Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d’Italia 2016 – Stage 5: Praia a Mare — Benevento

Stage 4 turned out to be too hard for the sprinters. Tom Dumoulin regained the pink jersey. Marcel Kittel, now more than 8 minutes behind, will never get it back.

Stage 5 starts where stage 4 ended.




And then the more detailed stage map.



Now the wine start to get interesting. Again I quote from Gambero Rosso Italian Wines 2016:

“This region vaunts an amazing scenario and fascinating wealth of terroirs and native grape varieties, making it one of the most interesting in Italy. From vineyards at 700 meters in altitude, on the Apennines overlooking the Amalfi Coast, to the volcanic terroirs of Vesuvius and Roccamonfina, and the volcanic sands of Campi Fiegrei, few other districts can offer this breadth of wine country. Then there are the grapes: aristocratic fioano; lush greco; falanghina, enjoing an outright revival, the Mediterranian charm of biancolella from the islands. Those are just the white varieties. The redds include aglianico, per’ ‘e palummo and the recently rediscovered pallagrello nero, pallagrello bianco, and red-berried casavecchia, all enjoying a reneaissance in Caserta.”

The only problem is that we will only stay in this area for about a day. We have to start the discussion of wines by taking a look at tha map of the wine districts in Campania.


We start in Cilento DOC. This is a large area, and to a large extent overlapping with Paestum IGT. The reds are made mainly from Aglianico, blended with Piedirosso. The wines may also contain Primitivo, Barbera and Sangiovese. The whites are made mainly from Fiano, blended with Trebbiano, Greco Bianco and Malvasia Bianca. A good producer is Luigi Maffini.

I think the stage will also go through Castel San Lorenzo. Here the reds and rosés are made mainly from Barbera, blended with Sangiovese. This brings a touch of northern and central Italy to this region.

After ca 135 km, the riders enter the province of Avellino. Here we find some of Campania’s more interesting wine districts. We can start with an excellent red: Taurasi DOCG. It can be made from  100% Aglianico, which most producers do. But they are allowed to have up to 15% of other red grapes in the wine. It is said to be the crown jewel of southern Italy’s red. Some call it “the Barolo of the south”. It can be rich in tannins, and can be stored for a long time. Some well known producers are Mastroberandino and Struzziero. If you have not tried this wine, buy yourself som bottles.

We may say that we are doing this in the wrong order, and continue with two whites. The first is Fiano di Avellino DOCG. I have said that classified wine is often labelled [grape] + [area], such as in Fiano di Avellino. it is wine made from the Fiano grape in Avellino. The grape Fiano is at its best here. The wines are usually at their best after a year or two in the bottle.

The last wine for today is Greco di Tufo DOCG. It is produced to the east of Taurasi, and to the north of Avellino. Greco di Tufo is an excellent white wine.

Isaid in the introduction to this series that Italy is under pressure from Africa, also in a geological sense. We are now in an active and unstable area. November 23 1980, there was a severe earthquake int this area, known as the 1980 Irpinia earthquake. The epicentre was some 15 km easth of today’s stage. At least 2483 were killed, 7.700 injuried and 250.000 people were left homeless.

On July 23 1930 there was an eartquake in the same area, leaving 1404 dead and 4600-7000 injuried.

Italian Wines 2016

1890142174Italian Wines is published yearly by Gambero Rosso. This is a detailed guide to Italian Wines. 22 000 wines from 2 400 producers are listed in the book. If you want to fine the best wines from the various regions of Italy, this is your guide. This is a type of book I usually use when I am visiting producers, to find the producers to visit.

The book is available in a paper edition and a Kindle edition. One year, I bought the Kindle edition. But for this kind of book, I prefer the paper version. It is available from Amazon UK on paper and for Kindle. And from Amazon US in paperback and as Kindle edition.

Wines (and some other drinks) of Giro d'Italia 2016

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