The path of Milena Pepe (owner of Tenuta Cavalier Pepe In southern Italy) has fascinated us on several occasions: the Belgian blonde woman with a French accent approaches the vines of Irpinia area (inland of Campania region) on which her father invested with foresight, combining charm and determination, competence and femininity. A recipe that has led to a certain notoriety and that is also good for the whole territory, a land in constant growth with still so much potential to be exploited.
In a rather defined framework that in a total production of about 300,000 bottles includes sparkling wines, the classic DOC and DOCG wines of the territory together with the less known white Coda di Volpe, yet specialties such as tasty “Cerry Merry” (Aglianico and black cherries) and the reserves that, beyond the famous red Taurasi, see also the local whites – Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino – refine in wood, the focus remains on native vines with increasing elegance. The different expressions respect the territory also offering finesse and an immediate character even on difficult varieties such as the king of the area: Aglianico, well known for tannins and power.
So Milena, along with her wise consultant Gennaro Reale, is able to amaze me from time to time thanks to a rising refinement across the entire line. Here are some short notes about my last tastings.
- Lila 2017 is a Falanghina Irpina where the local character directly impacts on this variety (the white Falanghina) that is more popular in the close production area: Sannio. It offers a hint of citrus fruit which combines to a mineral-savory character and a body that makes it more decisive. Indeed, I find out that it is harvested at the end of October (Uncommon in Sannio).
- Grancare and Brancato 2017 (respectively from the precious and notorious white varieties Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino) now refined in oak only for the 30% of the total mass, have achieved extraordinary elegance and balance, with great texture and persistence for “Brancato”, mature fruits, coherence and typicity for “Grancare”.
- The same finesse that I find in Santo Stefano, the Aglianico of the Campi Taurasini sub-zone, 2013: well developed fruity and welcoming on the nose with hints of chocolate and laurel, slim enough and harmonious on the palate. One of my favorites of the all line.
- The two Taurasi are absolutely in line: “Opera Mia” 2013 and the reserve “La Loggia del Cavaliere” 2012, the first is juicy and savory while offering body and personality, the second dense and powerful with enormous potential.
A path to follow carefully. A company to keep an eye on.