Having been in the wine business for nearly 25 years, it can be quite difficult to stump me with a variety that I haven’t tasted before. If there is one country where that happens from time to time, it is Italy. With all its indigenous varieties and small producers, there is always something new to taste.
Sciascinoso is a variety that comes from the region of Campania. It often is blended with other varieties, including Piedirosso for Lacryma Christi Rosso. There are only around 400 hectares of the variety planted in the entire region. The grape bunches themselves are usually big and round, with medium-sized berries.
This past March, I had the pleasure of traveling to Campania. I visited around 10 producers throughout the region, including a visit to the Sannio district in the province of Benevento. My meeting with Marenza Pengue of Fosso degli Angeli was a great memory.
This small family farm grows just 7 hectares of grapes as well as 10 hectares of olives. Farmers for three generations, they began producing their own wines in 2009. The vineyards are mostly on calcareous clay soils at an average height of about 450 meters above sea level.
In 2014 the family planted the rare Sciascinoso variety, and they have finally start to produce this wine from that parcel. They produce just 1,300 bottles of Sciascinoso, from a southeast-facing parcel planted at 200 meters. The wine is fermented with natural yeast in stainless steel, with six months of aging in tank and six months in bottle.
Here is Sciascinoso in its purest form. Pretty aromas of dark plum, mineral, and spice lead to a medium-bodied mouthfeel, with ripe dark and red fruit and well-balanced acidity and tannins. A dangerously easy wine to drink, this is the perfect week-night pizza wine.
Fosso degli Angeli
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