About this WINE
Perillo di Romano A Maria, Campania
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
Campania’s volcanic soils yield wines of impressive elegance and personality, as demonstrated by an array of compelling indigenous varieties.
The DOCG wine appellation of Taurasi is located in the region of Irpinia within Campania, which is also home to the prestigious DOCGs; Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo and the Irpinia DOC.
Taurasi is the stronghold of the Aglianico grape, which thrives on vineyards at higher altitudes. The DOCG regulations stipulate that Taurasi wines must be aged a minimum of 3 years prior to release with at least 1 year maturing in wood. Riserva wines require at least 4 years ageing. The wine blend consists primarily of Aglianico, complemented with up to 15% of Barbera, the little-known but very promising Piedirosso and Sangiovese.
Taurasi is considered as the most ageworthy, complex and structured expression of Aglianico wines.
Aglianico's origins are Greek (the name is a dialect version of the word Ellenico, the Italian word for Hellenic) and its was originally planted in the Campania and Basilicata regions of southern Italy over 2,500 years ago when southern Italy was a Greek colony known as Magna Graecia or Oenotria.
The grapes thrived until the late 19th century when it was almost destroyed by phylloxera. Since the war plantings have gradually increased and there were about 13,000 ha/32,000 acres of Aglianico planted at the last official count, in 1990.
The grape seems to prefer soils of volcanic origin, as well as dry and sunny location, and achieves its finest results in the two DOCs of Taurasi in Campania and Aglianico del Vulture in Basilicata. It is an early budding, late ripening variety and in the right hands can produce very long-lived wines of intensity and finesse. In the past young Aglianico wines were often fiercely tannic and harsh - fortunately improved techniques in both the vineyard and winery have led to fresher and riper wine being made that are eminently approachable in youth but also still improve with bottle age.