Straw yellow, intense, persistent, appealing nose of white peach, apricots & sweet almonds on a mineral background melding into elegant, mellow complexity; rich, structured palate, fresh & characterful yet
never aggressive, with abundant sense of terroir.
Varietal: 100% Greco
Villa Matilde Winery
Over 3000 years ago, on the lavic, mineral-rich slopes near Mount Massico and the volcano of Roccamonfina, Greek settlers reinvented viticulture, adjusting cultivation methods to the climate and soil of their adoptive home. Where vine shoots had originally laid directly on the ground, it was in northwestern Campania they were first supported by wooden poles (falanga) above the soil. The resulting wine was to become the "immortal Falerno" sung by the great poets of ancient Rome. (The name, incidentally, comes from "falanga" rather than a particular variety: the varieties themselves being three, both white and red.)
In the 1950s and early 1960s, a successful lawyer named Francesco Paolo Avallone set out on a unique mission: bringing this favorite of emperors back to life. In synergy with the University of Naples, his research team found the best surviving vines and patiently grafted cuttings onto new rootstock. Decades of inspired and dedicated work ultimately bore splendid fruit: 20 original clones of Aglianico, Piedirosso (both red) and Falanghina (white), trademarked as Villa Matilde. Since the estate's first official vintage in 1976, these exclusive Villa Matilde clones have incarnated a red Falerno del Massico and its white brethren, direct descendants of those wines celebrated by Virgil and Horace.
All wines are nurtured by the unique microclimate and soil of Villa Matilde: volcanic, mineral-rich hills facing the Mediterranean sun and the sea (just minutes from the gorgeous Gulf of Gaeta), sheltered on three sides by the Massico mountain range. The range - covering no less than 95% of the appellation's entire production of Falerno del Massico! - is styled by Riccardo Cotarella with the founder's son and daughter, Salvatore "Tani" and Maria Ida Avallone.
The property's 173 acres under vine are divided into two farmsteads: Tenuta di San Castrese and Tenuta di Parco Nuovo, closer to the coast. Terrain on the former is a composition of lapilli, lava stone, piroclastic material, ash, and a particular, friable rock (locally called Tassone). Parco Nuovo, on the other hand, as coastal soil is mainly sandy, rich in iron silicates, potassium and phosphorus - best suited to the white Falanghina and other native grapes destined for future production. The principal estate, moreover, is flanked by properties in the Benevento and Avellino districts - respectively Rocca dei Leoni and Tenute di Altavilla.
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Home of the fashion capital of Milan, Lombardy is not quite Italy's capital of wine. It is, however, home to a few wines worth noting. Most vineyards are far north, far south or far east. First, in the south, the sparkling wine Franciacorta – this sparkling wine is made in the methode champagnoise and the better wineries produce wine that can hold it's own in a quality bubbly line up. Lugana, a pleasant, white wine made from Trebbiano, comes from Lombardy as well. Lean reds from the Nebbiolo grape are made further up in the Valtelliana region, near the Alps.
The region of Emilia-Romagna is better known for its food rather than wine. Most of the wine coming from this region is the red, slightly-fizzy Lambrusco. It's high in acid and best drunk young. The white coming out of the region is mostly Albana di Romagna. Made from the albana grape, it's typically dry and pleasant, although not found often.
Talk about being in the center of things… the land-locked region of Umbria is smack dab in the middle of the country. The most familiar white wine of the region is Orvieto, named for the medieval Etruscan town. It's a Trebbiano-based wine with good fruit flavors and high acid. Originally a sweet wine, most Orvietos are now dry. Red wine from Umbria includes Torgiano and Montefalco - Torgiano made from the grapes of Chianti, while Montefalco uses the native sagrantino grape, making big and bold reds.
This country has about as many wines as its had governments. With 20 different regions, hundreds of DOCs and even more indigenous varieties, the amount of wine made in Italy is mind-boggling. Most of the juice, however, remains in the country for thirsty Italians. Wine is food in Italy and its rare that a meal is consumed without a glass
of vino. That said, it's not common to find many folks drinking wine without food either. In turn, it's a match, and a mighty good one at that. In fact, it's safe to say that Italian wine is a foodie wine – one that goes on the table for a myraid of meals.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.