Meet The Winemaker:
C&C Wines’ Portfolio Ambassador Peter McCombie MW in discussion with Angelo Valentino
PM: You have worked across Campania, with many different grapes – Do you have one favourite grape or region?
AV: My favourite grapes are Fiano and Aglianico, because with them I can make the most characterful wines that also age well.
PM: Fiano has become better known in recent years, but probably does not get the recognition it deserves. Maybe it is because there are too many ordinary examples. What makes Fiano di Avellino and in particular Fiano di Avellino from Lapio special?
AV: In the past, farmers used to plant fiano vineyards in the best sites. Now, even though you can find vineyards everywhere, Lapio has the best soil, which contains a lot of clay. In addition to this, there’s a windy climate, so the grapes can reach perfect maturation.
PM: There was a time not so long ago when farmers almost could not give Falanghina away, but today it is much more desirable. What are its virtues as a grape (you could argue high acidity could be a virtue or a vice!) and how do you get the best out of it?
AV: High acidity isn’t a virtue in wine – the most important thing is the balance with other components and this is important when producing a high-quality falanghina wine. To make the best wines from it, grapes must be fully matured.
PM: Most of your white wines do not see the inside of a barrel, is that a deliberate winemaking choice? What are the reasons?
AV: I made the choice to not to put white wines in wood because I wanted the primary characteristics of the grape to be preserved.
PM: Is Aglianico the greatest grape of Southern Italy?
AV: Aglianico is one of the greatest grapes of Italy, and in the south it is the most important.
PM: There seems to be a hierarchy of red wines in your portfolio, which are all made from Aglianico. Can you talk me through them? How do you want wine lovers to see them and how does that affect your winemaking decisions?
AV: With Aglianico you can produce young wines which are ready to drink immediately (Aglianico Campania), you can make wines for medium and long ageing (for example our ‘Redo’ and ‘Taurasi’ wines), and more importantly you can make wines for meditation and consideration (for example our Stilla Maris).