In 2003, when I was thirty, I left Milan and my job as an investment banker to resume an activity that had been given up by my grandfather and mother, which was to them little more than a hobby: winemaking. Since my mother’s last harvest, in 1987, the world had changed and viticulture made no exception. That’s why I had to start from scratch, or nearly so. I bought new land, replanted obsolete vineyards, built a modern cellar, selected an oenologist who shared my same view of wine and worked side by side with my workers on the farmland to understand its dynamics and complexities.
On our farm in the Sannio area, we now have 12 hectares of vineyards and a 5-hectare olive grove, treated under organic agricultural methods. I took a gamble on the Campania heritage of grape varieties, as I believe that the peculiarity of a territory is its wealth, especially in a global economy.
Our wines and extra virgin olive oils are made with our grapes and olives only. Attending to the whole production process allows us to guarantee its quality and consistency over time.
Sannio is an area of Campania almost unknown to most people and off the typical tourist trails. Although located at just 45 miles from Naples, Sannio is quite different from the Campania stereotypes as to culture, climate and morphology: a rural land with vineyards and olive groves extending as far as the eye can see. Standing at the Apennines’ foot, it borders Campania, Apulia and Molise. Vines, imported from Greece, spread over the whole Magna Graecia area and therefore also in Campania. Wine produced in this area was the most widely drunk in Rome coming through Pompeii market until the fatal eruption of Vesuvius in AD 79, that obliterated Pompeii and put an end to its worldwide trades.
After 2000 years, Sannio boasts about 10,000 hectares of vineyards and produces 1.2 million litres of wine, representing 45% of Campania's overall production, equally divided between whites and reds.
We have harsh winters, scorching summers, abundant rainfalls, climate variance between day and night and even snow at times. The Taburno Mount’s extinct volcano (4554 feet) on the Southern side, and Mount Matese on the Northern one (6725 feet) surround the Telesina Valley where our farm is located. For these reasons Sannio is a good choice for both white and red wines.
Our 12 hectares of vineyards in Solopaca, between 300 and 1000 feet, are split into two plots of land called Pozzillo and Cesine. The former, at a lower altitude, is mainly sandy with enough water availability; the latter has a clayey, compact and poor ground. Depending on individual variety peculiarities and needs, we grow Falanghina and Sciascinoso at Pozzillo and Greco, Fiano and Aglianico at Cesine. Our selected vine training system is single or double guyot. Density is between 3300 and 6500 plants per hectare, depending on variety, soil and altitude.
Our 5-hectare olive groves stand between the windy hills of Solopaca, Castelvenere and Benevento.
We grow nearly 1500 olive trees of different ages. Varieties are those typical of Sannio: Ortice, Ortolana and Femminella, from which we obtain three monocultivar extra virgin olive oils.
We only use organic fertilizers, trim regularly and don’t use artificial watering systems. Our training system is a 20 x 20 feet polyconic vase.
There is a lot of talk about organic farming these days, often in an incomplete way, sometimes just as a commercial topic to ride the fashion of the moment. I think instead that organic farming, defined as the search for an optimal balance of the plant in its ecosystem, must be a primary objective of a farmer, and not the result of an economic calculation. I believe that avoiding using chemical synthesis products or forced irrigation, allows to obtain healthier and better fruits and therefore reduces need of intervention when processing grapes into wine.
On the other hand, it is now proven that the continuous use in organic farming of a heavy metal such as copper, in the long run, makes the land sterile.
However, nature alone produces vinegar, not wine, and it would be short - sighted to think that enology does not contribute to the improvement of the quality of wines, as organic wine fanatical implicitly suggest.
My goal is to produce authentic wines without extremisms. Therefore my wines are filtered, I use selected yeasts, I add sulfites to the minimum extent necessary and I will not try to convince you that a defect is to be understood instead as a distinctive feature of a wine.
IGT Campania Falanghina
IGT Campania Fiano
IGT Campania Greco
IGT Campania Rosato
IGT Campania Aglianico
IGT Campania Sciascinoso
Sciascinoso 85% Aglianico 15%
Sannio Aglianico DOC