Villa Matilde; Dancing of the Grapes

courtesy of Grgich Hills Estate

We’ve all seen the videos, or maybe even have partaken in the action ourselves. Stomping on the grapes to release that exquisite juice that will soon turn into the wonderful wine we love so much. But at Villa Matilde, there is no stomping. Instead there is dancing!  

I had the honor of sitting down at an intimate dinner with the owner of Villa Matilde, Salvatore Avallone.  The dinner was hosted by Kobrand Wine and Spirits and was held at the incredible Scarpetta Restaurant in New York City. 

Francesco Paolo Avallone, an Ancient Roman Law professor, had a passion for ancient wine and history. This passion led to the creation of Villa Matilde in Campania, Italy.  Francesco became a wine grower and was determined to bring back the “immortal wine” of Falerno, which had disappeared in the early 20th century. 

Francesco’s excitement for combining his two passions is also evident in his son, Salvatore. Following in his father’s footsteps (figlio d’arte), Salvatore began working in the vineyards to maintain the precious Falerno vines. But as an adult, he decided to leave the family business and become a lawyer, but as they say the call was too strong, and he returned to the family business in 1987 with a renewed love affair with the vineyards and winery along with his sister, Maria. 

As I mentioned, the passion oozes out of every pore of Salvatore. I sat and listened eagerly as he told stories of the history of Falerno. A history that dates back more than 3000 years. In the Roman times, Falerno was the favorite drink of the Emperors and poets. With the prestige of this wine it was extremely important to maintain the quality.  The wine, being small production and expensive to make, required attention to every detail. They came up with a unique way to make sure the wines were consistent. Instead of stomping on the grapes, which can not be regulated, the danced their way through maceration. The music was always the same every year, so the dancing was the same, repeating the exact rhythm and in turn same maceration every year.

He proudly explained how they blend the old and new. The nearly 2000 years of tradition with the modern technique of winemaking. Villa Matilde wants to honor their history while aiming for the future. With an eye on the future, Villa Matilde launched its “Zero Emissions” project in 2009 with an objective to progressively reduce their carbon footprint. In order to help attain their goals, Villa Matilde houses a composite system of solar panels. With 339 panels, they are able to produce 100,000 kw of clean energy per year and reducing their carbon dioxide emissions by 73 tonnes per year. Close attention to irrigation and insulation of buildings as well as painting all buildings an energy efficient white and planting trees to increase oxygen emission are other steps to guide their mission.

courtesy of Villa Matilde

Throughout the evening, we tasted through seven wines; four whites and three reds. 

2018 Falanghina Campania IGP (SRP: $14.99)

The fruit was harvested from vineyards located in Foglianise and Ponte. The soil is volcanic and is rich in phosphorous and potassium. The wine is 100% Falanghina and aged for three months in stainless steel. Produced to be drunk young, within the first two years, the wine is perfect for the upcoming summer months. Straw yellow in color, aromas of white flowers, tropical fruit and stone fruit. Flavors compliment the aromas, followed by a short but intriguing finish.  

2018 Greco di Tufo DOCG (SRP: $24.99)

Fruit from the center of Irpinia, Tufo and Chianchewith, the soils are tuff, with marly clay and sulphur. The wine is 100% Greco and aged in steel for four months. With an aging potential of about four years, you have plenty of time to enjoy this wine.  Straw yellow in color, aromas of white peach, and citrus notes. On the palate, minerality blends with stone fruits. Medium (+) acidity allows your taste buds to enjoy the finish for a bit longer and invite you to another taste. 

2018 Fiano di Avellino DOCG (SRP: $24.99)

Fruit from the Lapio, Montefalcione regions with tuff with marly clay soil. The wine is 100% Fiano and is aged in steel for four months. Suggested drinking period is within five years.  Pale straw color with aromas of walking through a garden, too many lovely flower aromatics to differentiate. Along with the garden, there is a hint of honey. On the palate, tropical fruit and spice and a long finish. 

2018 Falerno del Massico Bianco DOP (SRP: $27.99)

The fruit comes from San Castrese, Sessa Aurunca that has Volcanic, with abundant phosphorus and potassium soils. The wine is 100% falanghina (falerna biotype) and is aged in steel for three months. Suggested drinking period is within five years. Straw yellow in color, aromas of freshly picked peach and pear along with rose petals.  On the palate, the wine lasts on your tongue for ages as the flavors compliment the aromas.

2016 Aglaianico Campania IGP (SRP: $19.99)

Fruit from Torrecuso and Foglianise with soils that are rich in sandy clays, quartz sandstones, and fossil beds. Made from 100% Aglianico with an aging protocol of stainless steel, then a traditional stay in large ovals, and ultimately followed by 3 months of bottle ageing. Suggested drinking window of five years. Medium purple in color, aromas of spice and dark fruit and a palate of blackberry and spices. Long finish. 

2015 Taurasi DOCG (SRP: $37.99)

Fruit from Montemarano and Paternopoli where the soils consists of tuff, with abundant clay. Made from 100% Aglianico with a drink by date of 15 years. Matured in large 35hl-oak casks and in barriques for 18 months, followed by an additional 12 months in the bottle. Deep purple in color, with aromas of anise and black fruit and a lovely accent of violet.  A big wine, with flavors of licorice and red fruits. Well balanced with a long finish. 

2014 Falerno del Massico Rosso DOP (SRP: $29.99)

Fruit from San Castrese, Sessa Aurunca that contain volcanic, with an abundance of phosphorus, potassium, and other micro-elements in the soils. A blend of 80% Aglianico and 20% Piedirosso. Aging potential of ten years. Fifty percent was matured in one-third new Allier oak barriques, and the other half in the traditional 10- to 35hl large Slavonian oak casks, for a period of 10-12 months, followed by additional ageing in the bottle. Medium (+) purple in color with aromas of violets and black fruit. Flavors of cherry, black cherry and a floral essence. This full bodied wine coats your tongue and lasts for what feels like an eternity. 

This most famous wine in literature and history is a blend of aglianico and piedirosso; the clusters are carefully quality-selected from the hillside vineyards on the San Castrese estate growing on the slopes of the extinct Roccamonfina volcano, in the province of Caserta.

Kobrand is a family run company that maintains an impressive portfolio of brands from around the world. Since it inception in 1944, they have prided themselves on one principle; quality, making them the perfect match for the Villa Matilde whose motto is “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: Passion Without End.” Be sure to visit both Villa Matilde and Kobrand’s  websites to find out more about these wines and where you can purchase them. 

Salvatore Avallone and me

~Sláinte! 
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