Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Campanian Whites Bring Pleasure to the Table

Campania is an Italian region that encompasses Naples and the coastline and inland to the south. The region is home to a number of indigenous varieties that are still being produced today.

At a dinner at Hotel il Molino as part of the International Wine Tourism Conference fam trip, I had the good fortune to dine at their chic and modern restaurant, sampling their chef's fine cuisine with a number of Campania wines.

The menu was exceptional: crispy polenta with a beef meatball, squid sausage on toasted bread with a pizzaiola sauce, tortello of caciocavallo cheese (a local specialty) with a cream of Paestum artichokes, slow cooked Marchigiano beef with carmelized onions.  This fine meal, made with locally sourced ingredients, was served alongside a host of local wines.

While a rule of thumb in the wine world is often whites to the north, reds to the south, the southern clime of Campania is perfect for growing wonderful indigenous white wine grapes.  Two of the wines stood out to me that luxurious evening.  The 2010 Fiano d'Avellino from Terredora winery was round on the palate, with peaches, lemons, and intoxicating floral aromas.  The 2009 Fiorduva from the Marisa Cuomo winery was also a stand-out. This wine is a blend of Fenile, Ginestra, and Ripoli. The grapes all grow on Dolomitic calcareous rocks on terraced vineyards that face the Mediterranean Sea.  The Fiorduva had a lemony zing that complemented the squid sausage magnificentlly.

With summer coming, look for the white wines of Campania to cool off. This distinctive, flavorful wines will make you forget about Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs and give your mouth a reason to celebrate.

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