This time Luciano Pignataro takes the stand.
Puglia and Campania come together on the Formicoso High Plane, where towns whose names stir the imagination such as Calitri, Lacedonia, Bisaccia, Aquilonia, all with noble palaces and castles, are buffeted by the winds from Fortore and the Balkans. Now this moonscape with the highest fields of grain and hay in Italy are dotted with disquieting, discussion-worthy wind turbines: alternative energy and lots of money to the companies that imposed them upon the towns, but who will pay to remove them when they wear out?
Michele and Pierluigi Zampaglione, heirs to the most important family of the region, had long managed a 400-hectare property that was certified organic in 1990; they have now amicably divided the property into two roughly equal parts. The vineyard managed by Guido, Michele’s son, which was planted in 2001 on a well exposed windswept 2-hectare hillside, is now managed by Fortunato Sebastiano, a young winemaker from Ariano Irpino who in times when these things were not suspect decided to work organically and biodynamically, and it was this decision that led him to meet Guido and Michele.
The change in hand is apparent in the Don Chisciotte 2011, the first handled by Fortunato, which will be held, like all the best Fiano, until the next Vinitaly. Less intense maceration on the skins, emphasis on bouquet, agility on the palate: these are the characteristics at first sip of the highest wine of Campania, from vineyards at an altitude of 700 meters, on clayey volcanic soils; Mount Vulture is at a distance of just 20 km and did its work in the distant past, in moments that were frightening but have faded from human memory.
There’s considerable interplay between vinification in steel and a spell in large wood: the goal is a white with shoulders broad enough to age well for many years, without loosing acidity, which is justly managed generously, while acquiring greater complexity of aroma.
In the small, nicely restructured cellars next tot he vineyards, we had our first, quite convincing taste, and share it with our IGP readership to underline two concepts well worth committing to memory: Irpinia has a great red, Aglianico, but is also a land suited to whites thanks to the quality of its winemaking, and the terrible cold that develops inland.
This small, great winery makes the combination of excellence of craft healthy agriculture its strong point. The signs are all there, and people will speak long and well of it.
The winery is located in Calitri, Contrada Tufiello. Strada Statale 399, km 6,300. Tel. 0827.38851. Winemaker: Fortunato Sebastiano. Hectares: 200 proprietary, of which 2 are planted to vine. Bottles produced: 7000.