Wednesday, May 30, 2012

At Home... Cantine Aperte with Casa di Baal (Sa)

Cantine Aperte...An event sponsored by, not the music channel, but Movimento Turismo del Vino.  An open house, a day where wineries throughout Italy open their doors to the public.  A chance to visit the vineyards, taste wines, talk to the producers. I received several emails from friends asking for my advice on where to go...I told them to try a territory which was unfamiliar to them.with wines they had never tried.  I suggested that they look for a winery that had a program full of events such as guided wine tastings or lunches.  I stressed that they should arrive early to get more one on one time with the owners. So when it was time for me to decide where I would go, I decided to take my own advice... 

It was hot that Sunday in Montecorvino Rovella, in the province of Salerno.  But I didn't mind...I was the first to arrive for a stroll through the vineyards with Annibale Salerno of Casa di Baal.  I got to hear straight from the capo di famiglia, father of five, about the history of how his farm has developed since they bought the land back in 1978.  Back then about 80% of their property produced fruit such as peaches, apples, and cherries.  A small portion was devoted to growing olives for olive oil.  We walked past  apple, peach and cherry trees.  We paused next to olive trees as the story continued...
Times changed, and so did the market, so he made the decision to focus more of their land, time, and energy to olive oil production back in the mid 80s.
Annibale Salerno
Wine had always been a small part of the farm, but it wasn't until 2005 that they decided to bottle and sell their own wines on the open market. We walked through the vineyards. Soil that is a mixture of clayey soil and sandy soil.  Vineyards that feel the  gentle sea breeze from the Amalfi Coast on one side and protected by mountains on the other.

Aglianico grafted into a Sangiovese vine

We talked about their wines, but then it was time to taste.
I signed up for a master class on Aglianico conducted by Alberto Giannattasio, the  FISAR delegate from Salerno.  We tasted wines from  Casa di Baal, Az. Agricola Boccella, Cantine Taburno,  Azienda Mustocarmelitano , and Alfonso Rotolo.  Each red was a 2009 vintage, but from different territories in Campania and Basilicata.  The perfect opportunity to taste how terroir plays an important part in what goes in our glass.

Alberto Giannattasio

Afterwards, time for a break with prodotti tipici...prosciutto crudo, pecorino, bread, olives and extra virgin oil all produced by Casa di Baal.  A glass of Rosso di Baal and a pizza fritta? Two?  Ok...
A picnic lunch in the olive grove?  A frittata sandwich with asparagus, onions and cheese. Thanks!

In the afternoon, I had a chance to chat with Casa di Baal's Francesca Salerno and wine maker Gennaro Reale right before their guided wine tasting of the latest vintages.  Casa di Baal produces 4 wines...2 reds, 2 whites. Total production ranges from 20-23,000 bottles a year from their 5 hectares of land devoted to vineyards. Their wines are produced organically with serious plans to include biodynamic farming in the future.
Gennaro Reale and Francesca Salerno

We began with the whites: Bianco di Baal IGT 2011 (fiano, malvasia, moscato) and Fiano di Baal IGT 2010.  Both whites call for an early harvest...mid August due to the extreme heat and early maturation in this part of Campania.  Both wines are viinified in stainless steel. Reale pointed out the wines low alcohol content...12  %.  Not common for Campania whites.

Next, Casa di Baal's two reds;  Rosso di Baal IGT 2010 (aglianico, barbera, merlot, and sangiovese) and Aglianico di Baal IGT 2010.   Only Aglianico spends time in oak, just to soften out the tannins.  Not to impose on the final product.  Both were two wines with their own personality.  Rosso di Baal, an easy to drink red which could also be served fresh (as a Piedirosso).  Their Aglianico is also 'light', typical of the reds in the area due to...yes, territory.  A fresh alternative to Aglianicos from Irpinia, Sannio, or Vulture.

The tasting was over, and unfortunately, I had to skip out before the evening bonfire.  I thought back to the advice I gave some friends...try a territory which was unfamiliar to them.with wines they had never tried.  Check...

 look for a winery that had a program full of events such as guided wine tastings or lunches.... 
arrive early to get more one on one time with the owners.
I had left something out, though.

Have a great time...

Casa di Baal
via Tiziano, 14 - 
84196 - Macchia di Montecorvino Rovella SA
Tel: 089 981143


  1. Thanks Karen for the nice article and the beautiful pictures, we look forward to having you here again with new activities and maybe some surprises ...

  2. grazie a voi...i'll be back real soon!

  3. posso partecipare al pic nic????????? :))