This May, each Sunday, in Taurasi, the lovely town located in Campania region (southern Italy), is possible to join a lively initiative: a tour of the old town center and taste the local wines such as the fine red Taurasi.
It is an initiative of 2 local wineries: Cantine Lonardo and Antico Castello which have grasped the importance of getting together to promote the territory especially an eccellent one such as Irpinia as it is called this area in the inland of Campania, province of Avellino.
On May the 15th I have join them to focus on their version of Taurasi, a wine which is highly appreciated even abroad.
We began with a visit of the old “starseto” own by Lonardo wine family: the ancient and rare training system; it is located in Case d’Alto area where Lonardo family produces a cru (wine produced by a single vineyard) called “Vigne d’alto” as you can read on the labels. The starseto system distinguishes the local landscape with tall vines in order to leave some space to other cultivations (see pic). Ms. Antonella Lonardo and her husband Flavio, look after it also thanks their archeological education which carries them to discover old varieties such as Grecomusc, a unique white wine which is gaining a certain fame and I’ll taste very soon to share my impressions!
Afterwards we visited Antico Castello winery with Romano family, the owners, before approaching a wonderful vertical tasting: well 12 Taurasi, 6 per winery, led by the Italian wine and food critic ms. Marina Alaimo, professional and meticulous as usual.
I am happy to share my impressions but first of all I like to remember that Taurasi is a prestigious wine made of
Aglianico, the famous grape of this region; Taurasi matures in wood, it has a good concentration and presence of tannins: local producers manage to keep it powerful and balanced at the same time.
- Taurasi docg o4 by Cantine Lonardo
The color introduces to this concentrated and rich wine. The bouquet is typical with hints of cherry and black pepper. When you taste it, it’s powerful but never aggressive, fresh enough to let us wait for some years more.
- Taurasi docg 05 by Cantine Lonardo
The winery introduces tonneaux which contributes in making this wine elegant and intriguing. The bouquet is refreshing with a touch of locorice, small red fruits and dark spices. The taste is sober, long enough with a smoky finish.
- Taurasi docg “Vigne d’alto” 07 by Cantine Lonardo
The regular conditions of this vintages is evident in the glass. The bouquet is characterized by a floreal note also accompanied by blueberry and an animal touch. Round and intriguing but it is not ready to express itself yet, warmer (meaning that the alcool is more evident) because of the hit.
- Taurasi docg “Vigne d’alto” 08 by Cantine Lonardo
A still young wine with notes of red oranges as well as iodine and ash, another typical characteristic of this wine because of the ash layer caused by the influence of the close volcano (Vesuvio). The taste is typical as well, straight and elegant, still lively.
- Taurasi docg “Vigne d’alto” 09 by Cantine Lonardo
Although the difficult conditions of this vintage, I find this wine absolutely intriguing; at the nose is still a little bit closed, the range of the spices includes sweet ones too, ash again and mushrooms. Very pleasant in the mouth with a long finish which reminds red fruits, elegant and fine.
- Taurasi docg “Vigne d’alto” 11 by Cantine Lonardo
I have loved this one too with a strong touch of aromatic herbs, star anice, juniper. It is quite young although the age, the freshness is integrated.
Those have been wines characterized by a good concentration and respondent to the territory, I have appreciated their finesse and coherence.
The style changes when we started to taste wines by Antico Castello winery. The owners are young and professional, they offer a new point of view for the production of Taurasi as they are located in a different town, not common for the production of this wine. Their style is more agile.
- Taurasi docg 06 by Antico Castello
A regular vintage which donates cherry notes along with chilly and toasted coffee beans. Somehow less bodied also because the vines were quite young at that time but the wine is quite ready to be enjoyed.
- Taurasi docg 07 by Antico Castello
The maturation happened in big barrels this time and this is reflected by a fruity bouquet made of blueberry as well as black pepper and clove, very welcoming. Lighter and lively when you taste it, you cannot imagine its age if you do not read it on the label!
- Taurasi docg 08 by Antico Castello
A welcoming bouquet made of red fruits and raspberry in particular, along with spices and a balsamic touch in the end. The taste is coherent, juicy, another fresh and delicate wine given such a variety.
- Taurasi docg 10 by Antico Castello
A difficult vintage which make this wine different compared to the previous ones. Deeper with a mineral touch, tomato leaves and cocoa powder. Less round for sure.
- Taurasi docg 11 by Antico Castello
The next 2 vintages are still not available on the market and surely young. The bouquet is intriguing with coffee notes as well as chocolate, aromatic herbs and then a small red fruit which come to stay! Still lively.
- Taurasi docg 12 by Antico Castello
Flowers and undergrowth as well as wet ground. Strangely more ready than the previous one, the tannins are all there but well managed.