Campania has some of the best food in Italy

Campania has some of the best food in Italy

My love for the wine lifestyle in general and Italy specifically is why I’m so pleased to tell you that Wine On The Road will be touring the renowned wine region of Campania, including the bustle of Naples and the hallowed ground of Pompeii, in luxury and style, from September 14 – 21, 2014.  It’s also why this column is structured as a travelogue that closely follows the tour’s preliminary itinerary (check out www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php for more pictures, videos, additional information, and a booking form).

Il Posto

Il Posto

This trip, which is being offered in conjunction with Il Posto Restaurant, will focus on visiting wineries with which Il Posto’s Chef/Owner Andrea Frizzi and I have special relationships, the result of which allows us to access behind-the-scenes experiences not available to the general public (for more information on all of WOTR’s tours call me at 303-522-6738, email benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or go to www.wineontheroad.com).  I include my notes for recently tasted bottles from this region at the end of the column without notes (they are available in earlier columns).  If I can find a retail U.S. price then I list it, with “N/A” meaning that the wine is not generally available in the U.S.

One more item – Andrea and I will be hosting a Campania wine dinner on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, starting at 6:30 P.M. at Il Posto, 2011 East 17th Avenue, Denver, CO 80206. $65 per person (including wine) plus tax and tip. To make your reservation for this special dining opportunity, please go to www.ilpostodenver.com, email Afrizzi@yahoo.com, or call the restaurant at 303-394-0100.

Campania

The hills of Campania

The hills of Campania

Campania has a population of approximately 5.8 million people making it the second-most-populous as well as the most densely populated region in Italy.  Originally colonized by ancient Greeks, Campania is rich in culture, especially gastronomy, music, architecture and archaeology, including ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Velia.  The Romans knew the region as Campania felix, which translates into English as “fertile countryside.”  Rich natural beauty makes Campania highly important in the tourism industry, especially along the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri.  The capital city is Naples.

Mozzarella di Bufala, a Campanian specialty

Mozzarella di Bufala, a Campanian specialty

The food of Campania is varied but the most famous is savory, lush Mozzarella di Bufala.  Babà cake is a well-known Neapolitan delicacy, best served with rum or limoncello, a liqueur invented on the Sorrento peninsula.  Campania also produces many wines from indigenous varieties, including Lacryma Christi, Fiano, Aglianico, Greco di Tufo, Pere ‘e palomma, Ischitano, Taburno, Solopaca, and Taurasi.  All were on prominent display during my stay in this vivid, fascinating place.

Taurasi

The Radici Resort, our lodgings for the entire tour.

The Radici Resort, our lodgings for the entire tour.

There are 17 black volcanic peaks which ring the villages along the Calore River that are allowed by law to label their locally produced Aglianico with the protected trade name of Taurasi. There is an actual village called Taurasi at the heart of the DOCG, but this is only one of the towns that are allowed to use the name.  This sub-form of Aglianico is, along with Piedmont’s nebbiolo, the latest harvested grape in Italy.

Preliminary Itinerary

Sunday, September 14—Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The lounge at the Radici Resort

The lounge at the Radici Resort

Our well-appointed Wine on the Road van meets us at Naples International (Capodichino) Airport or the Avellino train station for the beautiful drive to our lodgings at the Radici Resort in the heart of wine country.  There we are greeted with a welcoming aperitivo and tastes of local specialties.  After settling in, Andrea joins the resident chef for a cooking class that focuses on the best of this region’s specialties and techniques, and then we dine in the hotel’s gorgeous dining room with its stunning views.

Dinner at Mustilli Winery

Dinner at Mustilli Winery

The next day we head to Benevento, one of the villages and associated sub-regions that help define this wine producing area.  Visited wineries include modern Venditti, where much research is being done on grape varieties, and historic Mustilli, whose sister-owners take great pride in the fact that their father reintroduced Falanghina, an iconic white wine grape that is now grown throughout Campania.

A wine barrel at Masseria Felicia

A wine barrel at Masseria Felicia

Tuesday brings a morning tour of Caserta, famous for its palace and special Mozzarella di Bufala, followed by some free time in this special town.  Our afternoon tastings take place at two contrasting wineries: modern Masseria Felicia and traditional Trabucco.

Wednesday, September 17—Thursday, September 18

The ghosts of Pompeii

The ghosts of Pompeii

Wednesday is devoted to exploring Campania’s rich historical tradition, starting with a “Great Pizzas” tour of Naples (where this iconic dish was invented) followed by a privately hosted visit to Pompeii, where we are led through this landmark excavation by the best guide in the business.  Dinner that evening involves a special tasting menu at our hotel.

More barrels...

More barrels…

The next day we return to our intensive wine agenda by visiting Basilicata and Irpinia, two regions focused on the aglianico grape that are located not more than 40 km apart in the Apennine Mountains near the town of Avellino.  A highlight is our visit to Molletiere, one of the most widely distributed wineries in all of Campania.

Friday, September 19—Saturday, September 20

Hanging at Mastroberardino

Hanging at Mastroberardino

Taurasi is, along with Piedmont’s nebbiolo, the latest harvested grapes in Italy.  Many special wineries produce Taurasi and we will visit several, including world-famous Contadina and Monte Faliese.  Saturday we spend in and around the town of Avellino, not far from the Taurasi vineyards.  Here we tour and taste at the best, most famous wineries in all of Campania: Terredora di Paolo, Feudi di San Gregorio, and in particular Mastroberardino, which also owns the Radici Resort.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Wine on the Road van transports us back to Naples International (Capodichino) Airport and we wish each other arrivederci … until we see one another again!

 

Come Fly With Me!

Join me in Campania!

Join me in Campania!

There’s no doubt that Campania produces fabulous wines at very reasonable prices.  One of the region’s advantages is that it is quite compact, with most wineries within an hour’s drive of each other.  However, in the absence of first-hand experience, a good guide is essential when trying to maximize positive vinous experiences.  So check out some of these wine recommendations and please let me know what you think.  I’m pretty sure you’ll come away impressed.  And if you want more information on Campania Unfiltered or any of Wine On The Road’s other extraordinary destinations, call me at 303-522-6738, email benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or go to www.wineontheroad.com.

Thanks again to everyone who has helped turn Wine on the Road’s tours into such a smashing success.  I hope to see you very soon in wine country.

 

WINE ON THE ROAD’S LUXURIOUS, BEHIND-THE-SCENES WINE TOURS

Wine On The Road

Wine On The Road

With Wine On The Road (www.wineontheroad.com), my wine-focused touring company, you can enjoy the ultimate wine country excursion with special access to top winemakers and their incomparable wines.  Wine On The Road offers intimate wine country tours that combine award-winning wines and exquisite dining and lodging with uniquely local flair and flavor.  We lodge at excellent and luxurious wine country estates (in the past we’ve occupied ancient yet completely restored castles as well as five-star resorts, all with modern amenities).  We eat at amazing local restaurants and visit wineries that embody the best, most authentic expressions of local wine grapes.

Planned excursions in late 2014 include a combined visit to Champagne and Burgundy (www.wineontheroad.com/champ-burgunfiltered.php), and another to Italy’s Campania (www.wineontheroad.com/campaniaunfiltered.php).  Early 2015 tours include Piedmont, Italy (www.wineontheroad.com/winebeesandcheeseinpiedmont.php), Chile/Argentina (www.wineontheroad.com/chile-argunfiltered.php), Oregon’s wine country (in conjunction with Davidson’s Liquors, www.wineontheroad.com/oregonwithdavidsons.php), and Seattle and Eastern Washington (www.wineontheroad.com/washingtonunfiltered.php).  You can learn more about these trips, book private groups in wine country world-wide and request more information on any of these extraordinary travel experiences by visiting www.wineontheroad.com, emailing me at benweinberg@wineontheroad.com, or calling me at 303-522-6738.

 

Recommendations

Sparkling

Venditti Il Poggio Primus Albus Vino Spumante NV (Campania, Italy) $40

Mustilli Sparkling Falanghina Brut NV (Campania, Italy) $N/A

 

White

Venditti Falanghina DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $20

Trabucco Falerno del Massico 16 Marzo White Wine DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Masseria Felicia Falerno del Massico Bianco Anthologia DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mustilli Fiano Sannio DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Fattoria la Rivolta Greco di Tufo Taburno Sannio DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Selvanova Pallagrello Bianco Acqua Vigna DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mustilli Greco di Tufo DOC 1977 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo DOCG 2011 (Campania, Italy) $15

Terredora di Paolo Greco di Tufo Loggia Della Serra DOCG 2011 (Campania, Italy) $17

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio White 2012 (Campania, Italy) $19

Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo 2012 (Campania, Italy) $23

Mastroberardino Falanghina Morabianca 2011 (Campania, Italy) $20

 

Rosé

Mastroberardino Lacrimarosa 2011 (Campania, Italy) $18

 

Red

Trabucco Falerno del Massico Rapicano Red Wine DOC 2011 (Campania, Italy) $37

Masseria Felicia Falerno del Massico Etichetta Bronze Rosso DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $33

Fattoria la Rivolta Aglianico del Taburno Riserva Terra di Rivolta DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $35

De Conciliis Paestum Aglianico Naima DOC 2006 (Campania, Italy) $45

Vestini Campagnano Poderi Foglia Terre del Voltuno Pallagrello Nero DOC 2009 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Papa Falerno del Massico Primitivo Campantuomo DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Nanni-Cope Sabbie di Sopra Il Bosco IGT 2010 (Campania, Italy) $54

Terre de Principe Casavecchia Centomoggia DOC 2007 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mustilli Aglianico DOC 1988 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Feudi di San Gregorio Taurasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine DOCG 2007 (Campania, Italy) $71

Colli di Castelfranci Alta Valle Taurasi DOCG 2007 (Campania, Italy) $45

Masseria Murrata Taurasi Passione DOCG 2007 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Tenuta Cavalier Pepe Taurasi Opera Mia Campione di Botte DOCG 2009 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Contrade di Taurasi Taurasi Coste DOCG 2008 (Campania, Italy) $75

Antichi Coloni Taurasi Centaurus DOCG 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Molettieri Salvatore Taurasi Renonno DOCG 2008 (Campania, Italy) $75

Antica Castello Aglianico Irpinia Magis DOC 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Terredora di Paolo Aglianico Pago dei Fusi DOC 2006 (Campania, Italy) $60

Mastroberardino Taurasi DOCG 1952 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva DOCG 1961 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva DOCG 1970 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi DOCG 1985 (Campania, Italy) $85

Mastroberardino Taurasi DOCG 1996 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici DOCG 2006 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Red 2012 (Campania, Italy) $15

Mastroberardino Aglianico 2010 (Campania, Italy) $23

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 2007 (Campania, Italy) $50

Mastroberardino Taurasi Riserva Radici 1999 (Campania, Italy) $70

 

Dessert

Mastroberardino Fiano Passito Melizie 2010 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Aglianico Passito Antheres 2009 (Campania, Italy) $N/A

Mastroberardino Aglianico Passito Halconero 2008 (Campania, Italy) $N/A