Galardi Roccamonfina Terra di Lavoro (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2003
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The family-owned Galardi estate produces just one wine and it does so with perfection. Located on volcanic slopes in northwestern Campania, the vineyards are nestled among chestnut groves and benefit from Mediterranean Sea breezes. Terra di Lavoro actually means “land of work” in Italian, a name that has historical roots, but also accurately reflects the difficult volcanic soil composition which results in very low yields. In this challenging environment, Aglianico and its supporting grape Piedirosso produce wines of incredible depth, complexity and elegance.
Galardi is both concept and wine born out of the collective energy and shared vision of four cousins. Terro di Lavoro expresses the natural environment of Campania without parallel. The winery, named for the localita (area) Galardi, was created from scratch in 1991 when four cousins decided to produce wine from what was then a scant 0.5 hectare plot belonging to the family. The cousins, Maria Lusia Murena, Arturo and Dora Celentano, and Francesco Castello, shared a vision for producing a world class wine from Roccamonfina, an extinct volcano, 100 kilometers north and west of Campania's traditional quality zone of Taurasi. In 1993, the group requested the assistance of winemaking consultant Riccardo Cotarella, who had already achieved fame for his work with another Campanian estate: Montevetrano. The old rootstock was grafted over to high-quality cuttings of Aglianico and Piedirosso and in 1994, 600 bottles were produced and Galardi was born.
A winemaking renaissance is underfoot in Campania as more and more small, artisan and family-run wineries redefine their style with vineyard improvements and cellar upgrades. The region boasts a cool Mediterranean climate with extreme coastal, as well as high elevation mountain terroirs. It is cooler than one might expect in Campania; the region usually sees some of the last harvest dates in Italy.
Just south of Mount Vesuvio, the volcanic and sandy soils create aromatic and fresh reds based on Piedirosso and whites, made from Coda di Volpe and Falanghina. Both reds and whites go by the name, Lacryma Christi, meaning the "tears of Christ." South of Mount Vesuvio, along the Amalfi Coast, the white varieties of Falanghina and Biancolella make fresh, flirty, mineral-driven whites, and the red Piedirosso and Sciasinoso vines, which cling to steeply terraced coastlines, make snappy and ripe red wines.
Farther inland, as hills become mountains, the limestone soil of Irpinia supports the whites Fiano di Avellino, Falanghina and Greco di Tufo as well as the most-respected red of the south, Aglianico. Here the best and most age-worthy examples come from Taurasi.
Farther north and inland near the city of Benevento, the Taburno region also produces Aglianico of note—called Aglianico del Taburno—on alluvial soils. While not boasting the same heft as Taurasi, these are also reliable components of any cellar.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.