It takes about 45 minutes to drive from Mastroberardino’s Piedirosso vineyards in Pompei (Na) to their Aglianico vineyards in Montemarano (Av). So after a quick lunch, it was back on the road. On the road to Irpinia. To the hills of Irpinia. About 500 meters above sea level. Where the soil is chalky, clayey. Where the soil hosts aglianico vines. My aglianico…dark blue aglianico grapes alongside fantastic fall colors of red, yellow, and green. Here, where the soil demonstrated Antonio Dente’s concern for this year’s harvest. A harvest season that has seen more rain and has caused more work stoppage than he has ever experienced in his 10 years with Mastroberardino.
250 mm of rain fell in September and October. Rain that turned this soil into Montemarano mud, but did not deter me from my vineyard hopping.
Contrada Pastanella. The road in which Mastroberardino’s aglianico vineyard calls home. A vineyard that can basically be divided into two parts. A vineyard that produces grapes for two great wines. The lower part of this vineyard with spectacular views is for Mastroberardino’s Taurasi Radici. A blend of their aglianico grapes from here and Mirabella (Av). The upper level…la parte alta…Well, here is where it gets interesting. Grapes from here are for Mastroberardino’s Taurasi Riserva, but there is something else going on. Something new amidst the rustling of the leaves. The cool Avellino Autumn.
In early November, half of the grapes will be harvested. Some will be left to dry and sweeten in the cantina, while the others will be left on the vine until about the 10th of the month. The goal here is muffa nobile. "Noble mold" , botyris cinerea that gives it that sweet special aroma…flavor.
Perfect for a dessert wine.
Perfect for a Aglianico Irpinia Passito.
And perfect for another vineyard hopping…