Forza Campania: a stunner from Nanni Cope….

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Over the next couple of months, Campania will be front and centre in my line of thinking. Next month I am presenting two dinners on Campania for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival with good friend Naz Fazio and importer of this stunning wine. I am also heading to Campania in early April to visit the producers that we import via @mondoimports and also touch base with a growing band of friends who call Naples home.

When it comes to native varieties in Southern Italy, Campania has been leading the charge since the early 1990’s. Recently it has been great to see other regions like Puglia, Calabria, Sicily and Basilicata follow suit and this is where my interest lies with these regions. I love native varieties grown in the region they originate in. The Nanni Cope TERRE DEL VOLTURNO IGT 2009 is exactly that wine and it is one of the best wines to come out of Campania for a very long time.

This wine is a blend of Pallagrello Nero 85%, Aglianico 12% and Casavecchia 3% and shows how good the grape variety Pallagrello Nero can be. Whilst it has similarities to Aglianico, it is more feminine, delicate and structured slightly different on the palate. Awesome wine and a real highlight for the red wines of Campania.

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Nanni Cope’ is the fruit of the inner passion of Giovanni Ascione for wine, as well as of
his encounter with a unique vineyard at Castel Campagnano, in the upper region of
Caserta, Campania. It is a beautiful, unpolluted area, with vineyards alternating with
woods, highly draining sandy soils, 25% slopes, and daily draughts, throughout the
year. The Taburno and the Matese massifs are nearby, the sea is about thirty kilometres
away, and the middle course of the Volturno river flows in the neighbourhood.
Vigna Sopra il Bosco spreads over a 6.2 acres surface at about 700 feets above sea
level, mainly exposed to the north-west. The plants are aged over twenty years on
average. The main grape is Pallagrello Nero, a late variety with a thick skin, austere,
characterized by ultra-fine tannins, which produces wines of strong personality. Its
rows, directed from the east to the west, also include Aglianico, which contributes to the
wine’s structure and acidity; both varieties are complemented with a very small share of
Casavecchia from own centuries old ungrafted vinestocks, in the region of Pontelatone.
Vigna Sopra il Bosco is a true obsession. The plants are registered one by one and the
whole vineyard is divided into sectors subject to different pruning, foliage management,
surface management, and harvesting approaches.

The whole agronomic philosophy is aimed at minimizing interventions. The use of
herbicides or pesticides is utterly excluded. Harvesting is performed row by row,
sometimes plant by plant, based on the desired maturation level, over a period of time
that spans from the end of September to mid-October. The grapes are selected bunch by
bunch and blended, without distinguishing between varieties, however at equal
maturation stages.

Winemaking occurs under constant temperature control, with minimum two-week
maceration and malolactic fermentation in new 500-l french tonneaux, where the wine
matures for one year, followed by bottle ageing for about eight months. The entire
process is aimed at pursuing maximum elegance. No overriping, no over-concentration,
but only the purest expression of two noble varieties, grown on soils that are perfectly
suited for high-quality vine-growing.

Giovanni Ascione, Nanni Cope’ as a child and forever in his heart, first developed his
passion for wine as a young man in France, when he was a manager in a multinational
automotive company. After a long and successful career in several companies, he
became management consultant, providing strategic support to organizations of various
sizes and in a wide variety of sectors. Meanwhile his mad passion for wine made him
travel through the world and write about unique places, people, and wines, also as a
contributor to major guides and specialized magazines. He tastes two thousand five
hundred wines a year on average, and never stops travelling, confronting with others,
trying to discover and taste new things or enjoy the utmost emotion of a great wine.

Varieties
– Pallagrello Nero 85%, Aglianico (clones VCR 23-VCR11) 12%, Casavecchia 3%.
Vineyards
– Vigna Sopra il Bosco, over 95%, in the Village of Castel Campagnano, district of
Monticelli. Average age over 20 years. Varieties Pallagrello Nero and Aglianico.
– Vigna Scarrupata, about 5%, in the Village of Pontelatone. Average assumed age
120 years. Variety Casavecchia.
2009 harvest: from September 26 to October 9.
2009 yield: 34 hl/ha (13,7 hl/ac).
2009 production: 7,500 750ml bottles and 120 Magnum bottles.
Alcohol: 13.30%.
Ph: 3.45.
Non reducing dry extract: 31,3 g/l.
Total polyphenols: 3,220 mg/l.
Net volatile acidity: 0.49.
Total sulfites: 75 mg/l.
Collection: in cases of about 16 kg (35 lb) each.

Wine-making technique: manual selection, soft crushing, fermentation and maceration
in steel vats at a 27°C (80.6°F) maximum temperature, wish short manual pump-over;
maceration differentiated according to the properties of the individual grape varieties,
for a total of 14 to 19 days; malolactic fermentation in 500-l new french tonneaux;
maturation in new casks (50%) and old casks (50%) for 13 months; bottle fining for at
least eight months.

 

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