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  Wine Producers Issue 9, June 2003   
Villa MatildeVilla Matilde Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 8, May 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 10, Summer 2003

Villa Matilde

Falerno was one of the first great wines produced in Italy, praised and appreciated everywhere in ancient times, today this magnificent episode of enological history continues its tradition thanks to the efforts of this winery

 Falerno, a prestigious wine, very renowned during the times of ancient Rome, has always been of interests for researchers of the history of enology, praised and appreciated in ancient times, for a long period it seemed to be practically disappeared from the wine scene while being bound to his prestigious fame, almost a legend, of the great times when it had a magnificent splendor. Falerno sets its roots in classic ancient times. During those times it was a wine very appreciated and Pliny the Elder believed it had therapeutic qualities, it was considered by Horace his preferred wine, as well as by Virgil that in the second book of The Georgics wrote «Nec cellis ideo contende Falernis» (therefore no wine can be compared to Falerno). Many other illustrious people of the Roman times praised the qualities and the nobility of Falerno, whose maximum spreading was promoted during Julius Caesar's times. In recent times it was appreciated by Russia's Zar and it was the preferred wine at the court of King Gustave of Sweden and it also became the official wine of the Palace.


A view from Villa Matilde's vineyards
A view from Villa Matilde's vineyards

 After having lived a flourishing period of splendor and fame, which continued until the end of the 1800's, the production of Falerno suddenly stopped for more than half a century because of the terrible devastations of phylloxera which destroyed 95% of vineyards. To the catastrophical events of phylloxera survived few vines which subsequently formed the raw material to which Falerno would have been reborn thanks to the passion of a Neapolitan lawyer, Francesco Paolo Avallone, father of Salvatore and Maria Ida, current proprietors of Villa Matilde, that in his youth was assistant of Roman Law at the University of Naples and in his studies, done in books written by great classical authors, he often found mentions and praises for this great wine. Fascinated by the written witnesses found in the great classical books about Falerno wine, about 45 years ago, lawyer Francesco Paolo Avallone decided that we would have tried to revive this legendary wine. Lawyer Avallone began his studies and, with the help of some researchers of the Agricultural University of Naples, he started a project whose aim was to find out the proper characteristics of the grapes used in Roman times for the production of Falerno, by deducting them from the books of Pliny, Catullus, Columella and all the other authors that directly or indirectly left witnesses useful to the definition of the grape species to be used.

 As a result of these preliminary researches they started investigating about the ancient lands of Falerno, in particular the area of “Massico”, in order to verify whether there still were grapes having the requisites emerged by the researches. At the end of these investigations they found the vines to be used and they exactly found 20 vines having the requisites they were looking for: 10 were of Aglianico, that is the ancient Hellenico grape, a vine introduced in the colonies of ancient south Italy by Greeks, 5 of Piedirosso, (literally “red foot”), so called because of the characteristic color of the stem; two variety of grapes that opportunely vinified and aged would have produced red Falerno, and 5 of Falanghina, the grape used to produce white Falerno, the famous Vinum Album Phalanginum mentioned in the books of the renowned Medical School of Salerno. It seems that Falerno name derived from the deformation of term Phalanginum into Phalernium; therefore it is probably that the original Falerno wine was white.

 By using these few survived vines as a base material on which reviving the fame of Falerno, it was conducted a patient work on reproduction done by experts that allowed to save and propagating those few and precious survived vines and that were saved from the devastations of phylloxera. The vines from which the needed material for the reproduction was to be used, were scrupulously selected and grafted in sprouts resistant to phylloxera and then, little by little, they were successful in replanting the vineyards in the hills of Ager Falernus that produced for many centuries not particularly abundant harvest but of the best quality. The original plants are still kept at Villa Matilde winery and every time it is needed to plant new sprouts, the vines used for the propagation are directly taken from that old vineyard. Thus, after more than a century of absence, the first bottles of Falerno got again their way to the tables of connoisseurs.

