Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Vineyard Hopping – San Michele di Serino (Av)– Villa Raiano

I believe that I chose THE worst day to visit the vineyards of Villa Raiano. Rain. The road barely visible. The winery almost unrecognizable thanks to the pea soup fog. And the panorama-view-that I was looking forward to seeing? Forget it. Even Simone Basso, founder of the winery, told me that I was unfortunate on this particular day…But I like to look for the light at the end of the tunnel…the rainbow.

I found it. The winery tour.

Walking through the immaculate hallways, I tried hard to listen to the various details of location, territory, etc…but my eyes kept wandering to the scenery…the intense yet simple interior design. The dimly lit corridors, that formed a semicircle, lined with countless bottles of Taurasi 2007 and wooden boxes. A hallway that led to an area. ..The area where it all happens. Small stainless steel vats housing wines from individual vineyards. Towering overhead… gazing down on us were large beams along with barriques watching...observing. Observing as we entered the nearby cantina.

Here endless rows of barriques, barrels full of aglianico. Aglianico waiting in silence. A silence interrupted only by the soft flow of a light waterfall from a side wall.

Back down the hall, up a winding staircase…my rainbow. Down towards one of the several wine tasting rooms. In the center of the room… a large white glass table. A smooth glass table with three bottles. White...smooth…fitting. Fitting because the three bottles held 3 of Villa Raiano’s newest white wines. My Fiano di Avellino and my Greco di Tufo. I realized at this point that I would be getting a chance to try these wines before they were released to the public…Three wines…limited edition…only 3000 bottles each. Release date, 15 October 2010.

2 were  Fianos, each distinct…each singing its own song. Alimata, a white made with Fiano grapes from Montefredane (Av). Alimata…named after the Contrada where the vineyard is found. Ventidue (22)…from Lapio. A wine whose vineyards are twenty two kilometers from Villa Raiano. Two wines…two stories. I felt two different sensations during the olfactory examination….when I placed my nose to the glass. I experienced two different tastes. Why? The soil ?Montefredane’s clayey soil is more compact. Maybe. The climate? Lapio’s climate has the lowest average temperature in all of Irpinia. But beautiful sunshine…Could be.

Why would a winery like Villa Raiano add two more Fianos to their inventory? Maybe so that you could find your Fiano. A Fiano that you will enjoy, one that fits your definition of a great Campania white wine. One in which you can indulge in the light straw color, the aromas, the freshness.

I said that there were three bottles on the table. The third was waiting. A Greco di Tufo. Contrada Marotta. Named after the area in Greco's backyard where the vineyard is found.  2009…Greco’s year. A Greco that kicked...lightly. A Greco that proudly shared its acidity, its tannins, its aromas such as salvia and thyme. Aromas that didn’t attack, but welcomed….

During this tasting, the sun slowly broke through the fog…poured through the windows, shone through the bottles…lightly flickered through the glasses.

I had forgotten about my abandoned vineyard tour…my walk through the vines.

Here I not only found my rainbow…here I found my pot of goldVilla Raiano.

Villa Raiano
Via Bosco Satrano, 1 - Loc. Cerreto -
83020 San Michele di Serino (AV) Italia

Tel. +39 0825 595550
(+39 0825 595663)

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