Turn right at the 3.7 km marker, then drive for about 7-800 meters. Professor Luigi Moio told me over the phone. You’ll see a vineyard…
You’ll see a vineyard, I thought, with a little smile…well, I am in Irpinia…
I continued driving…no vineyards, just houses, a narrow road, a tractor, and then, I saw it. Not just a vineyard. His vineyard in Mirabella Eclano. 8 hectares of Aglianico that belong to Quintodecimo, Professor Moio’s winery…his haven…his dream made reality in the heart of Irpinia’s Taurasi country. A dream that I had a chance to share for a few hours one sunny Saturday afternoon.
It was hard not to notice the fusion of colors around the winery. A winery that Luigi Moio, along with his wife, Laura Di Marzio brought to life back in 2001. Years after enologist Moio returned from working and living in France. A few years after he began working with wineries such as Antonio Caggiano, Marisa Cuomo, Terre del Principe, and Cantina del Taburno to name a few.
Quintodecimo – A winery, and I feel,a philosophy that Moio has had in his mind for quite some time. Ideas that have developed into a peaceful part of Irpinia where he has decided to grow grapes, make wines, and raise his family. A place where he could find harmony between man and nature.
A philosophy that I saw right away, subito, as I walked the grounds with Moio. His desire as a winemaker to be as close to his vineyard as possible. His home is no less than 50 meters from the clayey soil, rich in limestone. Perfect, for Moio’s Vigna Quintodecimo. A Taurasi Riserva DOCG that he has been producing since 2004. A walk through this vineyard and it was impossible not to stop and take a close look at the terrain, snap a few photos.
We continued walking down the hill away from Moio’s home/cantina and towards another part of his vineyard. The grapes here were the same, Aglianico. But major differences in the soil, not as clayey…a little tufo stone. A shift in sun exposition from north/west to south/east. I found myself in Terre del Eclano DOC territory. The vineyard that produces Quintodecimo’s base Aglianico.
Every now and then, Moio would adjust a few vines, toss a few stones, share a few stories. He pointed out some of the light equipment located in the vineyards used to monitor research on terrior. A study to analyze how factors such as soil and vineyard location can affect the grapes, and eventually a wine.
I continued to follow Moio through the vineyards, past a couple of renovated wells, and up towards the house. On the way, I noticed many aromatic plants such as roses and rosemary. Moio said that the presence of these plants was important, to attract insects, to keep that special balance with nature that he desired.
The next part of my ‘tour’ was the winery. And one way to enter is through a little area known as Piazza Quintodecimo. A light breeze met us as we approached. Perfect. Perfect because here is where Moio has planted a wide range of aromatic plants. Fruits such as blueberry, currants, raspberries, and strawberries. Perfect because these aromas drifted over and surrounded us. Aromas that reminded me of what would be found as I would bring my nose to a glass of Aglianico.
Into the wine tasting room. A splash of colors that matched the bottles, matched the labels of Quintodecimo’s wines. A spectacular view of the vineyards from windows next to the fireplace, which I'm sure would create an amazing atmosphere when lit on a cold winter evening.
Up until now, our conversation had been focused on Aglianico and Aglianico only. And from the window, I could see Quintodecimo’s latest vineyard a little further up the road from which we were earlier. Another Aglianico vineyard with a soil that was more fertile, less clayey. A vineyard where he could produce yet another Taurasi in which the aromas of fruit would be more concentrated, a little less tannic than Vigna Quintodecimo.
On top of the fireplace, on the mantle next to the reds, I noticed the whites. Campania’s big three…Falanghina, Greco di Tufo, and Fiano di Avellino. And where were these vineyards?, I wondered. Throughout Campania was the response. Via del Campo Falanghina IGT from 2 hectres of vineyards in Mirabella Eclano. Giallo D’Arles Greco Di Tufo DOCG from Santa Paolina (Av), and Exultet Fiano di Avellino DOCG from Lapio (Av). Another time, I thought to myself...I wanted to see the cantina.
The cantina. Moio showed me around from start to finish. He pointed out the equipment used to de-stem and press the grapes. Pointed out equipment that was pedal operated. Showed me the ‘yellow brick road’…the route that his white grapes take to become his white wine all with yellow tiles on the floor. From the press to the vats to the barrel to the bottles. His whites are ready no earlier than 18 months after the harvest.
I noticed red brick tiles as I glanced on the floor. The great ‘red way’. Yes…to the barrels, then the bottles. 18 months in legno then 6 months in the bottle for Terre D’Eclano. Twenty four months in barriqus and then 24 months in the bottle for Vigna Quintodecimo.
My tour continued through the cantina, to where Quintodecimo bottles, wraps, and then boxes their wines. Moio showed me his barrel room. His stash of earlier vintages that are no longer available to the public. His dream, his sogno. Then it was time to try his wines.
It was time to try Quintodecimo where they would best be appreciated, at the table. Over lunch served at the right temperature, paired with the right dish. I had a special opportunity that afternoon. To sip Via del Campo 2009 over a plate of spaghetti. A glass of Giallo D’Arles 2008 on a terrace with an astonishing view of the vineyards to one side, Luigi and Laura’s vegetable garden to the other. Terre D’Eclano 2007 and Vigna Quintodecimo with rabbit and tomatoes and a side of melanzane a funghetti.
Time stood still for me that afternoon. It was easy to be enticed, once again by Irpinia. It was easy to be enchanted by the vineyards, fascinated by the wines.
It wasn’t so easy, however, to say goodbye…so we left it as see you later…
later in the season when the grapes are heavier on the vines…
and then maybe at harvest time...
and then maybe…
Via San Leonardo
83036 Mirabella Eclano (Av)