Monday, November 16, 2009

Feudi di San Gregorio's Taurasi- A 12 Year Journey in One Sitting

Ok. It is Thursday night, November 12, about 1015 pm and it is time for the event that I have been waiting for over the past couple of weeks. A guided wine tasting of a wine made from my favorite Campania grape-Aglianico. A wine produced by one of the Campanias’s best known wineries, Feudi di San Gregorio. A tasting guided by two of the Campania’s best-Franco De Luca and Manuela Piancastelli. I took a seat in the second row and looked around. In the room I see many wine professionals to include journalists Luciano Pignataro and Michela Guadagnano, In front of me was Angelo De Costanzo (Campania’s #1 Sommelier 2008). Not to mention winery owners like Peppe Mancini (Terre del Principe), and Alessandro Palmieri, (marketing director, Feudi di San Gregorio). I hoped I wasn’t in over my head. I consider myself a wine novice, and in this field of heavy hitters, well I hoped I wouldn’t get lost.

The plan for the evening was to taste 4 Taurasis, side by side, from the oldest vintage (1993) to the youngest (2005). Manuela Piancastelli gave an informative background on the territory, grape and wine. She expressed that in this global market, this wine (that can last a long period) was just a drop in the bucket in terms of sales. Franco De Luca, a highly experienced sommelier, spoke of the rich volcanic soil that aglianico thrives in and how it is like no other. Then the tasting began.

Franco guided us through each vintage with ease, using a language that all could follow. As we went from vintage to vintage (1993-1999-2001-2005) he helped us (or at least me) to notice how a wine can change over time. For example, the oldest vintage, the region’s first DOCG, was served to us from a magnum. Its color was an orangish red, much different than the others. As we went from wine to wine, we could smell fruit primarily, then…next wine-fruit and spices…next wine-fruit (particularly cherry) and violets…and finally, in the last, a combination of fruit and earthy/vegetable aromas. It continued in this fashion as he discussed acidity, tannins, and the length of each wine.

As the evening continued, many things became clear to me. The wines presented in this fashion made me understand what a ‘young’ wine is like compared to an older one. The evening was a great success, enjoyed by professionals, enthusiasts and little ol’ me!

Thank you Manuela, thank you Franco, and thank you Feudi!

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