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Volcanic wines are hot right now, thanks to enthusiastic sommeliers and Master of Wine, John Szabo. Italy is full of volcanic regions both in the north and south. In the south, one of these trending regions lies on the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius.
Campania, Italy is home to several volcanic appellations like Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, Taburno, Irpinia, and Taurasi. White grapes like Greco, Fiano, and Falanghina in addition to the red wine grape Aglianico are the big stars here. Many producers in Camapnia, like Agricola Bellaria, work with all of the grapes
Agricola Bellaria is a relatively young winery and proprietor Antonio Pepe wants to focus on Aglianico moving forward. He does acknowledge how special the white grape Fiano can be. “Fiano di Avellino is a wine that shows best after two years in the bottle and if it is well-produced, can evolve over the course of 15 years,” he says.
Fiano is possibly my favorite Italian white grape and this effort from Bellaria doesn’t disappoint. I expect light floral aromas and intense mineral notes from the grape, which Bellaria delivers. Their Taurasi is also a present surprise with its core of dark fruit flavors. Here’s a look at my favorites from this set of current releases.
- Agricola Bellaria, ‘Oltre’ Greco di Tufo 2017
The Bellaria, ‘Oltre’ Greco di Tufo is a fresh Greco that saw only stainless steel. This has unique notes of pine, roasted almond, white peach, and a smoky, mineral flavor. This tastes like a volcanic wine through and through. Don’t think bright fruit, think soil, chalk, and even campfire-like flavors. Crispy acidity. This with fresh oysters would be a perfect pairing. Score: 88/100
- Agricola Bellaria, ‘Gold’ Fiano di Avellino 2018
I believe that Fiano is one of Italy’s finest white grapes. The Bellaria, ‘Gold’ Fiano di Avellino saw only stainless steel. Gorgeous notes of white flower, white peach, white pineapple, and a touch of starfruit. On the nose, I would expect a fruity white. The palate delivers a different experience. The wine almost tastes like a bowl of fruit salad mixed with crushed rocks from a local quarry. On the back end, there is an interesting interplay between the lemony acidity and mineral flavors. It’s complex and thought-provoking, not your normal fresh white. Score: 90+/100
- Agricola Bellaria, Taurasi 2012
The Bellaria, Taurasi is 100% Aglianico aged in wood for 12 months. This dark wine has a fantastic nose of dried cherry, plum, cedar, violets, and pepper. It still tastes younger than the vintage would suggest. It doesn’t have the tarry notes I would want in aged Aglianico but the palate is pretty with a good balance of fruit and savory notes. The acidity is high and the tannins here are big, so more time in the bottle would suit it well. Check back in on this in ten years. Score: 91+/100
You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.
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Agricola Bellaria provided tasting samples. The opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.