Last week, I wrote about what an incredible experience it was for me to tour Irpinia in early November with Daniela Mastroberardino, who really turned me on to what makes the wines from this otherworldly locus so special. The landscape shots, alone, were worth the price of admission.
Another one of the revelations from that November trip was tasting Marilena Bambinuto’s Greco di Tufo, above.
There are so many great expressions of Greco di Tufo out there but Marilena’s have what the Italians call a marcia in più, an extra “high” gear.
Beautiful focus and purity in this wine, with a gorgeous balance of acidity, alcohol, and fruit and mineral flavors that really danced in my mouth as we tasted the wines paired with her butcher’s sausage and boiled potatoes.
Greco di Tufo can be such a richly flavored wine and, at least in my experience, certain winemakers will go for a ripe style or an intensely mineral style of the wine. But Marilena’s really hit a sexy harmony of all the elements in this appellation, with a classic but fresh and electric interpretation of this incredible appellation.
It may not mean much to the casual wine lover but a stroll through her organically farmed vineyards (see the grassy rows below) revealed a lot about why the wine has such a magic buoyancy to it.
Why is no one bringing this in to the U.S.? It’s made by a small, family-run and owned estate. It’s organically farmed and only native yeasts are used in fermentation. The wines are a pure and purely delicious expression of the appellation. And Marilena, her family, and her wines couldn’t be a more authentic expression of wild Irpinia.
I owe this discovery to my friend and colleague Marina Alaimo, a writer, blogger, and sommelier based in Naples. Anyone who follows Italian wine, and especially southern Italian wine, knows Marina from social media (if you don’t, friend her here). And she graciously organized my visit that day (and a lot more that I will write about in an upcoming post).
Thank you again, Marina, for such a thoughtful choice of winery for me to visit and taste on my first trip to Irpinia. And thank you, Marilena, for the time and the wine. I can’t wait for someone to bring your wines to America.
To quote a Joni Mitchell song, I could drink a pallet of Bambinuto!
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