• 2016.05.20
  • Wine Travels in Campania
An event called “Campania Stories” comprised of 77 wineries in the Campania region was held, and I was invited as a journalist of Japan.
I felt a bit of hesitation at first being the sole participant from an Asian country, but since I had been visiting Campania many times since last year and wanting to learn more deeply about Campania, “Campania Stories” afforded me a great learning experience.

Campania is made up of five provinces: Napoli, Caserta, Benevento, Avellino and Salerno. During the period of the event, I stayed in Benevento, toured wineries all day on the first and last days, and the four days in between involved wine tasting in the mornings, after which we toured the wineries in the afternoon. The dinner party was held in a different province each day, where we enjoyed each province’s local wine and food together with the wine producers of the region.

Campania has quite a bit of famous sightseeing areas including the island Capri with the Blue Grotto, the island Ischia, Amalfi and the volcano Mt. Vesuvius. If I mention these names, I assume many of you will have an idea of where Campania is located.

It would be difficult to describe Campania’s wines and local cuisine only in one article, but I want to tell you about a local red wine grape variety called Piedirosso, which is still not well known in Japan.

Piedirosso is a local variety of the Campania region used for red wine. As implied by the words in its name, “Piedi” (feet) and “rosso” (red), the name is said to have come from the red stems of these grapes.

Taurasi, a great red wine suited for long-aging and a representative of Campania, is a red wine that is so famous around the world it’s even called the Barolo of the south. At least four years are required for production, it’s expensive in price, and a fresh wine still new on the market has a very powerful taste with firm tannins and acidity. That makes it difficult for fresh wine to manifest its merits without a long-aging process, but Piedirosso can be drunk earlier, with milder tannins and a more reasonable price tag, which can be enjoyed as soon as you buy it. Its acidity is just right, which I believe helps in its pairing with food, making it a good wine you can drink almost every day.

Of the different wineries that we visited, one winery was one that produced Piedirosso. Piedirosso is mainly produced in Campi Flegrei, which you may not be very familiar with. Perhaps you can get a better idea when I say that it is an area located in Napoli with sweeping views of the islands of Capri and Ischia.

When I visited the winery in Campi Flegrei, there was a young producer who deeply loved the land where he grew up in, was dedicated to only the varieties local to the land, and was determined to use wine in further spreading the history of Campi Flegrei, Capri and Ischia to all of Italy as well as to the world. I was moved to see his face so full of enthusiasm and hope.
At the conclusion, I asked this young producer what kind of food Piedirosso pairs well with, and he responded immediately saying, “pizza!”
Pizza = Piedirosso!
There certainly are many tasty pizzerias in various regions now, but I believe that Campania is the best place to go for pizza because of the delicious ingredients that can be found there, like the tasty vegetables including tomatoes, and the mozzarella made from the milk of water buffaloes.

The dinner party when we visited Napoli was at a good pizzeria as I expected, which we enjoyed with those from wineries near Napoli, and local wines including Piedirosso were served with the pizza. There is no way that the locally produced wine would not go well with the local cuisine, and it was the pizza that impressed me the most out of the many different foods I enjoyed in different places during this trip.
I highly recommend that you give pizza and the Piedirosso red wine a try if you have a chance to visit Campania.


  • Mirai Tsuda
  • JobAIS sommelier (Italy’s national qualification for sommeliers),Wine Journalist

Since acquiring the qualification as a sommelier, I have been visiting some 200 wineries each year. My goal is to share the fascinations of Italy to the people of Japan by holding wine seminars as well as writing about wine and Italian cuisine.

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