Wine has something of a storied history in Campania. Falernian, a Campanian wine from the slopes of Monte Massico, was consistently discussed in Roman high society. Historical authors described as ”exceptional” the 121 BCE vintage, which sold for four times the normal price. Apparently the wine had extreme ageability, because the first review of it came almost a century after that historic vintage.
Campania has historically been known as a center of art, medicine and cuisine. Giotto, the Florence-based painter and architect from the late Middle Ages, painted several murals in Campania buildings that were later destroyed in an earthquake. One of Europe’s first medical schools was established in Salerno, where doctors were taught a combination of classic and European medicine, along with Arab practices. These practices were quickly adopted across Europe.
Food from Campania has more than made a name for itself. Three of Italy’s most famous dishes call Campania their home. Pizza was developed in Naples and has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become the world’s most-consumed food. The calzone was also developed in Naples and has become a favorite of pizzerias the world over. Perhaps less well known but no less delicious is the puttanesca sauce which also hails from Campania.
Land on which the grapes are grown heavily influences the wines of Campania. Of the region’s four DOCGs, two are for white wine and two are for red. Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Taburno DOCG are both made from the Aglianico grape, which comes from the distinctly volcanic soil in the southern part of the region. Coming from similarly volcanic soil types, Fiano di Avellino DOCG and Greco di Tufo DOCG are Campania’s white wine appellations, producing medium- to full-bodied wines with good minerality and easy food-pairing ability.