The Wine: Piedirosso 'Sabbia Vulcanica' 2017
Agnanum Piedirosso Sabbia Vulcanica is a red wine from Campania made with grapes from more than 50 year old Piedirosso vines planted on slopes of volcanic sandy soils. Sabbia Vulcanica means precisely 'volcanic sand' in Italian, which is what gives this wine its character. Aged in stainless steel and made with minimal intervention by heroic winemaker Raffaele Moccia, who pours his heart in all of his wines.
The Producer: Agnanum • Raffaele Moccia
The Agnanum winery can be identified as part of the Italian so-called “heroic viticulture”, a solid and small family whose heart beats fast for wine despite the very difficult working conditions.
Agnanum winery is located in Campania, on the top of the historical volcanic hills of the Parco Naturale degli Astroni, and extends over four hectares planted with vineyards grown on black sandy volcanic soils. The terroir of Agnanum is unique; half vines are Piedirosso, a red indigenous varietal, and half vines are Falaghina, a white indigenous varietal.
The owner of the estate and main winemaker is Raffaele Moccia, a hard working man completely devoted to his land and to the hidden potential of this harsh territory. Raffaele inherited his love for wine from his father Gennaro, who had started planting vines in 1960. Today Raffaele has seized another acre to the bitter land, alongside the historic vineyard, which is two centuries old.
At Agnanunm, yields are low and harvest is late: these are optimal conditions for high-quality wines, which are complemented by Raffaele's non-interventionist approach in the cellar.
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.