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VINES WITHOUT EQUAL

Vines without equal in a land without equal

Harmony, aromatic complexity and typology are the main characteristics of the DOC wines of the Amalfi Coast.  It could not be any different since harmony, complexity and typology are the terms which best describe a unique land and its beauty, such as the Amalfi Coast; a territory which extends from Positano as far as Vietri sul Mare, along the terraces facing the sea, where the perfume of citrus fruits and Mediterranean flora mix with the smell of the sea, the mists of the mountains and the woods condensing first of all in vats and then in   glasses, in wines of great class.

he vines ‘climb’ the walls, grow horizontally, peep out from the rocks, run along stones and earth.  Slivers of space, great products which come from a vine-growing which is both extreme and heroic.  The vines are often real secular giants with a thousand arms, from which golden bunches of grapes hang; grapes of shapes, colours and aromas which are impossible to find in other areas, in that they are expressions of varieties cultivated exclusively on the Amalfi Coast.  This represents a further fascinating element of the strength of the vines and wine culture of the Divine Coast.  In fact, alongside Biancolella (a vine which grows near the sea, present only on the Coast, Ischia, Capri and Procida), Falanghina, Per e’ Palummo and Aglianico (the top grape of varieties typical of Campania) there are other vines which make up the DOC certification such as Pepella, Fenile, Ginestra, Ripolo, Tintore and Tronta, all of which further contribute to the exclusiveness of the coastal wines.

 Fenile

There is no mention of this variety by the wine experts of the 17th century; it is found only in the municipality of Furore.  There are secular grafts on vines which bear witness to its presence there for time immemorable.  The name Fenile, according to vine-growers of the area, probably derives from the golden blonde colour of the ripened grape which resembles the colour of hay (fieno).  The bunch is small, cone-shaped, winged and compact.  The accumulation of sugar is good, while the acidity of the must is contained.  This variety imparts fragrances of exotic fruit and honey to the wine.

 

 

Ginestra

La The presence of the Ginestra vine dates back to 1825, when Acerbi mentioned it as one of the varieties found in the Naples area.  It is also known locally as Biancazita or  Biancatenera.
It is present all along the coast.  The bunch of grapes is cone-shaped, simple and compact.

It has a excellent accumulation of sugars and guarantees high levels of total acidity.  In the wine, there are floral fragrances which evolve over time into a note of kerosene, a characteristic which associates it with Riesling.

 

 

Pepella

The Pepella grape is mentioned, also as Pepe, in Campania in 1877 by Di Rovasenda in the essay “Saggio di ampelografia universale” (Essay on universal wine classification) and, later, in 1909, by Viala e Vermorel in “Ampelographie” (Wine classifications).  The name derives from the presence of very small grapes, together with the normal grape, which look like peppercorns, and which are determined by a floral defect.  Its introduction to the Amalfi Coast is probably quite recent, however, no earlier than the end of the 18th century.  The vine is mainly found in the areas around Tramonti, Ravello and Scala.  Its wine has strong fragrances of apricot and honey.

 

 

Ripolo(i)

The first and only description of this variety is by Arcuri and Casoria in 1883.  The vine is found exclusively in vineyards in Furore, Amalfi and Positano, often with a limited number of plants, generally sturdy and propagated.  It shows an excellent capacity of accumulating sugars and favours the presence in the wine of very evident fragrances of exotic fruit which evolve with ageing into notes of kerosene, typical of wines produced from Riesling grapes.  The bunch of grapes is cylindrical, winged with few grapes because of a morphological defect of the flower.

 

 

Tronto

This grape has a close morphological relationship to Aglianico, as evident in its molecular DNA structure,  A retrospective examination of the written descriptions of the various types of Aglianico, present in Campania in the 19th century, lead to believe that Tronto may have been the Aglianico described by Semmola.
This variety is particularly common in the areas around Furore, Positano and Amalfi, where it is traditionally grown on trellises, with two or three plants per row.

 

 

Tintore

This variety is known by no other name and is exclusive to the territory of Tramonti.  Under the name Tintore, we find a group of varieties whose common characteristic is the remarkable colour of the wine, but very different with regards to other morphological characteristics.  The molecular DNA structure of the Campania varieties has revealed a genetic relationship between the Tintore from Tramonti with other grapes rich in colour such as Olivella and Mangiaguerra.
It is trailed on trellises, in old often secular vineyards without support.  The vine is quite vigourous and of low fertility.  The production is somewhat limited, also because of dripping, sometimes quite considerable, owing to an excessive sensitivity to climatic conditions during flowering.  The bunch of grapes is cylindrical, sparse, and rarely winged.  Upon ripening (around the first ten days of October), which coincides with a typical reddening of the stalk and the pedicel, the grapes have high sugar content and an excellent level of total acidity.  The wine is rich with fragrances typical of red berry fruits (egriot, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry) and violets. The tannins are soft and velvety; excellent structure, intensity and persistence.