It is enought to meet Mario Mazzitelli once to become best friends and breathe his energy even before trying his wines including the beautiful Quartara: Fiano vinified in amphora, an orange wine (wines obtained by the maceration on the skins) born before the category became so “fashion”.
Mario Mazzitelli was born as oenologist: degree in Food Technology Sciences, Master in viticulture and oenology and a certain experience in different territories; until in 2001 he decided to launch his own activity in Giffoni Valle Piana, a few steps from the Gulf of Salerno in Campania region, Southern Italy: Lunarossa vini e passione. Here it works on 6 hectares (15 acres) of vineyards ranging from 100 to 300 m a.s.l. and produces its wines with the advices of Sebastiano Fortunato. “Marine wines” he says because the vines breathe the sea breeze of the coast of Salerno while feeding on clay soils, the same clay used to produce the famous ceramics of Vietri (Sa). We are in the area of the appellation IGT Colli di Salerno that I hope will soon be transformed or absorbed in a DOC focused on Salerno area, not for the recognition itself, but to make order in the South of Campania (probably best known for the heroic wines of Amalfi Coast or perhaps those of the tourist Cilento area), which is doing very well and would deserve better recognition and visibility. The grape varieties are first and foremost the two most representative ones of the area: the red Aglianico and the white Fiano, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Primitivo, Santa Sofia and Falanghina.
All of his wines are the result of his true passion, carefully managed, expressive and pleasant out of any rhetoric but I will focus on the 2 most representative ones: Quartara and Borgomastro.
QUARTARA Fiano Colli di Salerno IGT
As anticipated, it is the Fiano vinified in amphora, which takes its name from these special amphoras called “quartare“: terracotta containers of ancient origins. Fiano grapes are macerated on the skins (a practice that gives character and often a deeper color), fermented and partially matured in amphora before being matured in wood and aged in bottle for almost a year. It looks like a perfect alchemy to me given the balance between territory-winemaking-tasting, especially in the most recent version with less oxidation.
- Vintage 2011: till this vintage he pushed the oxidation so the colour is (still) quite deep. On the nose: spices, dried apricot, pastry, and lime peel. On the palate is full and enveloping with a long finish that recalls toasted notes that brings me back to the variety. Good acidity
- Vintage 2012: it seems to have found its perfect balance, definitely bright with a golden tone. Intense and full on the nose with hints of honey but also candied orange, white pepper, hazelnut and a balsamic touch. The sip is coherent and rhythmic thanks a perfect coexistence between primary notes (bergamot) and tertiary ones (almost medicinal), fine wine with a long finish. I love it.
BORGOMASTRO Aglianico Colli di Salerno IGT 2007
Long maceration and maturation in oak and chestnut barrels. Deep ruby color with a deep bouquet articulated with notes of licorice, dark-cherry, sour cherries, black pepper and cocoa. Austere, coherent and typical. Enveloping and with great potential for ageing. Wait the right time before opening the bottle to get all its personality that will surely conquer you.
Mario’s passion for his territory is also demonstrated by UVA project (Unione Vignaioli Associati) aimed to keep alive the wine-growing tradition of this area around Picentini Mountains through the recovery of small vineyards that risk to remain unused or not properly promoted.