Was it the view of the Bay of Naples? Was it the sights of Capri and Sorrento? Or was it actually the wine? Four years ago when air travel was simply a pain as opposed to today’s huge pain and hassle I was in Naples for 5 days courtesy of the EU to do some wine tasting and as I write about travel to see Vesuvius and some of the main sights of Naples and of course eat at some of Naples traditional and well established restaurants. After the tour was over I met up with the better half and we visited Sorrento, Capri, Positano, the Amalfi Coast and a few villages.
During my media tour I discovered an incredibly smooth and elegant wine called Lacryma Christi which one can translate into the “Tears of Christ”. Upon returning to Canada, I believe I have seen it brought into the Liquor Control Board of Ontario twice and now on January 22 a third time. The previous two were fine but a far cry from that Lacryma Christi I had in the Greater Naples area. Was it the wine or was it the happy headspace and surroundings that influenced sensory perceptions?
There are legends about how the wine acquired its name. One is that when Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, he looked down and saw the Bay of Naples and it was so beautiful he cried with his tears landing on the volcanic soils of Mount Vesuvius where grape vines miraculously sprung up!
So we try a Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso. Mastroberardino is one of the premier winemakers in Campania and I had the privilege of meeting one of its winemakers who took me on a tour of a few small plantings they have in the Vesuvius archaeological site.
How is their Lacryma Christi? Has my Holy Grail been obtained? Deep aroma of black cherry predominates. But there also are bits of sweet cranberry, milk chocolate on the bouquet. On the palate the tannins are mild and oblique. There is black cherry but I find it far more austere that the Lacryma Christi of my Naples memory. Some wines grown on Vesuviusian volcanic soils have a bit of coal on the palate but not this one. It is hard to live up to a legend. Am I a dog chasing my tail?
The wine is from 100% Piedirosso (red chicken feet) grapes grown on the slopes of Vesuvius.
I would be more than happy to have this with the great pizza that Naples can produce. Drink now. Tried over three days.
(Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio Rosso 2020 DOC, Mastroberardino, Artipalda, Italy $22.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 340588, 750 mL, 12.5%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 86/100).
Great to sip watching the HBO Europe series “30 Coins”.