Irpinia Campi Taurasini
Irpinia Campi Taurasini is a sub region of the Irpinia DOC of Central Campania in the South Of Italy. Aglianico (My Favorite Italian Grape Varietal) grapes are grown on the Campi Taurasi (the ‘Taurasian Fields’). In contrast the wider Irpinia DOC covers rosso, bianco, rosato, spumante and varietal wines made from any one of seven grape varieties.
The 20 communes or so covered by this area surround the DOCG region of Taurasi better known as “The Barolo Of The South” ! The difference between these two Aglianico wines is mainly one of style. Taurasi is meant to be structured, ageworthy and almost austere in its youth. This DOC Aglianico can be aged moderately but are really EASY to drink in their youth. I brought one home from my recent visit in October from Tenuta Di Cavalier Pepe which I have written about before.
2014 Tenuta Pepe Santo Stefano DOC
I have written many previous reviews about this great winery and bed and breakfast but just a refresher for those who didn’t read those.
The Pepe family is an ancient one in Irpinia, which has for generations been dedicated to the production of wines, marketed throughout Italy and internationally.
Entrepreneur Angelo Pepe, following his intuition and driven by a love for his land, worked hard to write the next chapter in the family’s history. The result was Tenuta Cavalier Pepe, a cellar, winery, restaurant and bed and breakfast that has become a center for wine production and tourism of the highest quality.
Angelo Pepe’s foresight was rewarded in 1998 when then Italian President, Oscar Luigi Scalfaro, appointed him a “Knight of the Republic” for the value of his work. The Cavalier Pepe’s eldest daughter, Milena, is a graduate of viticulture and oenology in France and marketing in Belgium. Today, she leads the family estate with charisma and expertise, ensuring that the wines meet the highest standard. My Bottle was autographed by MILENA PEPE.
The wine of course is 100% Aglianico coming from Hillside vineyards in the municipalities of Luogosano, Sant’Angelo all’Esca and Taurasi. 350 Meters above sea level. The Soil.. Calcareous clay with evident volcanic outcrops.
The grapes are harvested at full ripeness, then transported to the cellar, selected by hand and de-stemmed. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, and skin maceration lasts for about two weeks. The wine is aged in French oak barriques for 12 months, for a further 24 months in concrete tanks and at least another six months in bottle before release. Let’s review
I love my Autograph by Milena Pepe. She is so knowledgeable and passionate and a great host. The color of the wine was a deep dark, intense ruby red. ( I expect nothing less from Aglianico) It took about a solid hour of aeration to get full aromatics out of the wine and of course a slight chill to 68 Degrees. Big perfumed, blackberry, cherry and black raspberry with notes of minerals and earth, a strong cup of espresso freshly brewed and black pepper spice. On the palate a medium plus body with juicy black and red fruit profile with a lots of black licorice and ending to integrated tannins and a hint of spice on the finish. This may be the best wine for pizza or aged cheeses I have in awhile and would be great with all simply prepared meat and chicken dishes. So much more approachable than the BIG BOY Taurasi and a 91 out of 100 points from me.
Yes I am partial to Aglianico but I think if there was more of it on restaurant wine lists or retail shops, you would be too. In Florida, Pepe Wines are Imported by Alberello Imports and a Selection of Nadia Galati. I don’t believe this particular Santa Stefano is available. I brought it home from the winery but search the internet. My advice is if you like Red Wine seek out more Aglianico. You will be glad you did. Grazie Milena and of course Sales Manager Michele !!
Grape-fully yours, Larry
The Beautiful Milena Pepe