Raffaele Moccia Natural Winemaker of Agnanum, Natural Wine, Heroic Viticultural, Winery in Campania, Southern Italy

Agnanum – Southern Italy Best Kept Natural Wine Secret

Jun 25, 2019Giovanni Segni

Agnanum, located on the volcanic hills of the Campi Flegrei area of the Mediterranean paradise of the Campania region, is one of the symbols and pioneers of heroic viticulture in Italy. The Moccia family has been devoted to distilling the spirit and soul of their unique and often harsh terroir into living, luminous wines for more than 40 years. The winery sits in the middle of the Astroni National Park. Farmer and winemaker Raffaele Moccia, who runs the estate, tends with an unflinching focus and dedication about 4 hectares of vineyards planted on black sandy volcanic soils.

The words of Raffaele himself can give us a vibrant and emotional insight into his unique vision:

“I would like you to immerse yourself into my story, a story which speaks of a land kissed by the sea, warmed by the soothing sun and from ancient times deeply suited for heroic viticulture. Viticulture practiced on the harsh and hard to reach terraced vineyards on the volcanic hills of the Astroni National Park. Here, through hard manual labor, a treasuring of past knowledge, extremely low yields and late harvest we give life to our wines.”

Raffaele Moccia Natural Winemaker of Agnanum, Natural Wine, Heroic Viticultural, Winery in Campania, Southern Italy

Gennaro, Raffaele’s father and founder of the winery, began in 1960 implementing an ambitious plan: recuperating old vineyards and planting new ones, with the historical vineyard reaching a stunning 200 years of age. In order to devote his full focus on the winery, Raffaele gave up his career as an agro-technician and has made Agnanum one of the true natural wine treasures of the Campania region.

The manual farming by the Moccia family of the terraced vines on these spectacularly steep hills is nothing short of maniacal in its traditional, vinnaturist, and terroir-driven approach. The land is lovingly molded and gently reshaped in order to provide the correct moisture for the vines and, as irrigation is obviously a no-no in natural viticulture, he created small concave pools that can capture rainwater next to every single vine.

Late manual harvest, a careful manual selection of every grape, yields which never go beyond 30-40 ql per hectare, wild fermentation, rigorous adherence to traditional winemaking without invasive techniques or oenologic additives, and only the bare minimum of added SO2 are all factors which contribute to make Agnanum’s wines a true mirror of terroir, tradition, and a family’s burning passion for wine and their land.

Agnanum’s vineyards, from which one can admire the Vesuvius volcano, the city of Naples and Capri island, extend over 4 hectares and are planted with ancient local varieties Piedirosso for red wine and Falanghina and other varieties such as Caprettone, Biancolella, Gelsomina and Catalanesca for white wine.

Piedirosso, a variety which is notoriously difficult both to farm and to vinify, finds in the steep slopes blessed by the marine breeze its ideal environment and gives life to wines with a deep Mediterranean character and elegance. Agnanum’s whites, where Falanghina plays the major role, are blessed with a deep minerality and crunchy sapidity, along with lingering balsamic notes.

Author: Giovanni Segni ©

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