Michele Perillo, his wife Anna Maria Romano, along with their sons Felice and Nicola continue a tradition of winemaking that dates back to 1887; yet they initiated commercial bottling in 1999. The family estate is to be found high up in the tiny village of Castelfranci, an hour’s drive from Naples among the Irpinian hills 500 metres above the Calore river; a river which threads its way through the Taurasi zone of production. Castelfranci has 65 ha of Aglianico (for Taurasi) vineyards, of which the Perillo family have 3ha. They also benefit from a hectare of vines from across the valley at Montemarano, another famous Taurasi village. Importantly they, like Luigi Tecce next door, still tend prized old clone vines trellised in the traditional ‘raggiera’, tree-like way that produce high quality fruit, if labour-intensively (while many neighbours have given in to the new clones and mechanisation of cordon trained vines). The soils at Castelfranci are essentially calcareous with a predominance of compact sand, that, along with the crucial diurnal temperature shift between day and night, gives intense, thick skinned, damson coloured fruit that’s normally harvested in November. Yields do not normally exceed 25 hl/hectare (due to the age of the vines). Verve and fruit intensity is what characterises the Aglianico fruit from the upper reaches of the Calore. Fruit perfect for long ageing wines. Vinification takes place in stainless steel followed by ageing in mainly French barriques but with an increasing presence of larger oak. The fruit for the Taurasi Riserva comes from the best maturing plots, is aged for 20 months in barriques and then 6 years in bottle prior to release They also make a sunny, salty white from the indigenous Coda di Volpe grape. David Berry Green, BBR Buyer
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