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Wine


The cultivation of grapevines in the region of Campania dates back to prior to the twelfth century B.C. It was a period in which the Etruscans, and later the Greeks, began to take over this land from the North and the Centre. These peoples soon understood that by improving the cultivation techniques of the grapevine, they could produce a fruit with very interesting characteristics. From this plant they could make a unique, delicious and intoxicating beverage.
A spread in the cultivation of grapevines of high quality followed. They were of such quality that during the Roman era, some wines from Campania were served at Patrician and Senatorial tables. At the time they were judged to be among the most renowned.
Horace wrote of four of the best wines produced: Cecubo, Caleno, Falerno and Formiano. Varro, in his agricultural treatise, judged Falerno to be the best wine while later Pliny sustained that the laurel wreath of victory should go to Cecubo while Falerno merited only “secunda nobilitas”, or the silver medal.
But with the passing of the centuries, many such wines had a tendency to disappear, and others to appear. During the Roman Empire wines such as Sezze, a favourite of Augustus Caesar’s, made names for themselves.
The fall of the Empire and the beginning of the Middle Ages mark the start of a deep agricultural crisis. This crisis was common to all the regions of Italy, and cultivations faded towards simple subsistence.
In the tenth century, the agricultural sector had a resurgence due to new feudal powers, both ecclesiastical and laic, which thought to extract higher profits from the land.
Sante Lancerio described thirty-three wines, of which fourteen were produced in the Kingdom of Naples. Of these fourteen, some, such as Faustiniano, were already noteworthy and famous during the Roman Era. The Greco di Somma wine (golden, potent, rich in curative properties), the Greco di Posillipo, Greco d’Ischia and Greco di Torre are all mentioned. Other wines mentioned are Latino Bianco from Torre del Greco, Mezzacane (red and white) from Bico and Sorrento, Coda di Volpe, from Nola, the red Mangiaguerra from Castellamare and the reds and rosÚs of Salerno.
Giambattista Porta highlights the proof of this flourishing cultivation of grapevines in Campania in the seventh volume of Villae Libri XII. The seventeenth century saw a decline, not so much in quality and quantity as in fame. At that time, the vine growing landscape was altered by the prevalence of certain grapevines over others, such as Aglianico, Mangiaguerra, Piede and Greco.
At the end of the nineteenth century, Campania became known among the regions of Italy as a centre for the exportation of common wines to Latin America and no longer as a producer of highly famed wines.
The names Falerno and Faustiniano are mentioned less and less frequently in the writings of scholars of Campania, while other wines of a lesser class, such as Asprinio, are mentioned more and more. Asprinio in particular stands out for its characteristics: It is quite full-bodied and poor in alcohol. It has a straw yellow colour, tends towards being sparkling and is suitable for being transformed into spumante.
With the passing of the decades, the vine growing landscape changed again with the appearance of other wines such as Greco, Aglianico and Lacrima. The vineyards of Campania underwent a final change after the invasion of the leaf lice, so much so that the distribution of the vineyards brought about a certain alienation from the vines. This was advantageous for other types of cultivation, such as that of grains and vegetables, which were more lucrative and easier to carry out.
But even today the climate and fertility of the land allow for a discreet production of wine in the region. The wine is predominantly white, which goes well with a cuisine based, for the most part, on fish and vegetables.
The following list of DOC wines from Campania should be remembered, though it excludes the wines of smaller productions, which still, however, may produce excellent results.
CAPRI BIANCO has a straw yellow colour, a pleasing aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 11 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 8░ Celsius (40░ Fahrenheit) with starters, risotto, soup and fried fish. It has been classified as DOC since 14th December 1977.
CAPRI ROSSO has a ruby red colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 11.5 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 18░ Celsius (65░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with pasta, timbales, white meats and pork. It has been classified as DOC since14th December 1977.
FIANO D’AVELLINO has a straw yellow colour, an intense aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 11.5. It should be served at a temperature of 8░ Celsius (40░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with fish, starters and white meats. It has been classified as DOC since 29th August 1978.
GRECO DI TUFO has a golden, straw yellow colour, a pleasing aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of between 11.5 and 13 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 12░ Celsius (55░ Fahrenheit) with starters. It may also be spumante. It has been classified as DOC since 26th May 1970.
ISCHIA BIANCO has a straw yellow colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 11 percent. With a minimum alcohol content of 12 percent, it is classified as “Superiore.” It should be served at a temperature of 10░ Celsius (50░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with fish and crustaceans. It has been classified as DOC since 9th May 1966.
ISCHIA RED has an intense, ruby red colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of between 11.5 and 12.5 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 18░ Celsius (65░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with pasta, white meats and eggs. It has been classified as DOC since 9th May 1966.
LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO WHITE has a straw yellow colour, an intense aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 12 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 10░ Celsius (50░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with fish soups. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.
LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO ROSE’ has a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 12 percent and should be served at a temperature of 12░ Celsius (55░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal, or with starters and white meats. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.
LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO RED has an intense ruby red colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 12░. It should be served at a temperature of 16░ Celsius (60░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with red and white meats. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.
LACRYMA CHRISTI DEL VESUVIO LIQUEUR WINE has an amber yellow colour, an intense aroma and a sweet flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of between 11 and 13 percent. It should be served at a temperature between 18 and 20░ Celsius (65 and 68░ Fahrenheit) between meals or with dessert. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.
SOLOPAGA WHITE has a straw yellow colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 12 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 8░ Celsius (40░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with pasta, risotto and white and boiled meats. It has been classified as DOC since 30th January 1974.
SOLOPAGA RED has an intense, ruby red colour and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 11.5 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 18░ Celsius (65░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with roasted lamb. It has been classified as DOC since 30 January 1974.
TAURASI has an intense, ruby red colour, a distinctive aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 12 percent. When aged for four years, it is classified as “Riserva.” It should be served at room temperature with roasted meats. It has been classified as DOC since 25th May 1970.
VESUVIO WHITE has a light, straw yellow colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 11 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 8░ Celsius (40░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with seafood starters, soups, risotto and fish. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.
VESUVIO ROSE’ has a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 10.5░. It should be served at a temperature of 12░ Celsius (55░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with starters, timbales and fresh cheeses. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.
VESUVIO RED has a bright, full, ruby red colour, a vinous aroma and a dry flavour. It has a minimum alcohol content of 10.5 percent. It should be served at a temperature of 16░ Celsius (60░ Fahrenheit) throughout the meal or with roasted or stewed meats. It has been classified as DOC since 20th June 1983.

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