There are places on our beautiful planet where all the positive energies of the world magically converge. For the most pragmatic ones, let’s put it this way: it must be a corollary of the absolute gravitational law, which escaped even Einstein, and is yet to be discovered! To you scientists then, get down to work on it! In the meantime, we the helpless romantics, will continue to believe it is all about magic.
Terra di Lavoro is one of my favorite wines, I have been deeply in love with it for years now. However, due to some strange physical law, equal and contrary to the previous one, or perhaps some evil spell, it took me years to come visit the places of this extraordinary wine. It has never been missing in my cellar or at any fair or event of my long career as a serial taster. I have become friends with Arturo and Allegra and it is always a joy to meet with them, and I am finally on my way to Galardi, their Cellar.
The wonderful ride up to the slopes of the extinct volcano of Roccamonfina is definitely worth the trip. The narrow streets wind for miles along the green countryside. The shades of autumn paint a landscape worthy of one of the greatest Monet. The air gets increasingly fresh and invigorating as we drive up. Time slows down, space curves, just as it happens near a gravitational field that finally attracts me as well!
The more we drive forward the more it feels like going back in time, when everything was still untouched and devoid of all this technology which is sometimes a bit too intrusive. The mobile phone has no signal anymore, cars disappear, the houses disappear, there is only us and some sporadic tractors in this wonderful countryside in the Caserta area. Today I feel very much like journalist and writer Mario Soldati from the sixties! We are almost there now, and I can definitely feel a surge of excitement. There is electricity in the air; the cellar is not into eyesight quite yet, but I swear I can smell wine!
I know the story of Galardi, I know where it is, but I had never even dared to imagine what it was like. And even if I had, I could have never imagined a place of such beauty. Surrounded by chestnut and olive trees, the vineyards and the winery overlook the sea on one side, and the plain of Caianello/San Vittore on the other, one of the windiest places on earth. The resulting microclimate, together with the volcanic soil, make it perfect a perfect place for viticulture. There are only two red varieties, the legitimate natives of this land:
- Aglianico – powerful, dark, tannic and structured
- Piedirosso – its ideal partner, which gives softness and adds freshness
For decades, the only label produced has been Terra di Lavoro, the iconic wine from the South and from Italy in general, able to gain a place of honor for itself, even at an international level, working its way between Brunello and Barolo. A wine that tells the story of a very ancient territory in a striking contemporary way. Very powerful and exuberant in its first years, it needs to be tamed a little, but we know that’s the way it is with Aglianico! With time it gives out the joy of perfection, bright, overwhelming, enveloping, to further evolve into a handsome gentleman of high class, eloquent, authoritative, elegant! All you have to do is chose your vintage according to your taste!
It is hard to think of producing a new label when your Champion is called Terra di Lavoro, because going beyond this masterpiece is truly impossible. For some years now, and only in the best vintages, there is also Terra di Rosso, 100% Piedirosso that strikes for its immediacy and gracefulness. A carefree, easy and enjoyable wine to drink away without thinking too much about it, but that will make you think afterwards, and with good reason, that you have just tasted a rare gem. The Piedirosso you don’t expect, with a truly elegant, silky, fresh taste, soft tannins, nice minerality and a hint of fumé! Despite aging in barrique for eight months, it retains all of its true and precise varietal aromas of geranium, cherry, red berries, myrtle, sweet spices, tobacco and a nice spray of sea breeze.
Let me wrap it up expressing my deepest gratitude to Arturo Celentano for having welcomed us in this enchanted place where anyone would finally feel at peace with the world, for the time he has spared for us, for the wonderful walk to the edge of the woods, for the amazing tasting in the cellar, where his wines have naturally expressed themselves at their highest level finding a perfect match and sound box with the scents and intoxicating sensations that you can find only there, where everything begins.