From Naples’ exquisite antiquity and charm to the wild beauty of Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast, there is something enduringly beautiful about the Campania region of Italy. The ancient wonders of Pompeii and Herculaneum are some of the well-known attractions, but did you know the region is also renowned for its wine production? Head inland for some of Italy’s most exciting vineyards and wines.
Start your vino adventure at Azienda Vinicola Sorrentino on the south slope of Mount Vesuvius. Here you will enjoy an abundance of tasty local dishes in the relaxed and casual restaurant, before sampling the grapes as the sun goes down.
Mount Vesuvius is a stunning national park, so you must go and explore if you have time in between vineyard trips, as it is certainly a sight to behold. You can even go up to the summit, which is definitely worth it for the views alone - as well as the rather unique aspect. Mount Vesuvius is actually a live volcano, with its last eruption having taken place during World War II 1944. But don't let that put you off, as it really is a fantastic, once in a lifetime place to visit. It would be a great shame not to have this experience while you are so close to one of the world's most iconic volcanoes.
Now, to turn to the wine, which is one of the main attractions of this region and reason enough on its own to make a visit. There are three important white grapes harvested in this area: Falanghina which makes the fruitiest dry whites, Fiano which balances fruit and crispness, and Greco which is used to make fine, crisp dry whites. Make sure you give them all a try if white is your drink of choice, as they are all very different taste experiences.
The main red wine grape in this area is Aglianico which was used in Roman times to make their prized Falernian wine. It is full-bodied with high acidity and high tannin - which is an extract from the plant. These wines should definitely be teamed up with a delicious meal from the local cuisine to taste it at its best. As serious wine enthusiasts will discover, it’s similar to the style of the famed rich Italian wine, Barolo.
Rolling hills, castles and hilltop villages characterise the heart of the beautiful Campanian wine region, which encompasses the picturesque towns of Avellino, Benevento and Taurasi. Make sure you explore the surrounding area while you're here, as it really is a beautiful place, filled with stunning landscapes and plenty of wildlife.
The charming little hilltop villages are perfect showcases of the traditional Italian way of life which is still how the local people live here. While you can lose yourself - and track of time - while you meander around these picture-postcard pretty villages, remember that you are in one of the most improved wine regions in Italy. The wine made from the Aglianico grape cultivated around and about the village of Taurasi has received many awards and accolades among Italian vintners, so is definitely one to sample.
The best Fiano wines come from Avellino. The modern winery, Feudi di San Gregorio, is the perfect place to try the region's deliciously rich Pietracalda. Aside from Fiano, they make a wide selection of excellent wines, including a fine sparkling Greco called Dubl+.
It is a great idea to pre-book a meal here for the perfect pairing experience at Marennà, which presents guests with creative Michelin-starred Italian cuisine. As they say, when in Italy...
For a contrasting experience, Cantine Guastaferro in Taurasi produces wines named after the region. This tiny estate farm is home to very old vines, and their Guastaferro Primum Riserva is the most amazingly complex Taurasi. It’s made from the Aglianico grape, with Taurasi being one of few areas that produces the variety. Riservas are also barrel-aged for longer to give the wine that extra dimension.
Another producer of note is Tenuta Cavalier Pepe Tenuta. Like Feudi, this producer makes a huge range of wines, each as delicious and sinfully drinkable as the next. Its Greco di Tufo Nestor is a silky and refined dry white, while Sanserino is a delicious and juicy red blend of the Aglianico grape, softened by the fusion with 30 per cent Sangiovese. The estate’s romantic La Collina restaurant has wonderful views of the vineyards and serves up great local dishes to celebrate the perfect finish to your Italian getaway.
Italy is a great place to visit if you are a wine enthusiast, as there are so many different varieties to taste. Not only that, but Italy is one of the best destinations for foodies, so you can pair the wines with some delicious dishes to really get the most out of them.
As well as food and drink, the wine regions are always beautiful, showcasing truly stunning countryside landscapes, so it is worth getting out and about during your visit to take in the local towns to see what they have to offer. It will make for a fantastic holiday.
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