Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vineyard Hopping - Lapio (Av) - Feudi di San Gregorio

Our appointment was on a Wednesday morning at 10 am.  And at 10 am sharp, Pierpaolo Sirch, agronomist and administrative delegate, Feudi di San Gregorio,   opened the door to the waiting room where I was...waiting. He shook my hand, led me to his car in the parking lot and we were on our way.  We were headed towards Taurasi, as I had a grande desire to  visit their Aglianico vineyards for a possible photo exhibit in the future.  Sirch shared with me quite a bit about Aglianico, Irpinia, and the problems and challenges that the winery has faced this year thanks to the unusually cool and wet July. And though the focus of the day was Aglianico, somehow the conversation led to Fiano.
Sirch, originally from Friuli in Northern Italy, has a deep love and respect for Irpinia.  He has been with Feudi di San Gregorio for around 10 years, and he shared with me a story which peaked my attention as well as my admiration for my tour guide.
When Sirch first arrived in Irpinia, he toured the territory getting to know the land.  Feudi di San Gregorio's Fiano di Avellino vineyards are in Sorbo Sepico and Santo Stefano, but on one particular day, Sirch found himself in Lapio, a county in Avellino known as the heritage of Fiano.

Sirch, new to the area, and his new jobm took some mental notes of a particular vineyard.  One that had a fig tree, a huge pine tree, an elderly woman who owned the land...and grapevines that were at least 100 years old.

Sirch continued with his story throughout the morning, sharing a tidbit at a time. Eventually we finished our tour of Taurasi, and decided to head towards Lapio.  On our way, he spoke about the difficulty he had to find the vineyard again. It wasn't on a main road, or any map.  He did remember, however the fig tree, the pine tree, and the elderly woman.

Over time he rediscovered this historical treasure, a little different due to a fire that changed the landscape, but luckily didn't touch the vines.  Unfortunately, the woman that Sirch met a few years earlier had passed away.  The vineyard was basically abandoned.  It didn't take Feudi long to decide to adopt this vineyard which not only contained a historical Fiano vine, but an Aglianico, Piedirosso, and Sciacinosso. as well

We arrived in Lapio, and after several minutes driving down narrow roads, we needed to park the car and continue the rest of our adventure by foot.  The width and condition of the path made it impossible to do otherwise.
Five minutes later I saw with my own eyes what Sirch had been sharing with me the entire morning.  A piece of territory that the winery has been caring for for the past five years.
I saw the pine tree, the fig tree, the elderly woman's home.

I, along with Sirch, admired this century old Fiano vine.  I listened carefully as explained how he and his staff would carefully prune the vine and replant the cuttings elsewhere in a loving attempt to preserve the vine...its history...its heritage.

After awhile we headed back to the car.  Sirch excused himself while he spoke on the phone, I instead reflected on the morning, this quick stop in Lapio to see a hidden piece of history.
I thought about the vines I had just seen, impressed  with the labor of love, time, and dedication needed to care for a vineyard such as this one.  I thought about how many other hidden treasures like this one and how many  caretakers of a territory there may be out there.  

Campania never ceases to amaze.

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