Thursday, June 24, 2010

Vineyard Hopping-Campi Flegrei-La Sibilla

For my latest edition of vineyard hopping, I decided to stay a little closer to Campi Flegrei, and a visit to my Winerdì partner, Vincenzo Di Meo and his La Sibilla located in Bacoli…

June 21st, 2010. According to the calendar, the first day of summer. But as I drove towards La Sibilla in Bacoli, I’m sure I saw all 4 seasons outside the window. As I pulled into the driveway at 0950, sun turned to storm as the skies opened up and poured out a torrential downfall of heavy, cool rain. Not to worry, though. Vincenzo Di Meo, La Sibilla’s winemaker, was waiting for me under the canopy of his porch, with Falanghina, and Piedirosso, and a smile.

Falanghina…Piedirosso…Campi Flegrei’s indigenous grapes…the two grapes that have made their mark on a territory that the Greeks and Romans once called home. The two grapes that are the base for La Sibilla’s wines. The wines that I wanted to try. The vineyards that I wanted to see. The stories that I wanted to hear.

During an informal wine tasting, we discussed the territory beginning with the soil. Volcanic, a strong presence of ash, sand, lime, pumice, loose soil, friable, magnesium, salt. This salt presence, that moves around quickly in the soil, a blessing and a curse. Potassium, as well, is something that Vincenzo has to keep an eye on…at times the levels can get too high that he has to intervene…organically, of course.

La Sibilla’s vineyards are 3 km from the beach and range from 0 to 50 m above sea level. The range in temperature between night and day, then, is not dramatic. The differences, though in the soil, from one vineyard to the other is crucial to their decision as to what grapes will be grown where, even though they may be only 1 km apart. Which vineyard is drier, more humid, more ventilated…A lot goes into it. So as we tasted, I kept these things in mind…

We tasted La Sibilla’s Falanghina

-Falanghina DOC 2009 (base wine)

-Cruna de Lago 2007 and 2008 DOC. These 2 are Falanghina wines as well, but here we have a different vineyard, the vines are older, the wines are older, the best grapes.

-Passio IGT 2007 (a passito-desert wine)

We moved to Piedirosso

-Piedirosa IGT 2009 (their rosé)

-Piedirosso IGT 2009

And finally, their Marsiliano IGT 2007 which is a blend of Marsigliese, Olivella, and Piedirosso.

The sun came out so, to the vineyards, time to stroll through the vineyards.

We went on a walk through his vineyards where I not only saw the grapes growing, but tomatoes, zucchini, and other vegetables. We walked up to where they age their wines in wooden barriques. Part of the Di Meo’s property is in the Baia’s Archeological Park. I saw a Roman cistern, ruins of Roman walls. We entered the ‘barrel room’ and tried wine straight from the barrique. Vincenzo’s grandfather was with us, Nonno Vincenzo…I had the opportunity to listen to two ‘schools’ of thought on this passaggiata. From the vines to the wines…all testimony to how La Sibilla’s family spirit is part of Campania’s spirit.

A spirit that can be tasted in their wines and seen throughout their cantina and vineyard…

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