 The current production of Villa Matilde, besides including the “Falerno del Massico” wines, also offers other wines, both white and red, produced with local grapes. Falerno del Massico is produced as white and red by using the ancient grape composition, faithful to the historical tradition of these wines. The white is exclusively produced with Falanghina, whereas the red, of which is also produced in the best years only a reserve as well, is obtained by Aglianico and Piedirosso grapes. With the very same grapes are also produced three “mono varietal” wines.


A vineyard of Villa Matilde
A vineyard of Villa Matilde

 Concerning the production of white wines, there is “Tenuta Pietre Bianche”, a young and crisp wine mainly produced with Falanghina and Coda di Volpe. The “Falerno del Massico Vigna Caracci” is a white wine produced with Falanghina grape harvested in a tiny vineyard of about three hectares (about 7.5 acres) and located in the hills near the volcano of Roccamonfina. The grape is harvested when it is fully ripe in order to exalt the aromatic characteristics and the wine ages in barrique for about five months. Another white wine produced by Villa Matilde is “Campostellato”, a particular reserve of Falanghina produced with selected grapes from which is obtained a particularly concentrated must, rich in aromas and acidity, that will be transformed in a full bodied wine.

 Talking about the production of red wines there is “Terre Cerase”, obtained by Aglianico grape, and “Poggio alle More”, produced with Aglianico and Red Coda di Volpe as well as other local grapes. Result of many years of selections is “Vigna Camarato”, a wine produced with Aglianico grape harvested in the vineyard having the same name, one of the oldest and best exposed vineyards in the estate's hills, located at the base of the volcano of Roccamonfina. The wine is aged in cask as well as in bottle for 18 months. Another interesting red is “Cecubo”, produced with Piedirosso, Abbuoto and Primitivo grapes, aged in cask. With dried Falanghina grapes, left on the plant until November, is produced “Eleusi”, an excellent late vintage. After the grapes have been harvested they are allowed to dry in mates under the sun and the must which is obtained is subsequently fermented and aged in barrique for three months followed by a long aging in bottle. The production of Villa Matilde is completed by two grappas, both produced with Falanghina pomace, and olive oil produced with olives harvested in the winery's estates.

 




Score legend

Fair    Pretty Good    Good
Very Good    Excellent
Wine that excels in its category Wine that excels in its category
Prices are to be considered as indicative. Prices may vary according to the country
or the shop where wines are bought




Falerno del Massico Bianco 2002, Villa Matilde (Italy)
Falerno del Massico Bianco 2002
Villa Matilde (Italy)
Grapes: Falanghina
Price: € 5,50 Score:
The wine shows a firm greenish yellow color, very transparent. The nose reveals elegant, refined and delicate aromas of acacia, pineapple, banana, litchi, apple, hazelnut, pear and peach. In mouth has a pleasing crisp attack however well balanced by alcohol, good correspondence to the nose, intense and agreeable flavors. The finish is persistent with clean flavors of pineapple, pear and banana. A well made wine.
Food Match: Boiled fish, Crustaceans, Pasta and risotto with vegetables and fish, Sauteed meat, Appetizers



Falerno del Massico Rosso 2001, Villa Matilde (Italy)
Falerno del Massico Rosso 2001
Villa Matilde (Italy)
Grapes: Aglianico (80%), Piedirosso (20%)
Price: € 6,70 Score: Wine that excels in its category
The wine shows an intense ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose has fruity, clean and intense aromas of black cherry, raspberry, blueberry, plum, violet and vanilla. In mouth reveals good correspondence to the nose and good balance. Intense flavors and good body. The finish is persistent with good flavors of plum and black cherry. This wine is aged in cask for 10-12 months.
Food Match: Meat with mushrooms, White roasted meat, Soft cheese, Stuffed pasta



