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Avellino, a.k.a. Irpinia, is a significant subregion of Campania, in the south of Italy. Wine-making has played an important role here for centuries. So much so that the Avellino-Rocchetta Sant’Antonio railroad was nicknamed “Ferrovia del Vino,” the wine train.
The major celebrity DOCGs of the Campania wine scene are produced here from ancient local grapes. Fiano and Greco are the starring whites which make up Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. Fiano is a rich, aromatic and fruity dry wine with hints of honey. Greco di Tufo is more crisp and light, named for the tufo crackly clay soil in which it is grown. Aglianico is the eminent red, found in Taurasi. This is often a rich, leathery red that can be enjoyed young, but is known to be ageworthy when produced under the right conditions. Aglianico is also produced in passito (sweet) and liquoroso (fortified) styles.
Other local white grapes cultivated in Avellino are Coda di Volpe (meaning “tail of the fox,” referring to the shape of the grape bunches) and Falanghina. Other local reds are Piedirosso and Sciascinoso (Olivella).
For single varietal releases under the Irpinia DOC, wines must contain a minimum 85% of that grape with a maximum 15% allowable of a same color grape. Irpinia (Avellino) Bianco is comprised of 40-50% Greco, and 40-50% Fiano with 20% allowable for Coda di Volpe or Falanghina. Rosso is 70% Aglianico with up to 30% of the other grapes. There is also an Irpinia rosato and sparkling spumante. Novello red wines are also produced, akin to Beaujolais Nouveau. ~Amanda Schuster
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