Tuesday, November 6, 2012

DONNACHIARA--Campania's BEST by Philip S. Kampe

“DonnaChiara”, Five Generations of Female Winemakers  by Philip S. Kampe

The Petitto family, from southern Italy’s Campania region, have been land owners for over twelve hundred years. Imagine what your relatives looked like in the 9th century? During that time period, (13 centuries) numerous Petitto family members, both male and female, were the winemakers for their estate. Their job was to supply the family estate with wine from their vineyards.
During this long period, not until recently, has a first in the wine industry of Campania been accomplished. The last five generations (150 years) of winemakers in the family have been women.
The most recent family winemaker, Illaria Petitto, an attorney by trade, decided to break from the family tradition and make wine on another parcel of family property, which is located  in Montefalcione. The land has been in the family for generations.
Production began in 2005.
The ‘Made in Campania’ wine style using modern technology paired with traditional terroir and ancient grapes has made the DonnaChiara vineyard a leader in the region.
The area surrounding the vineyard  is well known for the production of three Irpinian DOCG wines, Taurasi, Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino.
Illaria, like her mother, Chiara, for whom the vineyard is named (www.DonnaChiara.it) , wants to make wines  only with grapes that are true to the tradition of the area. As head winemaker and visionary, Illaria Petitto says “Our grapes are very ancient and rich of history that talks about our land. Each grape has different characteristics, as color, smell and flavor. I really believe that to return to the original that it will help our wines to obtain the right consideration they deserve”.
While everyone has been involved in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, I have had the opportunity to sample the wines of DonnaChiara, thanks to Cathleen Burke Visscher, an
Independent marketing guru who has urged me to sample the 5th generation female (Illaria Petitto) winemakers wines, under the relatively new DonnaChiara label.
What I found were wines that were ‘old world’, intertwined with remarkable ‘new world’ flavors and aromas that combined tradition with passion in each drop. I was literally blown away by the quality and consistency of each wine that I sampled.
DonnaChiara wines should be on your radar if you are a true wine lover. If you are  looking for a new label, at unbelievably reasonable prices, then DonnaChiara is your answer. 
The wines of DonnaChiara are readily available, although production is limited.
What I would recommend, and I will go out on a limb, are ‘All’ of the wines that are produced by DonnaChiara.
In my opinion, each wine I sampled was an exceptional interpretation of the grape that was represented.
My list begins with Sante Spumante Falanghina Brut IGT, a perfect sparkling 100% Falanghia wine that serves as an aperitif before, after or during a (seafood) meal.
At 14% alcohol, the Tarasi Reserva DOCG explodes with toasty, full, rich, dark fruit notes that interpret  the Aglianico grape in its original form. Just as warm and full-bodied is the Taurasi DOCG and Irpinia Aglianico DOC, both, a natural match for game and roast. For pasta, try Campania Aglianico IGT. Elegant seafood, lobster and crabmeat pair beautifully with Fiano di Avellino DOCG, while Greco di Tufo DOCG pairs with raw seafood and herb cheese. White meats have met their match with the wonderful Beneventano Falanghina IGT.
Love and passion for tradition has paid off for Illaria. The wines from DonnaChiara are a true testament to winemaking at its best.

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