It had been over a year since we had a full table of guests and wines at our structured tastings, and six months since we had anyone over for any comparative tastings, so after enough members of the tasting group became fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the time was ripe to begin again.

There was much to celebrate after the long time of isolation, so we decided to forego the usual semi-competitive blind format and instead focus on the wines of a single region in Italy, those of Campania. This region was picked for two reasons, 1) because we don't tend to drink these very often, and 2) because this area is where Ali's grandparents came from before emigrating to the United States.

With three whites and three reds, all made from indigenous grapes, we felt this was a good sampling of Campania, and we were happy with how different each bottle tasted. Three bottles came from one of the best producers in this area, Mastroberardino.

Wines are listed below in the order tasted, non-blind, and no points were awarded.

Special thanks go to Gasbarros for supplying three of the six wines, and thanks to Andy for this month’s photos.

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco 2019. Tasters found scents of lemons, grapefruit, green apples, graphite, and fresh herbs. Some clear minerality, suggesting pebbles. The palate expressed more of that chopped up fresh herb quality, with bright acidity and notions of Meyer lemons and grass. Fresh, and not tiresome. Finishes a little ashen, and lingers nicely. We felt that this would pair well with grilled fish next to the bay of Naples. 100% Coda di Volpe. About $22.

Terredora Di Paolo Falanghina Corte Di Giso 2019 (Irpinia). Complex nose of white peaches, lemons, wet rocks, citrus oil, cumin, and stone basement. A little musty/dusty. Josephine found a "slight freesia" note. In the mouth, it was very different from the nose, like green onion or chives, but definitely herbal, plus hints of white pepper and nutmeg. Ali described the taste as "so brown", while Andy felt it was "like a clay". Intriguing. Josephine noted "a little bit of elusiveness to it that makes me want to keep going back for more." Would pair well with an herb roasted chicken. About $16.

Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo 2018. Plenty of minerality, like wet stones or river rock, plus scents of fennel, lemons, honeydew, and green olives. Ali detected "something gelatinous", with Josephine finding a "cheerful assertiveness to it." Had a greenness, like crushed stems. Andy got a lot of fennel sausage notes. Citrusy flavors, along with green apples and fresh herbs. Tart, like a lemon lollipop, or candied lemon, with Ali deciding on "lemon/herb Ricola." Would be bracing enough to stand up to foods like pesto. About $24.

Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso 2019. Unfiltered. David was not enamored with what he perceived as a funky, diapery nose that suggested a dirty barnyard, but others found it a pleasant, clean barn with some leather boots. In fact, half the group described a terrifying place with dead animals, while the other half detected some orchards nearby. Otherwise, the group found scents of weeds, kalamata olives, and black cherries. Suzanne noticed some "white-out" scents. Tart in the mouth, with flavors of cherries, rubber tires, asparagus, and fish mint. Youthful and a bit simple, then a short finish. Kristin proclaimed that "this does not taste good", while Ali described "tears of a clown", and Andy finished with, "I'll let Jesus do the crying". Much better when tasted with food. Made from 100% Piedirosso. About $26.

Montevetrano Core 2016 (Campania). Made from 100% Aglianico, this offered complex aromas of leather (like an expensive wallet), baby powder, cologne, waxed cotton, plums, pomegranate syrup, dark cherries, prune juice (including the can), fig newtons, and a little bit of smoke and earthiness. Suzanne detected "wintergreen toothpaste." Intense on the palate, with notions of tar, mint, and candied fruit, this seemed a bit out of balance, with some heat from the alcohol standing out. Suzanne described a Robitussin quality. Toothy tannins, full-bodied, with a long finish. About $32.

Mastroberardino Taurasi Radici 2014. More floral on the nose than the Core, but also intense, with scents of old books, coffee, leather, raw meat, iron, roses, dark mushrooms, squid ink, strawberries, and hints of chocolate. A saline, bloody quality, with a hint of smoke and cough syrup. Josephine felt it was "metallic in an organic way", with Andy guessing correctly that, "this smells expensive." Outstanding in the mouth, starting off bright with sweet fruit on the attack, then finishes dark, like coffee, bitter chocolate, and baking spices (cloves, mace, cinnamon). Something autumnal here too. Mineral finish. Josephine noted that it "takes you on a little journey", with Andy finding that, "this has the balance that's been missing in the others." 100% Aglianico. About $75.

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