Falerno del Massico Vigna Caracci 2001, Villa Matilde (Italy)
Falerno del Massico Vigna Caracci 2001
Villa Matilde (Italy)
Grapes: Falanghina
Price: € 10,60 Score:
The wine has an intense straw yellow color and nuances of straw yellow, very transparent. The nose is elegant, refined and of personality with aromas mainly of fruit and an agreeable hint of wood aroma which does not disturb the perception of other aromas. There can be perceived good and intense aromas of acacia, pineapple, banana, broom, litchi, apple, hazelnut, pear, peach and vanilla. The mouth denotes a pleasing crisp attack promptly balanced by alcohol and a good correspondence to the nose. Good and intense flavors of fruit, very elegant and pleasing. The finish is persistent with flavors of peach, pineapple and pear. A well made and pleasing wine where the typicality of the Falanghina grape is well recognizable. This wine is produced by cold maceration and fermentation in barrique followed by a 5 months aging in barrique.
Food Match: Fish appetizers, Pasta and risotto with fish, Fish and crustaceans



Cecubo 2000, Villa Matilde (Italy)
Cecubo 2000
Villa Matilde (Italy)
Grapes: Abbuoto (45%), Primitivo (35%), Piedirosso (20%)
Price: € 11,20 Score:
The wine shows a beautiful and deep ruby red color and nuances of purplish red, little transparency. The nose is full of clean and intense aromas, mainly of fruit, neat and pleasing. There can be perceived good aromas of black cherry, cocoa, licorice, blueberry, plum, black currant, violet and vanilla. In mouth reveals a tannic attack however well balanced by alcohol and a good correspondence to the nose, intense. The finish is persistent with pleasing flavors of black cherry, blueberry, licorice and plum. Cecubo is aged in barrique for 12 months.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Hard cheese, Braised meat, Stewed meat



Falerno del Massico Vigna Camarato 1999, Villa Matilde (Italy)
Falerno del Massico Vigna Camarato 1999
Villa Matilde (Italy)
Grapes: Aglianico
Price: € 22,50 Score: Wine that excels in its category
The wine shows a deep ruby red color and nuances of ruby red, little transparency. The nose reveals personality and elegant, refined, intense and clean aromas such as black cherry, cherry macerated in alcohol, chocolate, licorice, blueberry, black pepper, plum, violet and vanilla. In mouth has a good correspondence to the nose, a slightly tannic attack promptly balanced by alcohol, intense flavors and good body. The finish is persistent with pleasing flavors of black cherry and plum. A well made wine. Vigna Camarato is aged in barrique for 12 months and in bottle for 12 months.
Food Match: Game, Roasted meat, Hard cheese, Braised meat, Stewed meat



Eleusi Passito 2001, Villa Matilde (Italy)
Eleusi Passito 2001
Villa Matilde (Italy)
Grapes: Falanghina
Price: € 18,30 (500 ml) Score:
The wine shows a beautiful and deep amber yellow color and nuances of golden yellow, very transparent. The nose reveals great personality, with elegant, refined and clean aromas. There can be perceived intense and clean aromas of dried apricot, candies, caramel, quince jam, dried fig, litchi, cooked apple, honey, hazelnut, nut and pear. In the mouth denotes an excellent correspondence to the nose and a pleasing crispness and sweetness which make this wine very balanced. The finish is very persistent with long and pleasing flavors or dried apricot, litchi, honey, dried fig and nut. A great wine. Eleusi is produced with grapes left to dry on the vine until November and it is fermented in barrique and aged in barrique for 3 months followed by a long aging period in bottle.
Food Match: Hard and piquant cheese, confectionery, jam tarts



Villa Matilde - S.S. Domitiana, 18 - Cellole, Caserta (Italy) Tel. ++39 0823 932088 Fax ++39 0823 932134 - Winemaker: Riccardo Cotarella - Established: 1963 - Production: 350.000 bottles - E-Mail: info@fattoriavillamatilde.com - WEB: www.fattoriavillamatilde.com


 Wine Tasting  Share this article   Share on Google+   Summary of Wine Producers column Events 
  Wine Producers Issue 9, June 2003   
Villa MatildeVilla Matilde Cellar JournalCellar Journal  Contents 
Issue 8, May 2003 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 10, Summer 2003

Cellar Journal


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