MASSERIA FRATTASI | Montesarchio, Campania

Pasquale Clemente in the vineyard at Masseria Frattasi.

Pasquale Clemente in the vineyard at Masseria Frattasi.

Pasquale Clemente is a man with a purity of spirit and contagious enthusiasm for the historic volcanic lands in the shadow of the "mighty" Mount Taburno, so described by Virgil in The Aeneid. Here, grapes have been growing since Roman times when the site of the ancient city of Caudium (now Montesarchio) was along the Appian Way. This storied piece of land, an hour northeast of Naples, is where Clemente's family has been making wine since 1779, although the lands have been continuously farmed for over 700 years. This makes Masseria Frattasi one of the oldest wineries in Italy. It is in this magical place in the southern Apennines where, at a dizzying and windy 500 to 920 metres above sea level, old native grape varieties are nurtured and protected, then turned into some of the most expressive wines we've ever tasted from some of Southern Italy's highest vineyards.

To say that there is biodiversity in the blocks is an understatement. The grapes here (some on vines firmly dated at 200 years old and tied with lengths of red willow grown for this purpose) are interspersed with green fields, among forests of ancient oak and chestnut trees. Here too are blackberries, nuts, ferns, wild fennel and mint, butcher's broom, olive groves, and other fruits. There is an olive tree on the property dated at approximately 1000 years old, and it's still producing olive oil today. This natural harmony in the vineyard is a signature of Masseria Frattasi's approach in the winery too – a commitment to naturally made wines, from grapes grown without chemical inputs and left to express themselves with minimal intervention from the winemaker. 
The altitude, climate, and geological history in this part of Italy make for a variety of conditions that suit the different grapes that Pasquale grows. The warmer and poorer clay soils at lower altitudes are suitable for Muscat, the volcanic and marl soils further up with their rich mineral composition help preserve the acid, texture, and aroma in the various native white varieties here, like Falanghina, Fiano, Greco, and Coda di Volpe. Nearby the white calcareous rocky soil and the sandstone provide an ideal home for the signature black grape that grows here – Aglianico. Masseria Frattasi makes both an early-drinking and more approachable style of Aglianico, their Caudium, and also a richer, more concentrated and cellar-worthy style, the Iovi Tonant. A traditionally-made 100% appassimento style is also made, called Kapnios, where a selection of grapes is left to dry on mats for a month before being pressed and vinified, then aged for a few more years on the property before being released.

Pasquale's constancy and sincerity are perfect metaphors for the land he farms and the wines he shares with the world. He was born to make wine from this place. He is that wild mountain farmer and winemaker purely dedicated to producing the best and most terroir-driven wines he can from his native land. When he shares his wines he is sharing a piece of himself, his heart, and his home.

POGGIO DELLE BACCANTI | Sant’Antonio Abate, Campania

Raffaele La Mura in the cellar.

Raffaele La Mura in the cellar.

"Poggio delle Baccanti", was born as an evolution of the La Mura winery which was founded in the fifties by Raffaele La Mura, the current Raffaele’s grandfather, born in 1924.

Raffaele, son of a winemaker, began at a young age to produce and market wine with his brother Paolo. Having accumulated the necessary experience, he subsequently decided to set up his own business, taking an interest in the various grape varieties of Campania and devoting himself to the production of Gragnano and Vesuvian wines. Poggio delle Baccanti is located a few kilometres south of Pompeii, very close to the Gulf of Naples.

With the generational shift, the techniques were continuously refined and the equipment modernized. The current administrators of the winery, son Giovanni and nephew Raffaele (current winemaker), are working hard to continue the sustainable growing, production and delivery of their wines.

Strong in tradition and with the enthusiasm of the new generations, "Poggio delle Baccanti" dedicates more and more energy to the production and preservation of the typical vines of the area.

Aware of the importance of the territory and of the territoriality, this company aims not only to re-propose the products of the area, but to re-propose a philosophy of life, thus trying to perfect the union between land and man. Currently, the La Mura family is engaged in the production of five indigenous varietals as well as the traditional wines of the Sorrento Peninsula, Vesuvius and recently also of Capri, paying much attention also to the typical products with which to accompany them and promote them.