Campania Deserves Better

13 thoughts on “Campania Deserves Better”

  1. Good article, Tom, and very well argued. You have only to look at back issues of the Spectator to realize that its editors and writers have long had a problem with Italians wines. My theory is that their California-formed palates just can’t grasp what the characteristic acidity of Italian wines adds: They taste it more often as a distraction for their shibboleth, fruit, especially in white wines, and consequently they always score Italian whites well below their real merit. Of course in the past they’ve made some egregious miscalls on Italian reds too — does anyone remember when they declared 2000 Barolo “the vintage of the century? That was a hoot. You are right: the great white wines of Campania really suffer from their ministrations. 150 wines over a year? and not one of them anywhere near the vineyards? Gimme a break.

    1. Tom: Thanks for your comment. I strongly agree with you that the Spectator’s reviewers are used to powerful wines from California, rendering more understated whites and reds to lower ratings. Good point on your part!

      Yes, that 2000 vintage being the greatest vintage ever for Barolo? Laughable.

      Glad you agree that 150 wines a year is hardly a representative collection of Campania’s wines.

  2. Well said Mr. Hyland. I recently returned from a couple of days in Irpinia as a guest of Tenuta Cavalier Pepe. All four of Milina’s white wines, Falanghina, Coda di Volpe, Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo are distinctly different with a sense of place. Thank you for trying to get your readers to expand their palate.

  3. Oops! Meant to say “from their shibboleth fruit” and “150 wines tasted over the course of a year”. Scusi.

  4. Your opinion matters much more than the Speculator, whose scratch the surface journalism frequently delivers lots of style and very little substance. Let’s face it, the WS audience is probably mostly made up of rich neophytes who are more enamored of what’s on the label than they are of what’s in the bottle. And yes numbers are bull, you can’t quantify liquid art. Cheers.

    1. Jonas:

      I have to be honest with you. Your comment is as honest and as enjoyable as any I’ve received at this post in several years. I love the way you get right to the point. You said it better than I could!

      I think your commment – “you can’t qualify liquid art” is absolutely brilliant! I raise a glass of Fiano and Greco to you, my friend!

      1. Wow thanks for the kind words Tom. As an avid Italian wine fan I value your articles and posts highly. If you ever find yourself within striking distance of Hopewell NJ I have some Italian cherries in my cellar I’d be happy to share with you! Keep up the good – no great work! And I think I’ll open a Pieropan Soave tonight and toast you right back!

  5. Well done Tom. I agree wholeheartedly, but while we might quibble with the scores, to me the greatest failing of Ms. Nabjus is that she somehow missed out on the unique characteristics of these important white wines. Fiano from great vineyards and in the hands of a master, such as Colli di Lapio, as you mention, or our selection, Alfonso Rotolo, is a singular varietal that carries extraordinary expression which can be found only in Campania. Of course, we can say the same thing about Greco and Coda di Volpe for starters…

    1. Seth:

      Thanks for the insightful comment. Your thoughts are excellent and another valid criticism of Ms. Napjus’ article. You are correct, she is merely scoring these wines, as though they are all alike. She does not take into effect the singularities of each variety, which we know are quite distinctive. Excellent points on your part.

      The Rotolo wine sounds great. I will have to try that soon.

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