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The wines of Vesuvius, made from the vineyards located on the slopes of the volcano, have been known since Roman times for their quality, gleaned from the character of the local mineral-rich soil and temperate climate.

The fame of this beautiful corner of Italy and its wine has been the basis of a number of myths, including the legend of Lacrima Christi grapes: God recognized that the Gulf of Naples was a slice of heaven during the fall of Lucifer to hell, and He wept for this lost land. Where His divine tears fell, Lacrima Christi vines sprung up. Another version tells of Christ visiting a hermit who converted before His departure, so He transformed the man's terrible wine into the excellent Lacrima Christi. These Christian legends have their roots in pagan mythology, well-established since the first human settlements and recorded in frescoes of Bacchus (god of wine) discovered in the “House of Centenary” in Pompeii, and in many other Roman remains that survived the eruption in 79 AD, which are the oldest testimony we have of this historic wine production.

Some of the grape varieties cultivated on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius:

PIEDIROSSO
Also known as Palummina from the local dialect "per e palummo", Piedirosso owes its name to the red color it turns when it begins to mature. In the area surrounding Naples and Vesuvius, Piedirosso is second only to Aglianico in fame and quality. Piedirosso is known for its wonderful acidity and minerality, gleaned from the soil of the volcano which is extraordinarily rich in lime, phosphorus, and potassium.

AGLIANICO
This is the last varietal to mature on the slopes of Vesuvius between the second half and the end of October, and is considered the prince of southern Italy's red grapes. Aglianico thrives in the sandy local soil, and is beloved for its strong tannins which gives Lacryma Christi its pleasant astringency. The local IGT Pompeiano wine is made exclusively from this grape, and it ages well in wood and in the bottle. It is also not easily susceptible to mildew or other blights.

OLIVELLA
Known as Ulivella, this red varietal has an olive shape and similar dark color. Long-confused with the similar-looking grape Sciascinoso, genetic testing revealed that Olivella was a distinct varietal and among the oldest in Campania. It survived the devastation of phylloxera, it has a strong resistance to the main fungal diseases and to adverse conditions. It has an early riping in the second half of October, it has a balanced acidity and low sugar content, which is why they do not develophis grape does not produce high levels of alcohol and is mainly used in blends.

CODA DI VOLPE DEL VESUVIO
Locally known as Caprettone (beard), this varietal is grown exlusively on the slopes of Vesuvius and is the main varietal in the white Vesuvius DOC wine. It is used in blends or in mono-varietal wines. Caprettone has been confused with the coda di volpe bianca (white fox tail) grape in the past, but it has a number of characteristics which set it apart. The name of the grape probably refers to the shape of the bunches hanging from the vine, which resembles the beard of a goat, or to the fact that is was once cultivated by local goat herders.

Itinerary:

  • Vineyard visit, with an explanation of the volcanic soil, cultivation, harvesting, and wine production
  • Wine tasting with cheese, salami, and other pairings appropriate to highlight the qualities of each wine
We can combine a tour of Pompeii and/or Herculaneum with our wine tour.

 

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