Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wine and the Vespa - Vineyard Hopping with Wine and the City

Twenty years in Naples and I had never ridden a Vespa.  Sure over the years I'd admired those who weave in and out of traffic with ease, even shaken my fist at a few who had gotten too close for comfort.  But driven one myself? No.
So when my eyes glanced over the latest Wine and The City program scheduled in Naples in May, my eyes hit an event that I thought was assai interesting...assai assai.
Wine and the Vespa - a tour through Posillipo's vineyards.  Vineyards on a Vespa?  Too cool to pass up.  I made a reservation subito.

Piazza Trieste e Trento, Saturday 18 May, 0930 am.  That was my appointment time with NapolInVespa Tour, a group of enthusiastic young Neapolitans who love their city and are ready to show off its beauty to whoever is ready and willing to hop on the back of a Vespa.
That morning there were about 14 in our group.  And after donning our mandatory helmets, we were on our way.  First stop, Mergellina for a brief history lesson on the town of Posillipo, Mergellina, and even a little Campi Flegrei to help us orient ourselves.  Then back on the bikes to head through hidden alleyways, tight narrow vicos with jaw dropping views as we head our way to Posillipo for a quick apertif.  A Falanghina Spumante brut by Cantine Federiciane Monteleone.  We paired it with a fantastic view of the Gulf of Naples and Mt Vesuvius.
But the vineyards?
Back on the bikes-direction Azienda Agricola Varriale in the heart of Posillipo tucked behind one of Naples' top restaurants Rosiello.  Waiting for us was Salvatore Varriale to share with us what his part of the citta' has to offer.  The small winery produces wines from the areas native grapes;  primarily falanghina and piedirosso. The sun beat down on us pretty hard as we strolled the vineyards.  This gave us a perfect idea of what the vines go through throughout the day, evolving in the fertile volcanic soil.
We tasted two wines that morning, each a falanghina.  Marechiaro  Campi Flegrei DOC Falanghina 2012 and Monte Coroglio Falanghina IGP Campania 2012 (late harvest). Two enticing expressions of the grape variety from this volcanic part of Campania.  Two wines to try again when I had a little more time, maybe along with their piedirosso, their rose' and finish off with a grappa in the family restaurant up the hill.
Back onto our Vespas for a whirlwind tour of an area that is a little of the beaten tourist path.  We visited the Chiesa S. Strato in Posillipo and the surrounding alleys.  It felt a moment as if we were visiting a small fishing village on one of the nearby islands instead of a neighborhood a stone throw from one of Southern Italy's largest cities.
I guess that is what is beautiful about la mia citta'.  Full of surprises - all waiting to be discovered on the back of a Vespa!

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