Campania: a wine lover's travel guide
What are the main wine-growing areas of Campania?
Vineyards are scattered across the entire area of the region: the coast and the islands house a good quantity of them yet the largest surface under vine lies in areas on the foothills of Appennine like Irpinia and Sannio. Many of Campania’s most prestigious producers practice mountain viticulture, owning plots lying over 600 above sea level in inland areas or on steep, windswept ridges overlooking the Thyrrenian sea.
That is the main reason why the wines of Campania usually defy stereotypes about Southern Italian wines being bold and freshness-challenged – the whites in particular rank among Italy’s brightest and most refined, often drawing parallels to the best examples from the North.
- Irpinia: corresponding to the province of Avellino, this area in the pre-Apennine houses the region’s most important denominations for white wine – Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino – and the Taurasi DOCG, producing bold and age-worthy Aglianico.
- Sannio: the largest wine district in the region, lying on the foothills of the Apennine and close to the border with Molise. Falanghina, Fiano and Greco are the key grapes, giving lighter and more easy-drinking wines than in Irpinia.
- Taburno: a specific subzone in the Sannio area giving fine expressions of Aglianico that are slightly gentler and more approachable in their youth than Taurasi – while still possessing substantial palate weight.
- Costa d’Amalfi: the world-famous slopes of the Amalfi coast house a few small wineries specializing in white wine from the above-mentioned grapes.
- Cilento / Paestum: the southernmost area in Campania, Cilento boasts highly diversified geography, with vineyards lying further inland giving zesty, high-acid Greco and Fiano, while parcels on hills overlooking the sea give riper and more Mediterranean whites and fruit-forward Aglianico, drinking well at an earlier stage than Taurasi.
- Penisola Sorrentina: awe-inspiring terraced vineyards giving a number of different wines, including Gragnano, a sparkling red blend of Aglianico, Piedirosso and the rare Sciascinoso grape, often referred to as a “fuller-bodied Lambrusco”. Gragnano and Pizza Margherita (with tomato sauce, fiordilatte mozzarella and basil) in yet another wine match made in heaven.
- Falerno del Massico / Roccamonfina: the area in the province of Caserta corresponding to the ancient Ager Falernum, boasting a volcanic terroir that yields full-bodied versions of Falanghina and rich and spicy reds from Aglianico or Primitivo grapes.
- Ischia: Italy’s third largest island houses a good quantity of vineyards, among which the Biancolella variety finds a top-notch terroir, giving exuberantly Mediterranean wines.
- Capri: the world-famous island of Capri boasts its own DOC, currently spanning six hectares. White wines take center stage – especially Biancolella and Falanghina.
List of Campania’s DOCGs:
- Greco di Tufo
- Fiano di Avellino
- Aglianico del Taburno