A Visit to Feudi di San Gregorio in Campania

When I was growing up, my Dad always talked about his grandparents' homeland of Campania. They came to United States in the early 1900s from the hillsides outside of Naples to follow the American dream. According to my Dad, they never let go of their language and traditions, painting a romantic picture of the Campania countryside for him.

When we decided to go to Italy this year, visiting their village was high on his agenda. And then when we decided to go to their village—conveniently perched on a hill just outside the Taurasi DOCG—visiting the famed Feudi di San Gregorio winery was high on my agenda. With only 15 miles of twisting backroads between our ancestral village of San Nazzaro and Feudi di San Gregorio, my Dad got his lifelong dream and I got to taste Aglianico, Greco, and some Falanghina, too.

Visiting the Pietracalda vineyard at Feudi di San Gregorio

You Have to Want It

When visiting anything in Campania, you have to want it. Plain and simple. While it was only 15 miles between our destinations, those miles were filled with single-lane roads, hair-raising turns, dizzying hillclimbs, and what I'll politely call "passionate" Italian drivers. (Think it is just the countryside? No, please multiple that by ten-fold if you'd like to get on to the Sorrentine Peninsula.)
Primary wine grapes of Campania: Red grapes Aglianico and Piedirosso; white grapes Fiano, Greco, Falanghina.
But Campania is worth the adventure! Oh my god, those views. And once you find your final destination, it often feels like you've landed in a beautiful oasis. Feudi di San Gregorio is no exception. Neatly nestled between steep vineyards, Feudi di San Gregorio's modern facility punctuates the rustic surroundings.

Modern winery surrounded by roses

The building itself was designed by Japanese architect Hikaru Mori. It is surrounded by vineyards, rose bushes, olive trees, and fragrant herbs. Entering this space truly feels special. The barrel rooms are underground but have a well-designed tunnel that opens to the vineyard from which they source the Pietracalda Fiano di Avellino DOCG selection. Visiting the vineyard made the trek worth it.
Pietracalda roughly translates to "hot stone." True to its name, this south-facing vineyard is incredibly warm, and the sun is bright! Pack your sunglasses.
Rows of Fiano in the Pietracalda vineyard

Worth the Effort

After a wonderful and informative tour from guide Eda Bellofatto, we sat down to a tasting accompanied by delicious local cheeses and a basket of taralli. We asked Eda to pick our wines but I specified that I wanted to try one of the Falanghina bottlings and one sparkling wine. I was most excited by the sparkling because I have never seen it stateside! Their other wines are fairly easy to find but I didn't even know they made sparkling.
TIP: Campania wines are a total steal. Despite huge winemaking improvements in the region, they remain alarmingly undervalued.
Check out what we tasted!

Serrociela Falanghina del Sannio DOC
This 100% Falanghina is from their "Selections" range. The wine spends 5-6 months in stainless steel on its lees before it is bottled. The resulting wine is fresh and refreshing with beautiful floral aromatics. It is soft and lightly fruity. 

Pairing suggestions: Shrimp scampi, fish tacos, fresh mozzarella

Piano di Montevergine Taurasi Riserva DOCG
From the "Excellences" range, this 100% Aglianico spends 18-24 months in French barriques and 50hl barrels with medium toast. It is then bottle aged for at least 24 months. I found this wine to be a true and beautiful expression of Aglianico. It had the high tannins you expect but the edges were rounded thanks to the heavy oak aging. Expect dark fruit and berry flavors with a big dose of spice.

Pairing suggestions: Smoked brisket, pot roast, mushroom ragu

DUBL+ Traditional Method Sparkling Wine
They are very proud of their traditional method sparkling range named DUBL and it's easy to see why. The fact that this 100% Greco traditional method sparkling is under $20 is absurd. Think of it as a really fun, unique alternative to Cava. It packs a punch full of biscuit notes and minerality. I can't wait to try the sparkling rosé Aglianico that I brought home.

Pairing suggestions: White pizza, fried calamari, sushi

Falanghina and Aglianico

I also enjoyed a bottle of Feudi di San Gregorio's Piedirosso while in Italy, and brought home bottles of Greco di Tufo, sparkling Aglianico, and Taurasi DOCG. I think we will open the sparkling wine on NYE to celebrate 2018—the year of my parents' first trip to Europe!

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