As far as Campanian white wines go on my last visit to the Greater Naples Area in pre plague days as a media guest I think that red wines predominated over white wines. However the Greater Naples area hugs the ocean which in many dishes demands a white wine. Not all depending how the pescatarian dishes are prepared. Fish prepared with a tomato sauce or a robust flavoured grilled octopus might suit a Barbera, Piedirossa or a Lacryma di Christi red. As my chef friend in Rome, Quirino, said, “It all depends on the sauce!” A great chef with his astounding Eggplant Tower! Sauce was magic to Quirino and pastry that was all a matter of chemicals. A man with a bias perhaps.
As the name of the grape has Greco in it is thought that it was brought to Campania by the Greeks although there seems little evidence it exists in Greece today. Historically the Greeks have had a presence in Southern Italy. For example, there are remote Sicilian villages where a Greek dialect is still spoken. While the Romans had a vast empire the Greeks did as well. Enough of history. Although take the local train from Naples to Pompeii and there is a town on the way with a Greco in its name and the HBO Italian series “My Brilliant Friend” the main character, living in a suburb of Naples, Helena has a surname of Greco.
What about a La Fortezza Sannio Greco? Sannio is a gorgeous town not far from Naples. On my last trip the mayor of Sannio wanted to meet us journalists to give a brief talk on the town. Although I love the architecture and vibes of Naples Sannio is on my bucket list to stay at for a few days and to discover it and tell you about it would be a dream. Wine writers, at least some of them, have curiosity that goes beyond wine and links wine to localities and their cuisine and culture.
The wine has rather a tropical nose with pineapple, guava, persimmons and tangerine. On the palate the pineapple and guava continues along with some pear and a strange but likeable twist of peameal bacon and ginger. The acidity is muted. The finish is gentle. It would suit simply prepared chicken and fish and a white Napoli pizza. There are too many acidic, washed-out wines in today’s wine world but this Campanian is not one of them. I think I had it on my media tour with an asparagus tart served with a fresh pea puree. Where else but in Italy could you have such seasonal delight?
As a last comment I have been on a few European wine tours for the media but the Italians often conducted their tastings with food whereas with the Portuguese it was almost always food after the tasting. Interesting difference? To me it cements the feeling that food and wine are inseparable and yes that cuisine and wine form a symbiotic relationship in Italy. And I see that trend here with the Italian Trade Commission events that have always ensured a good supply of food with wine tastings and have of late been emphasizing Italian food products with wine taking a secondary place. More on this with my upcoming articles on Italian olive oil tastings!
(La Fortezza Sannio Greco 2018 DOC, La Fortezza, Torrecuso, Italy, $15.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 17744, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).