Campania is the region of Italy around Naples, with a dramatic coastline and wild, mountainous interior. It also has a unique range of indigenous grape varieties that date back to classical times. Once upon a time, this was one of the most prestigious wine regions anywhere; local Aglianico and Greco di Tufo grapes were responsible for Falernian, the most prized (and costly) wine style of the Roman Empire. In the twentieth century, the region became synonymous with Mastroberardino, the producer who tirelessly championed local varieties and kick-started southern Italy's wine revolution. But in 1994, the Mastroberardino family split, and brothers Antonio and Walter went their separate ways. Antonio took the Mastroberardino name, but Walter got the vineyards.
There's no question that Walter got the better end of that deal, at least in terms of sheer wine quality. At the age of 60, he started again. With the help of his children, he founded the winery Terredora, and once again set about making a range of complex, beautifully expressive wines from local varieties. Terredora are strictly Azienda Agricola, meaning they would never produce any wine from grapes which they didn't grow themselves. They rely on superb grapes and minimalist winemaking. Most of their wines don't see any oak, allowing their natural individuality to sing out. And while it may be hot down in Campania, the elevation of Terredora's mountain vineyards, coupled with the ability of the local white grapes to retain acidity in warm conditions, makes for a range of vivid, energetic white wines.
The Lacryma Christi, nervy and full of citrus fruit, is made entirely from Coda di Volpe grapes grown in a single vineyard on Mount Vesuvius. Their Greco di Tufo is that bit more aromatic, with notes of melon and pear. The Falanghina is beautifully textured. The Fiano has a lovely nuttiness on the finish. As for their reds, the Aglianico has lashings of fruit and herb, and over various vintages I have taken home more bottles of this than any other wine stocked at Uncorked. And then there is the Taurasi, a style often referred to as 'the Barolo of the south'. This DOCG wine has the profound depth and big tannins of a wine built to age - I'm just now enjoying the bottles I bought when I started to work at Uncorked five years ago. /NT
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