Harry Haff
Harry Haff
Member Since 2012
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Harry Haff

ChefEducatorWine Pro  /  Food and wine pairing.

Campania 2 1

Yesterday I mentioned the lack of respect Camapnia gets on the food and wine circuit around the world. And, really, this is tough to fathom, with its long and august history of being THE place in Italy to have a villa or buy your wines. it seems in some ways to have devolved into the Rodney Dangerfield of Italian wine and food areas.

When we talk of the food, we are speaking of an area that has been known for citrus fruits, and that wonderful liquer limoncello,  fresh produce, olives and olive oil for thousands of years as well as high quality wheat for pasta of all kinds.. Seafood has always been abundant and where would civilization be without Neoplitan pizza? As an aside, there is a recent DOC for wood fired pizza known as Pizza Margharita with its own requirements for locality, crust, using only a wood fired oven and a specific variety of tomato and mozzarella from the area.

The wines have been there for the food, sometimes, probably, taken for granted. This is something that is changing in Cammpania with some producers striving for wines of very high quality and price, but on a broader scale there are others who can produce wine of excellent quality at reasonable prices. This is due in part to three things: money to buy winemaking technology; increased interest in improving overall quality; a region that is ideal for wine growing with lots of sun, wonderful volcanic soil (some limestone as well) a varied terrain that allows for some pretty high altitude vineyards.

The grapes traditionally of the area are still with us. Yesterday I mentioned the aglianico grape for idiomatic red wines of the area. This produces a medium bodied wine than can be quite versatile, pairing well with well seasoned foods up to and including wild game.

Fiano is a grape for white wine dating, also, back to Roman times. Some think the fiano was used in the sought after ancient Roman wine Apianum. It produces a wine that is aromatinc and is the grape for the DOCG of Fiano di Avellino. In fact, the word Apianum is allowed to appear on the label of these DOCG wines.

Piedirosso is a red wine grape with its  name deriving from the red color of       the lower end of the vine said to resemble the red feet of the local pigeons! Sciascianoso is the red that is for the area's most famous red wine, Lacrime Christi. Withg a very deep color, it can be used for blending with other varieties and for roses.

Greco is one of the ancient varieties brought by the Greeks thousands of years ago and can produce wines of light to medium body, crisp and aromatic. 

And there is falanghina, a grape that produces wine with a honeyed aroma not unlike semillon and is mentioned by Pliny the Elder and could be the wine of Falernum fame, the most highly prized wine of ancient Rome.

As more and more growers and wine makers explore the possibility of the wines I think the wines and food of Campania will earn the respect of people around the world. It is an area that links the ancient world with ours and has a future to look forward to.

Photo is a Roman wine bar in Pompeii where it looks like my wife showed up a tad late for service!

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