The Wine: Aglianico 'Clown Oenophile' 2014
Cantina Giardino Aglianico 'Clown Oenophile' is a red natural wine made from 100% old vine Aglianico grapes grown in Irpinia, Campania, vinified in amphora and aged in chestnut barrels. This is a very rare wine made in small batches by high-end natural wine producer Cantina Giardino.
The Producer: Cantina Giardino
Cantina Giardino is a winery located in Irpinia, Campania region, Southern Italy. It's headed by Antonio and Daniela di Gruttola who, together with 4 other friends, vinify grapes sourced from 16 different parcels from all over the area. Cantina Giardino recently also recently purchased 2.5 hectares of vineyards, mostly old vines. This was the goal of Cantina Giardino from the inception: to rescue older vines, of 50 years or more, from local farmers who would've abandoned them.
Cantina Giardino works with indigenous varietals such as Aglianico, Coda di Volpe, Greco, and Fiano grapes, vinified into reds, whites, and rosé. The labels are created every vintage by local artists and are colorful and distinct. Vinification varies with every vintage: grapes are fermented and aged in homemade amphora vessels, stainless steel, oak barrels, chestnuts barrels, and demi-muits. Sulfur is used only when it's absolutely necessary, otherwise, the only ingredient in Cantina Giardino's wines is sustainably farmed grapes.
The Region: Campania
Campania is located in Southern Italy, it borders with Lazio (north), Abruzzo (northeast), Puglia (east), Basilicata (southeast), and with the Tyrrhenian Sea (west). The capital of Campania is Naples, which is also its biggest city and economic center.
Off the coast of Campania there are several islands, most notably Ischia, the biggest, and the ever-charming Capri, with its picturesque squares and docks. Pompei is also located in Campania, within the metropolitan city of Naples, near Mount Vesuvio, one of the most famous active volcanoes in the world.
The Terroir of Campania
Mount Vesuvio is not only a tourist attraction but also a defining element in the region’s winemaking, together with the Tyrrhenian Sea. Some of the best wines from Campania, such as Taurasi, Aglianico del Taburno, Fiano di Avellino, and Greco di Tufo are made from grapes grown on volcanic soils and gently caressed by a steady Tyrrhenian sea breeze.
In Campania we find a soil formation – a combination of limestone with gravel and clay – called “regosuoli”, characteristic to the areas within the Provinces of Benevento and Avellino where Aglianico and Aglianico del Taburno are grown.
The Red Wines of Campania
Campania is one of the richest Italian wine regions in terms of indigenous grape varietals – both red and white. Among the reds, Aglianico is king, which is also the most widely planted varietal in the region overall with about 30% of the total. The two red wine DOCGS of Campania are both Aglianico-based wines.
Aglianico del Taburno DOCG: a medium to full-bodied blend of Aglianico del Taburno (min. 85%) and other non-aromatic red varietals (max. 15%), grown on limestone with gravel and clay soils – "regosuoli" in Italian.
Taurasi DOCG: a full-bodied, structured and complex wine, a blend of Aglianico (min. 85%) and other non-aromatic red varietals (max. 15%), aged a minimum of 3 years in total, with 12 months in wood barrels.
The White Wines of Campania
The three most famous white grape varietals native to Campania are Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, and Falanghina – the first two have their own DOCG. On the island of Ischia we can find Biancolella and Forastera, whereas more inland, near Caserta, we find some of the rarest native grape varietals, Asprino and Coda di Volpe. The Gulf of Sorrento is also home to several rare native varietals, used in local blends, with Suppezza and Olivella being the most common.