Grapes have been grown in the fertile soil of Campania since ancient times, and one of the pleasures of traveling through this region in southern Italy is the chance to discover the unique varieties of wine produced in this area. From the rolling hillsides in the provinces of Benevento and Avellino to the steeply terraced vineyards of the Amalfi Coast and the islands of Capri and Ischia to the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius, the wines of Campania are as varied as the landscape. Enjoy locally made wines during your holiday, especially since they pair wonderfully with the regional foods of Campania.
There are many excellent regional wines made in Campania, but here are five classic wines of Campania wines to try during your travels in this scenic region of southern Italy.
The variety of red grapes called Aglianico is one of the most widespread in southern Italy, and it reaches perfection in the climate and terrain of Campania. Aglianico grapes are grown throughout the region, and are made into rich and full-bodied wines. They are also the base for the superb Taurasi DOCG wines made in the province of Avellino, the Falerno del Massico DOC wines produced in the province of Caserta and the Aglianico del Taburno DOC wines from the province of Benevento.
Two varieties of Falanghina grapes are grown throughout the region of Campania, and both make excellent, crisp white wines. One of Italy’s oldest grape varieties, and cultivated in Campania since ancient Roman times, Falanghina is the white wine of the region. Its slightly sweet and fruity features make it the perfect white wine to serve with fish, pasta or even as a summer aperitivo. You’ll find it in its pure form, such as the fine Taburno Falanghina DOC, and also blended to make the excellent Falerno del Massico and the regional wines produced on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento and the island of Capri.
3. Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio
Biblical stories of heaven, hell and Lucifer’s fall are often told to explain the origin of the evocative name Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, which means Christ’s Tears at Vesuvius. This name is used to describe the red, white and rosé wines made with grapes grown on the slopes of the volcano Mt. Vesuvius just outside of Naples. The red wine is a blend of Piedirosso, Sciascinoso and Aglianico grapes, while the whites are made with Verdeca, Coda di Volpe and Falanghina grapes.
One of Campania’s most distinct wines is made with the Piedirosso grapes, which are grown throughout the region. Also called Per’e Palummo in Neapolitan dialect, these deep purple grapes received their unusual name, which means “red feet,” since the skin color of the grapes is reminiscent of the color of pigeon feet. While that idea might not sound so appetizing, the wines made with this grape are a Campania specialty. The grapes are blended to make the Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio and the Lettere and Gragnano DOC wines made on the Sorrento Peninsula. The grapes are also used to make the Costa d’Amalfi DOC wines grown on the Amalfi Coast.
5. Greco di Tufo
While I am not a wine expert – just an avid enthusiast! – I couldn’t write this list without including Greco di Tufo, a crisp white wine from Campania that is one of my personal favorites. On a warm summer day on the Amalfi Coast, this is a refreshing aperitivo while preparing dinner, and it makes an excellent accompaniment with fish and other traditional seafood recipes of Campania.
There are many more regional wines to discover during your holiday in Campania, and I hope this list inspires you to try local wines during your travels in southern Italy.
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