Whereas Friuli is an established but neglected region of great indigenous Italian whites, Campania is as forgotten as the ancient Etruscans – the people older and more established than the Romans who yet disappear in the latter’s glory. Campania is known for its red Aglianico wines, which have been well made for years and seem to do well on lists across North America. The whites, however, are either entirely neglected or treated as interesting, affordable glass selections that yet do not approach nobility: see your basic Fiano or Greco di Tuffo on many a solid Italian wine list.
There is, however, more going on in very small quantities with innovative producers. Cantina Giardino is a joint venture between six friends who are dedicated to discovering and preserving the ancient indigenous vines of Campania. Located in particular in the mountainous sub-region of Irpinia Cantina Giardino has managed to locate some particularly unusual varieties, including the Coda di Volpe white grape that go into the Paski bottling.
The Coda di Volpe variety is golden-yellow and is generally used for blending and though sometimes given the pride of a single varietal bottling it is not typically treated with the seriousness it has been by Cantina Giardino. Its low acidity suits the volcanic soils of Campania well as these soils tend to produce wines of higher acid – thus balancing the grape’s natural tendencies. Thus in Campania the variety can produce more medium weight wines with richer textures while retaining necessary freshness.
Vinification is highly traditional and intends to produce an orange wine. The winery does so successfully, using the techniques to improve mouthfeel and structure while retaining the natural fruit quality of the grape – a difficult feat that most orange wines fail to achieve.
~$20 USD at various stores in the US