Irpinia is, without a doubt, a great land for red wine (but also for white wines). Also known as the province of Avellino, north of Naples, it’s the home of Aglianico, its most important red vine and the source of the most structured wines on the market. Such grapes are particularly suited for cultivation in the Taurasi Docg territory, which employs them in order to produce an excellent southern Italian red wine: the Taurasi, which some oenological critics have described as “Barolo of the South”.
Furthermore, Irpinia is also a focal point of interesting and highly creative initiatives, born from the association between the (very determined) winemakers operating in the area. A few short years back three Irpinian wineries – Ra.Ro, De Gaeta and Stefania Barbot – joined together to form a mini consortium under the name “Comuni nel Vino” (Common in Wine): in recent months they toured Italy and made their best wines known in the whole country.
Their motto reads: “’Comuni nel Vino’ is about a shared passion: creating wines that reflect the beauty of their homeland”.
Today I’d like to introduce you to a wine which, in my opinion, towers above all others, It’s a red wine produced by the Stefania Barbot company: Irpinia Campi Taurasini “ION” 2013.
Its area of origin is the DOC Campi Taurasini, a subdivision of the DOC Irpinia, and the vine belongs to the aforementioned Aglianico variety.
“Ion” is ancient Greek for “violet”, a clear reference to the wine’s colour and taste.
The tasting. At first smell I can appreciate balsamic aromas, plum, pink pepper and red orange: it’s quite a fruity wine! They are quickly followed by the pleasant aromas of violet and peony. It’s silky smooth to the palate at first, very fresh and savoury, then building up to a crescendo of flavor, with excellent quality and long-lived tannins. It’s a superb southern red, sophisticated and well balanced despite its 14,5% alcohol per volume (2013 was a particularly hot year!). This great Aglianico wine can be satisfyingly drunk as soon as 12 months after the initial harvest.
Every year about 5.000 bottles are made. The grapes are cultivated by the oenologist Vincenzo Mercurio, who works for the three “Comuni nel Vino” wineries (which also share a website) and decided to adhere to biological farming methods.
The Stefania Barbot winery is named after its owner, a Friuli native who moved to Irpinia to be close to her Neapolitan husband, Erminio Spiezia, who shares her passion for winemaking. The vines themselves are found in Paternopoli, in the Cerreto area: about 3 hectares on a small plateau around 450 meters in altitude, sitting on clay-limestone deposits from volcanic sediments. Vines derived from 50-year old strains, still cultivated according to the old Irpinian “starsete” system, grow here, right next to the newer pruned-spur cordon-trained plants.
Some technical details: spurred cordon, 5,ooo kgs per hectare yiled, harvest between late October and early November. Vinification: 20 days in stainless steel tanks, then aging in stainless steel.
Retail price: € 19 – $ 20. My rating: 89/100.
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