Tenuta di Meriggio: A gem of a winery in the heart of Irpinia

Tenuta di Meriggio, standing at 550 meters above sea level along the Sierra di Montemiletto is a hidden gem of a vineyard. It is located in Irpinia, within Campania, a Southern Italian region with a centuries old reputation for grape vine cultivation. The continental climate and clay, limestone and sand rich soil come together to create the perfect conditions for growing the white grapes, Fiano and Greco di Tufo, and the red grape, Alglianico. The philosophy at Tenuta di Meriggio centers on making wines that reflect the best of what the land has to offer by letting nature take its course whenever possible. As a result, use of pesticides and other chemicals are kept at an absolute minimum. Environmentally sustainable practices are also frequently employed in the winemaking process. This includes the conservation of water, heat and electricity. Stainless steel tanks, oak casks and tonneaux are used to ferment, age and store the wines after which they are bottled and eventually released.

Tenuta di Meriggio came to New York City on December 2, 2019. The pairing of the winery’s three whites and two reds with a four course Southern Italian menu created specifically for Tenuta di Meriggio’s quintet of wines at the The Leopard at Cafe des Artistes was inspired.

A delicate Fiano di Avellino D.O.C.G., 2018, with aromas of white stone fruit and fresh green herbs, and balanced notes of ripe peach, apricot and baked green apple, and an elegant Fiano di Avellino D.O.C.G. Selezione with refined aromas of orchard fruit and mint, and soft and supple notes of citrus fruit, peach and papaya, paired seamlessly with a savory and subtly earthy parmigiana di zucchini with Scamorza e Salsa al Pomodoro. The Fiano grapes used to make both wines were hand harvested, fermented in stainless steel tanks, and left on the lees for several months before bottling, to amplify the floral and fruit dominant qualities of the grape.  Fiano is cultivated throughout Avellino. It is one of the only white grapes that evolve and grow more complex over time. This can be ten years or more depending on the vintage. Older Fiano tend to exhibit increasingly earthy, grassy and even petrol elements without losing their inherent elegance when aged for a prolonged length of time.

A duo of Greco di Tufo –often considered the prince among Irpinia’s white grapes — has a venerable history dating back two millennia. Greco di Tufo has been grown throughout Campania since the 17th. century when Greco di Tufo vines were brought from the hillsides of Cicala in Nola. The Greco di Tufo, D.O.C.G., 2018 is fermented in stainless steel tanks before undergoing maceration for several months. The result is a bright and well structured, fruit driven wine, with aromas of lemon, lime and green apple, and notes of peach, apricot and pineapple. An al dente scialatielli di grani antichi ai frutti di mare with a subtly and pleasantly briny character complemented this pair of wines.

Two reds — an Aglianico, D.O.C., 2013, and a Taurasi, D.O.C.G., 2014 were presented with a carre d agnello insaporito alla erbe con croquette di potate e spinaci saltati in padella. The Aglianico grape has been cultivated in Campania for thousands of years. It is viewed as a grape which, when vinified, best reflects the terroir and climate from which it is derived that is, in turn, shaped by the environmental conditions that characterize the land. The Aglianico exhibited aromas of fresh raspberries, blackberries and cherries, and juicy notes of dark berries, black fruit and delicate spices.

The Taurasi, D.O.C.G., 2014 was produced from Aglianico grapes that were grown on the winery’s vineyard with the highest elevation. It is hand harvested, and left on the lees for an extended amount of time, before being transferred to oak barrels to age for two to three years. It spends an additional year in the bottle before it arrives on the market. The wine is characterized by enticing  aromas of raspberries, cherries and plums, and lush notes of ripe strawberries, blueberries and blackberries, dark fruit and pepper.

A traditional Neapolitan dessert of pastiera Napoletana followed, providing a delicately sweet end to a classic and comprehensive Southern Italian experience.

The grapes used to produce all these wines at Tenuta di Meriggio were sourced from the winery’s own vineyards. Their exemplary quality is a result of Tenuta di Meriggio’s dedication to producing wines that reflect the character of the soil, as well as the area’s climate and environment. This, in turn, guides the winemaker ‘s approach as he strives to create wines that are unique, highly distinctive and that embody the best that the land has to offer.

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