Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Campania, region of south-west Italy of which Naples is the capital. In the ancient world, Campania was the home of some of the most renowned wines of Italy, if not of the whole Mediterranean basin: surrentine, massic, and, most famous of all, falernian.

In spite of its southern location, Campania is known for its white wines, as daytime temperatures are largely mitigated by elevation in the mountainous inland (Campania boasts its own ski resorts) and its indigenous varieties, showcased in Campania’s many DOCs and DOCGs, are capable of retaining freshness and acidity in a warm climate. On the basis of its soil types the region can be broadly grouped into three parts. The volcanic, sandy soils of DOC Vesuvio and DOC Campi Flegrei (the ‘fire fields’ named by the Romans, who built thermal baths on the slopes of these extinct volcanoes) are almost in the suburbs of Naples, where the white falanghina and red piedirosso are planted on their own rootstocks as phylloxera cannot survive there. Once considered workhorse varieties, Falanghina and Piedirosso now receive serious attention, including higher density vineyards and lower yields. The DOC Vesuvio is based predominantly on Caprettone, Falanghina, and Piedirosso, resulting in white and red lacryma christi.