Sunday, November 17, 2013

Back to Montemarano (Av) - Vineyard Hopping with Mastroberardino Winery

My schedule wasn't very cooperative this year, but  luckily I was able to schedule my third consecutive harvest season vineyard tour with Mastroberardino Winery.  Yes, the third year on a quest to eventually visit all of Mastroberardino's vineyards which are scattered throughout the Campania region.  So a couple of weeks ago, I put on my vineyard boots and sat shotgun alongside Antonio Dente, Mastroberardino's grape grower.  My tour was intense and informative as usual, and  between photos and note taking I learned quite a bit as we toured Mirabella Eclano (Av) , Montefusco (Av), and Apice (Bn).  But as the grey SUV headed towards Montemarano, I couldn't help but feel a little nostalgia.  Yes, I'd been before, but there is always something about seeing these particular  rows of Aglianico vineyards that  take my breath away.

The winery's vineyards are basically divided into two parts; lower and upper.  The lower section of the vineyard, 500-550 meters above sea level, is dedicated to growing grapes for its Radici Taurasi DOCG (black label).  These grapes, which had been harvested just a few days before my visit would be blended with the Aglianico grapes from Mirabella Eclano to produce a wine that repeatedly receives high acclaim and recognition.  Most recently, Its 2009 vintage was awarded the 5 Grappoli from Bibenda .  Yes, the grapes here were gone, but that didn't make the view any less spectacular.  And after strolling through the rows of vines, Dente and I looked behind us towards the upper part of the vineyard.

Andiamo? He suggested.  Then we were back in his vehicle towards Contrada Cortocorbo, made a quick left and parked the car.

 Here we were, 620 meters above sea level to a vineyard that still had its grapes.  Grapes that would be harvested soon for the prestigious Radici Taurasi DOCG white label wine.
The Aglianico grapes in this area were also perfect for the winery's two dessert wines.   I looked closely, and yes, tasted a few of these grapes to see how they were well on their way to becoming the right level of sweetness to produce their passito.  Some would be harvested very soon after my visit and be used for Halconero.  The rest would hang out a little longer to form noble rot, and for the more complex Antheres.  
I've always been impressed with this section of Montemarano.

Apart from the amazing colors that are on display this time of year, Montemarano for me has always been Aglianico's playground. And as often as I've been, I always look forward to my next trip.
Like maybe during the dry pruning season, Dente suggested...
Let's hope my calendar is cooperative...

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