Mastroberardino Naturalis Historia Taurasi 1999
Intense ruby red in color, with a full, complex and persistent bouquet of violet, berries and chocolate. 100% Aglianico, Naturalis Historia Taurasi has an enveloping warmth, smooth and perfectly structured with a characteristic background of plum, bitter cherry, raspberry and strawberry jam. This wine pairs excellently with game and sophisticated meat courses, as well as highly flavored, mature cheeses.
Mastroberardino is one of the leading wineries and wine families in all of Italy in terms of production, market impact, and innovation. This is one single family with a winemaking history which dates back to the early 18th century, and which is largely responsible for the viticultural success of Campania's remote Irpinia area. The Mastroberardino family have earned themselves a place in Italy’s viticultural history as a guardian and protector of indigenous grapes of Southern Italy’s Campania region. The family has not just worked to maintain these varieties, but Mastroberardino has successfully turned would-be extinct grapes into world class varieties. This work of transformation began in earnest after WWII when Antonio Mastroberardino returned to his family’s estate to find it in ruins-- the result of economic hardships, phylloxera, neglect and war. Antonio refused to let his family’s legacy fall to circumstance, however, and he worked tirelessly to restore the land he loved. The Mastroberardino family achieved this restorative transformatoin by replanting existing vineyards and purchasing the best land they could find to focus on revitalizing Campania’s three ancient varietals of Fiano, Greco, and Aglianico. The family first established itself in the town of Atripalda, some 30 km from Naples in the shadow of the infamous Mt. Vesuvius. Since then, ten generations have cultivated the neighboring land, maintaining their hard fought mission to protect the indigenous varieties and winemaking traditions native to Campania. For the Mastroberardino family, the revitalization of ancient Irpinian grapes was just the beginning. Today Mastroberardino’s production has grown to 14 wine estates across Campania, all situated in the heart of the three DOCG production areas of Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Taurasi. Here, they continue the family’s mission to preserve tradition while incorporating modern approaches to their winemaking and marketing practices. Antonio’s son Piero is now the 10th generation Mastroberardino to lead the winery, overseeing not just the business operations, but also a multitude of research projects, including classification, planting, and viticultural zoning across the entire region. In 1996 the winery’s work was further recognized when the Italian government selected Mastroberardino to manage the preservation of Pompeii’s ancient viticultural techniques at the Villa dei Misteri archaeological site. Here the winery carefully planted vines inside the Pompeii ruins following the plans and methods used by the Ancient Romans prior to the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 B.C. Proceeds from the sale of these unique wines support the restoration of the ancient wine cellar at Foro Bario, one of Pompeii’s most impressive archaeological sites. Today many Campania's top wines enjoy recognition among the finest wines in the world with much of this well-deserved reputation owing to the perseverance and cultural commitment of 10 generations of the Mastroberardino family.
Italian Red Wine
While picturesque hillsides, endless coastlines and a favorable climate serve to unify the grape-growing culture of this country. The apparent never-ending world of indigenous grape varieties gives Italy an unexampled charm and allure for its red wines. From the steep inclines of the Alps to the sprawling, warm, coastal plains of the south, red grape varieties thrive throughout.
The kings of Italy, wines like Barolo and Barbaresco (made of Nebbiolo), and Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino (made of Sangiovese), as well as Amarone (mostly Corvina), play center stage for the most lauded, collected and cellar-worthy reds. Less popular but entirely deserving of as much praise are the wines made from Aglianico, Sagrantino and Nerello Mascalese.
For those accustomed to drinking New World reds, the south is the place to start. Grapes like Negroamaro or Primitvo from Puglia and Nero d’Avola from Sicily make soft, ammicable, full-bodied, fruit-dominant wines. Curious palates should be on the lookout for Cannonau (Grenache), Lagrein, Teroldego, Ruché, Freisa, Cesanese, Schiopettino, Rossese and Gaglioppo to name a few.