What about Antonio?
We were driving through Molise, one of the smallest wine regions in Italy, looking for local wine varieties, which we had heard, were plentiful in this region. We were in the Province of Isernia, in the upper valley of Volturno, a territory characterised by small plots of land on gentle slopes protected by high mountains. It is a region with a long tradition in agriculture. It has been inhabited since the Palaeolithic, 700.000 years ago and wine is being made here since the 1st century B.C., as proven by a Roman stele.
We left the main road and arrived at Campi Valerio, where we were warmly welcomed. Campi Valerio stands on the old vineyards of Prince Giovanni Pignatelli. Despite the good reputation of its wines, the region was for several decades in a state of absolute desolation. Antonio Valerio, a local architect, made it its life project to restore the reputation of this fertile estate. The current vineyard was completely renovated and was planted with native varieties such as Tintilia, Montepulciano or Falanghina that have been grown in this region for centuries. Antonio’s goal is to revitalize the area and to identify the climatic and soil conditions allowing these native grapes to produce unique wines of superior quality. Antonio is also particularly involved in preserving the traditional methods of cultivation and vinification, while taking advantage of the benefits of modern technology to support production.
We were invited to visit the cellar. We went through a small door and entered an unexpectedly large space, the cellar where the wine is made. On the one side we could see the Falanghina and the sparkling wines, on the other were the wine barrels in which red wine was aging. Several people were working in the cellar, all intensely dedicated to their work, but still sparing some time to greet us and explain what they were doing.
It’s this authenticity and friendliness that you will find back in the wine!