My favourite wine event of all, the delightful Radici del Sud, has started its 2014 edition. This year – as last year – at the lovely Masseria Caselli resort near Carovigno.
The focus of this event, indigenous Southern Italian grape varieties, is in itself enough to endear it to me. But on top of that, the relaxed, warm and friendly atmosphere and the quality of the people invited renders it unbeatable in my book.
This year, the organizer Nicola Campanile, has asked me to take a modest part in inviting people for the event and moderating presentations, a task I have gladly accepted. There is so much good wine and so much knowledge bursting to be imparted.
What with me also helping to invite attendants, I am even more among friends than usual, so apart from the even greater number of participating wineries, the friend quotient is now such that this is bound to be the greatest Radici del Sud yet. For me, at least.
Yesterday evening, 3 June 2014, certainly started auspiciously, with a vertical tasting of all vintages so far made (2009 – 2013) of the fabulous Fiano di Avellino from Tenuta Sarno. Of all the wines, my preference goes to the 2010, a stunning wine of great complexity, depth and structure, beautifully balanced between fruit, structural components, lovely ripe acidity and strong hydrocarbon minerality. But the 2012 was not far behind and may at some point overtake the 2010, while the 2013, a tank sample, looked very promising.
To end the evening we were treated to a sampling of Vinicola Savese/Pichierri’s 1990 Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale directly from the terracotta jars called Capasone. The Pichierris sometime bottle this under the name of Capasonato, the last bottling being a blend of the 1984 and 1985 vintages, which we also tasted. While great, the 1984/1985 was surpassed by the 1990, a glorious wine of great depth and character, marked by dark and dried fruits, leather, tar and almost umami character. A semi-sweet wine, this had the strength and concentration to last many years into the future, so look it up if you can.
More from Radici as we move along this week-long event.