Vesevo Greco di Tufo 2005
The two constituents of the name Greco di Tufo suggest solidity and history. Working
backwards, the “Tufo” refers to the sulfur-rich volcanic soil that characterizes certain areas of
upland Campania east of Naples. The “Greco,” of course, suggests a Greek origin for this
wine. While scientific analysis has not been able to trace back any modern vine anywhere
(even in Greece) to any known variety of the ancient Greeks, the Greco, Grechetto and
Aglianico grapes of southern Italy (the region the Greeks called Oenotria, “land of the
trained vines”), are ancient enough to generate respect. Greco di Tufo DOCG
(Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) refers commercially to dry white
wine made in a fairly limited area from variants of the Greco Bianco grape.
White does not equate to light in the case of the $15 Vesevo Greco di Tufo. The twin themes of this wine are acidity and minerality, but the wine backs these up with true personality. The wine is a shimmering gold, deep in the center, paler toward the edges. The key aroma notes are apricot, apple peel, almond, a broad array of warm flowers, and a touch of fragrant, freshly ground cinnamon.
The acidity is north of medium, but with plenty of counter-balance, particularly in body, mouthfeel, pulpiness; call it what you will in this spirited wine. The aromatic notes are consistent with the palate; add a tangy orange and a filling minerality. The lengthy finish brings elements that balance exceptionally well: sour with bitter with mineral with fruit ripeness.
This Greco di Tufo is fun to be sure, but it would be a mistake to quaff it only as
refreshment. After tasting, I enjoyed the wine with several meals; the wine presents its acidity
so well as to match nearly anything. With food it is an absolute scene-stealer, hence it would
be a shame not to give the wine at least a few moments on its own.
Verdict: More of this, please.
The origin of many Italian vines is shrouded in mystery. Some may be younger than the legends claim; others may be much older. The vine plus land equals wine equation is what truly counts.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman