If you are in Campania, one of the areas worth visiting is Cilento, a vast territory in the province of Salerno, which begins shortly after the capital and reaches the border with Basilicata. A region composed not only of the coastal strip on whose beaches the ancient Greeks arrived in ancient times and which today are dotted with blue flags and renowned holiday resorts, but also by a green hinterland rich in hills covered with olive trees, chestnut woods and of holm oaks and small and fascinating villages that stand out on those mountains.
Here the wine tradition finds ancient roots. Suffice it to say that the first vines were brought by the Greeks when they founded the cities of Magna Graecia on these coasts. And if on the one hand we find the cultivation of the typical grapes of Campania, such as Aglianico and Fiano, on the other we find a handful of producers who for some years have been working on the recovery of what is considered the ancient vine of Cilento: L'Aglianicone.
The arrival of this grape in our peninsula dates back to the eighth century BC (by the Greeks) and from laboratory analysis, this little-known vine turns out to be the genetic father of the much more famous Aglianico. Specifically, the current Aglianico, so widespread in Campania, seems to have been born from the crossing of the Aglianicone with the Cannamela grape present in ancient times on the island of Ischia. Although in the past it was widespread in Cilento, over time, together with the appearance of phylloxera, it was gradually abandoned, due to the difficult cultivation, in favor of more productive and profitable varieties.
Generally used as a blending grape, only recently some Cilento wineries, gathered in theTerre dell'Aglianicone Association, have shown a renewed interest in this vine by inserting it into the ampelographic base of the DOC Castel San Lorenzo. In fact, this grape vinified in purity can give life to quality wines, with aromas of violet and raspberry, with less aggressive tannins than those that characterize Aglianico, but with a moderate acidity, which allows it to be consumed both when young and after a few years of aging.
There are different interpretations of Aglianicone according to the imprint that the different producers want to give.
In Postiglione, at the foot of the Alburni Mountains and not far from Paestum, we find Macellaro Estate, a small company from Salerno led with passion by Ciro Macellaro, winemaker and enologist of the same winery. His Quercus from Aglianicone grapes, worked only in steel, it is characterized by a brilliant ruby red color with purple edges and by aromas of violet and fruits such as black currant, blackberry and red mulberry. On the palate it is warm, soft, with present but caressing tannins.
Moving more inward there is Estates of Fasanella, founded in 2003 with the intention of relaunching the activity of the town of Sant'Angelo a Fasanella and which today has over 30 members. Also in this case a processing in steel and a long period of aging on the fine lees for a ruby-colored Aglianicone with hints of aromatic herbs, licorice and tobacco.
Returning to the coast, in Prignano Cilento there is the beautiful reality of De Conciliis winemakers who work this grape both in steel and in wood. Theirs Mysterious it tastes of hints of undergrowth, blackberries and blueberries and the taste is fresh and mineral.
Finally, going down towards the Gulf of Policastro, you can stop at the winery Silva Plantarium in Torre Orsaia, which operates according to the principles of biodynamics. Here the Aglianicone, after fermentation in steel, rests in terracotta amphorae for months before being bottled without filtration and clarification.
On the website ofTerre dell'Aglianicone Association you can find the list of all the wineries that are part of it. It is certainly worth preparing a travel itinerary in an area of wines, sea, mountains and good food.