A History of the Wines of the Amalfi Coast

The Costa d’Amalfi  DOC, located in the Campania wine region in southern Italy, has been given the DOC classification in 1995. Wine connoisseurs say the Amalfi Coast produces some of Italy’s finest wines. The spectacular vistas, rugged terrain, and picture-perfect settlements of this area have been well-known across the globe[1].

landscape photo of village houses near ocean

History of the Costa d’Amalfi Wine Region

In Campania

Wine has been produced in Campania since at least 800 B.C.E. by Roman and Greek settlers. When they first arrived, the immigrants brought ancient Greek grape varieties. It was not until around 30 years ago that the area began to change into the well-known wine region it is today. New estates are being managed by a younger generation dedicated to their profession and full of life[2].

Campania has a moderate and diverse microclimates and soil types, including volcanic soil from Mount Vesuvius’ eruptions, making it a desirable tourist destination. A major earthquake in 79 CE destroyed Pompeii, the ancient Roman city that had stood there for hundreds of years. In the 1880s, many vineyards were spared from the fatal phylloxera virus, a disease that ravages grape plants. As a consequence, native root material has allowed vines to flourish naturally[3].

In contrast to the white wines from northern Italy’s colder areas, those from Campania’s particular soil and terroir have produced some interesting white wines. Many of Campania’s vineyards are situated on mountain slopes, with milder temperatures, and the grapes’ acidity is not lost throughout the maturation process[4].

In the Costa d’Amalfi Region

In southern Italy, a region known as Costa d’Amalfi for its wine is located along the shore. Greeks people planted grapes about 600 BC. This region’s wines are meant to be matured. Thus it is the perfect destination for wine connoisseurs looking for a long-term holiday. They tasted the region’s beauty by walking through the vineyards and stopping at one of the many nearby wineries to taste the local cuisine[5].

The Ancient Greeks and Romans founded the Costa d’Amalfi wine area, as shown by archaeological findings. Wine was an essential part of culture throughout the rule of the Roman Empire. According to several Roman writers, wine was an integral component of the Roman diet. The Romans used around three to four liters of wine daily. Amalfi, Italy, is said to have been the site of the Romans’ first vineyards, developed in Italy during this period[6].

shallow focus photography of bluberries

The Influence on Italy

Several wine regions in southern Italy date back centuries. Religious practices in Sicily, Calabria, Campania, and Puglia necessitated the production of wine at early wineries in these regions. Their wines were afterward sold to other countries and areas, mainly northern Italy, to blend later. Wines of world-class quality may now be found in these regions, thanks to local and imported grapevines. Campania winemakers place a high priority on utilizing local grapes to develop unique wines[7].

To the southwest of Rome, Naples is the capital of the Campania region, including Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius, and Sorrento, as well as the islands of Capri and Ischia. The Amalfi Coast’s cliffs overlook the Mediterranean Sea, making it one of Italy’s most stunning landscapes. The country’s landscape includes both flat plains and towering mountain ranges[8].

Terroir of Costa D’amalfi Wine Region

Clay and limestone comprise the bulk of the soil in the Costa d’Amalfi region. The Costa d’Amalfi may not have as many limestone soils as the rest of Italy, but they are plentiful. Higher altitudes, where the environment is harsher, generally include limestone because it is a porous rock that can absorb water and prevent erosion. It is because limestone is a rock that is so hard to work with. In the Costa d’Amalfi area, clay and limestone soils may be found, even though they are not as common. Due to clay’s high porosity and ability to store water, it is an excellent soil for preventing erosion and flooding. Since clay can hold onto and release nutrients slowly, it is said to have a high cation exchange capacity[9].

The Aglianico vine, which produces wines like Taurasi in Campania, is more well recognized. This wine has been likened to Piedmontese Barolo and Tuscany’s Brunello. Both of these wines are regarded as among Italy’s finest reds, and for a good reason. Because of its historical origins, many people think of Taurasi as an up-to-date wine[10].

The climate of the Costa d’Amalfi wine region is typical of that found in the Mediterranean. A mild winter is followed by a mild summer, which is both hot and dry at the same time. There is much light out there. The climate is shaped by the closeness of the ocean, notably in terms of the average annual temperature. Snowfall occurs more often in the summer than in the winter, but temperatures are also higher[11].

Conclusion

Awe-inspiring is an understatement when describing the Amalfi Coast’s morphological structure, which has sheer cliff faces and lofty mountain peaks. Several terraces cut out of the mountain are ideal for growing grapes and making wine, both of which have won over the many visitors that have visited the coast for years[12]. As a result of the dynamic character of the area, the wineries of the Amalfi Coast have established themselves as one of Campania’s oenological excellences owing to the hard work of skilled grape growers and oenologists. Red grapes including Aglianico, Piedirosso, Sciascinoso, and Tintore are utilized in the DOC Costa d’Amalfi production[13]. The Tramonti area is known for its centuries-old Tintore vine. Winemakers in Furore, Ginestra, and Papella create a white wine known as Fenile, one of the most widely available. The DOC Costa d’Amalfi recognizes all white grape varieties for their ability to produce wine[14].

THIS DAY IN WINE HISTORY

June 29, 2013: An academic named Tomciocco wrote an essay with the title “Costa D’amalfi—A Wine From A Mediterranean Paradise” and published it[15]. This idea of the genuine roots of Amalfi Wines was called into question by the expert, who said that the Mediterranean area had a more significant part in its development. Consequently, every DOCG winery and vineyard has begun to refer to their wine varietals and traits as “Mediterranean Paradise.”

The history of the largest underground cellar in the world

References

[1] Kym Anderson, The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization At Work (Cheltenham, Uk; Northampton, Ma: Edward Elgar Pub, 2004).

[2] Paul Arthur, “Roman Exports To The North. Wine From The West: A View From Campania,” J. Swaddling, D. Walker E P. Roberts (Edd.) Italy And Europe: Economic Relations 700 (1995): 241–51.

[3] Loubèreleo A, The Red And The White: A History Of Wine In France And Italy In The Nineteenth Century (Albany: State University Of New York Press, 1978).

[4] Loubèreleo A, The Red And The White: A History Of Wine In France And Italy In The Nineteenth Century (Albany: State University Of New York Press, 1978).

[5] De Pasquale, “The Cultural Value Of The Amalfi Coast Terracing. A Legacy Of The Past And Opportunity For The Future.,” 2018.

[6] Svitlana Samorodova And Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

[7] Valentina Savo Et Al., “Folk Phytotherapy Of The Amalfi Coast (Campania, Southern Italy),” Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 135 (2011): 376–92.

[8] Kym Anderson, The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization At Work (Cheltenham, Uk; Northampton, Ma: Edward Elgar Pub, 2004).

[9] Paul Arthur, “Roman Exports To The North. