The day began at Villa Raiano, a winery in San Michele di Serino. And on the winery's terrace, with an amazing view of the valley, we received a mini history/geography lesson from our guide and friend, Lello Del Franco. He pointed out the hills, the mountains, and explained to us how vast and diverse a territory Irpinia is. Something that we would soon learn during our wine tasting.
After a tour of the winery, we got down to business. Wine tasting. And when you are talking about Irpinia, you are talking about the big three, Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Aglianico. Two whites and red grape that thrive here.
On this particular day, Villa Raiano shared with us their newly bottled Greco di Tufo 2010. A blend of white Greco grapes from their vineyards in Tufo and Altavilla Irpina.
To emphasize Irpinia's vast differences in altitude, soil composition, and climate, we also had an opportunity to try two Fiano di Avellino white wines. The first, Alimata 2009, a Fiano made exclusively from their vineyard in Montefredane. The second,Ventidue 2009, from their vineyards in Lapio.
Since lunchtime had arrived, we decided to continue our wine tasting and discussion of Irpinia at La Buona Novella, a restaurant in nearby Aiello del Sabato. Here, over a meal featuring typical Irpinian products. Appetizers included the 4 sformatini; Ricotta and spinach. Verza and baccalà (cod). Potatoes with scarmoza cheese and porcini mushrooms. Radicchio with guanciale (pork cheek) and carmasciano cheese.
Next, a rich bean and chick pea soup with porcini mushrooms and chestnuts. Two first courses; sciatelli with guanciale and carmasciano cheese and paccheri with green peppers, friarielli and tuna.
Our second course was a tender veal which had been marinated in aglianico overnight then slowly cooked. It was accompanied with mashed potates with a surprising touch, a refreshing lemon peel.
During our meal, we continued our wine tasting with two reds; Aglianico 2009 and a young and smooth Taurasi 2007.
Over dessert, a mousse di ricotta e fragola, I began to think about future adventures in Irpinia...maybe walks through the vineyards. And why not? Spring is just around the corner...
Via Bosco Satrano 1
San Michele di Serino (Av)
La Buona Novella
Via Capocasale, 3-4 Località Tavernola San Felice