Feudi di San Gregorio, Taurasi
This wine is one of southern Italy's trump cards. A dark, powerful and structured red made from colour-rich and flavoursome Aglianico grapes grown in the shadow of Vesuvius. This wine, from one of the most respected producers in the region, is not a big bruiser, rather it is a joyful densely packed red with a soft supple palate, lush tannins and barrel loads of black fruit, red berry puree, cherries and integrated vanilla and nutmeg spices.
Aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, this is a wine made with serious commitment. The winery have masses of wines in their portfolio, ranging from dry to sparkling to sweet, but their attention to detail in production the region's classic appellations is unswerving. There is of course an imperative to retain and sustain the image and quality of classical perception in the market and they do release different cuvées of Taurasi, as they do for white appellations such as Greco di Tufo and Fiano d'Avellino. But there is something about Taurasi that really captures the imagination. This dark, gnarled red that seems to be almost subterranean in spirit, from beneath the volcanic soils, is grown in vineyards around the eponymous village that is inhabited by only about 600 people.
This Taurasi is made from grapes grown in the furthest southeastern district of the appellation almost at the boarder with Basilicata and Puglia. This brings the vines under yet another renowned viney volcano, that of the Monte Vulture. Feudi di San Gregorio aren't unaware of the mosaic like nature of vineyard allocation, instead, they celebrate it, claiming that though they are based in Campania, they are more accurately identified as being from Irpinia. This is interesting because it is of historical importance, with references from Pliny, and the reputation for many different and varied micro-climates. Parts of Taurasi are in Irpinia and they are the more mountainous vineyards with higher rainfall, short, cold winters and long, warm summers giving wines that are fresher and with a more digestible balance, which, after all, is just what we like.