particularly notable name in the world of Campania wine is Antonio Mastroberardino, whose pioneering use of both tradition and innovation make him the most respected, experienced and knowledgeable winemaker of the area. (Information excerpted from Wine Searcher)