The Campania region.
Campania is a region in Southern Italy.
As of 2014, the region had a population of around 5,869,000 people,
making it the third-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km2
(5,247 sq mi) makes it the most densely populated region in the country.
Located on the Italian Peninsula, with the Mediterranean Sea to the west, it
includes the small Phlegraean Islands and Capri for administration as part of
Campania was colonised by Ancient Greeks and was part of Magna Græcia.
During the Roman era, the area maintained a Greco-Roman culture.
The capital city of Campania is Naples. Campania is rich in culture, especially in regard to gastronomy, music, architecture, archeological and ancient sites such as Pompeii, Herculaneum, Paestum and Velia.
The name of Campania itself is derived from Latin, as the Romans knew the region as Campania felix, which translates into English as "fertile countryside". The rich natural sights of Campania make it highly important in the tourism industry, especially along the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and the island of Capri.
Campania, like many Italian regions, is home an impressive array of grape varieties, some of which are found almost nowhere else on earth. Its most important variety is arguably Aglianico, the grape behind the region's two most famous and respected red wines: Taurasi and Aglianico del Taburno. Aglianico was introduced to the area by the Greeks and later cultivated by the Romans.
Vesuvius, and the Bay of Naples
Also vital to Campania's vineyards are the white-wine varieties Fiano and Greco, which are championed by the region's most respected white wines, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Fiano has been used here for more than 2000 years. Its original name was Vitis apiana (Latin for "vine of the bees") but this has become shortened almost beyond recognition over the intervening centuries. Greco's name is a little more obvious, and indicates its Greek origins. Another light-skinned grape of interest here is Falanghina, which forms the backbone of Falerno del Massico and Galluccio wines. The honeyed sweetness of Falanghina wines gained the variety praise from the ancient writer and philosopher Pliny the Elder, who is credited by some as being the creator of the phrase in vino veritas.
Alongside the more-important varieties mentioned above are a host of little-known gems. These include Biancolella and Forastera, which together form the backbone of the white wines of Ischia. Suppezza, Sabato and Sciascinoso (locally called Olivella because of its olive-shaped grapes, and used in blends to bring a hint of color and acidity to wine) also play their part, particularly in wines from the Sorrento Peninsula. Along the Amalfi coast, the aromatic and orange blossom-infused Ravello and Furore wines are distinctive for the inclusion of interesting local Fenile, Ripolo, Pepella and Ginestra grapes. In the Aversa plains, the Asprinio variety, producing a dry white or zesty sparkling wine, gives the DOC Asprinio di Aversa its name. Finally the Coda di Volpe vine, named for its resemblance to a fox's tail due to the way the grapes grow in long bunches, also plays a role alongside Verdeca, Greco di Bianca and Falanghina in the Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio whites.
Campania's success owes much to the varied climates and terroirs that host around 100,000 acres (46,800ha) of vines. Viticulture is in its element thanks to an abundance of sunshine, dry hot summers, mild winters, a long growing season and volcanic soil (the latter ensured phylloxera was kept at bay). The coastal Mediterranean breezes blow in from the Tyrrhenian Sea and across the Apennine Mountains to temper the heat, encouraging a bright acidity in the fruit. These factors also contribute to the varied qualities of Campania wines. For instance, an inland Falanghina grown on slopes where there is more rainfall offers more fragrant notes than those found on the coast, where the climate is continental and tends to be more mellow.
Despite being ensconced in tradition, today's wine styles are fruit forward and youthful: the whites are known for their aromatic characters, often redolent of the local flora, while the reds (mainly from Aglianico) have big personalities which require a little aging. Dynamic and innovative methods have helped improve the quality of Campania's wines, specifically through better vineyard management, harvesting methods and cellar techniques.
Sub-regions of Campania:
Campania DOCG wine appellations.
Aglianico del Taburno, Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Taurasi.
Campania DOC wine appellations.
Aversa, Campi Flegrei, Capri, Castel San Lorenzo, Cilento, Costa d’Amalfi, Falanghina del Sannio, Falerno del Massico, Galluccio, Irpinia, Ischia, Penisola Sorrentina, Sannio, Vesuvio.
Campania IGT wine appellations.
Beneventano or Beneventano, Campania, Catalanesca del Monte Somma, Colli di Salerno, Dugenta, Epomeo, Paestum, Pompeiano, Roccamonfina, Terre del Volturno.