There may be several stages to discover a winery and its style. The first is clearly the tasting of its wines, the main element of course, but it’s not enough.
It is important to discover the production areas, to see the vineyards and talk to people who work them. If you then get the chance to really know the producer-and not only through a handshake- then you can understand more because you can read all the information not included on the label!
That’s what I try to do with my tours, my interviews and so on and last weekend I have been lucky to fully realize it with Nicola Venditti at his “Antica Masseria Venditti” in Benevento area in Campania region (south of Italy) where he produces about 65.000 bottles. Among his main wines: “Falanghina”, typical white of this area, the red “Barbera of Sannio area” different from the “Barbera” variety produced in Piedmont and “Aglianico”.
Nicola has organized its night harvest, the eighth edition, for a few people to manage it better.
The attention to detail, the hospitality of Nicola and his family, represent a few simple concepts. The usual passion and dedication. Trivial but fundamental, but not the ones declared on posters and websites by many wineries nowadays, I mean the real and proven ones.
We are less than 20 and we are greeted outside the farm for a presentation of the event and a tasting of a new line named “Assenza”, wine without sulfites. I was impressed, you can find online the several awards they got but today I want to tell you something behind the scenes.
The evening continues with an excellent dinner combined with different wines as well as an excellent oil. All the wines are truly good, clean, rich, with fine bouquet and full palate! My favorite ones were probably the whites and in particular the Blend named “Bacalàt” with its incredible complexity, the acidity typical of the “Falanghina” grape is softened by the other two grapes. And then the white “Assenza” (made of Falanghina grape which lives of its own personality! Its aromas varies glass by glass. We go on with “Game of the grape” after dinner. We have to play with dices and answer questions about wine and Venditti winery, brilliant! The prizes? The numbered bottles obtained from the harvest of the previous night harvest: 140 bottles that Nicola has packaged with old bags and equipped with a mini brochure containing the thoughts of the participants of the previous edition. The evening is over since we are going to wake up at 4.00 AM for the night harvest! And so it was: before 5.00 we are in the vineyard. Nicola turns the spotlight and we all -already armed with gloves, scissors, aprons and bandanas- are followed by the attentive staff of Nicola.
We picked white first and red then and we observed how they begin the process of each one in the cellar.
Around 7 AM we are ready for breakfast but the “farmer” one: prosciutto, cheeses, salads and wines of course, no pastry, no coffee! At this point Nicola gives us paper to leave our impressions.
Everything is perfect, everything has a logic, professionalism leaves space to fun, the game becomes instructive. But Nicola is not alone, there are his wife ‘Donna Lorenza’ a wonderful chef and an artist who realized the wine labels. And then his gays Andrea and Serena, thanks everybody for this wonderful experience.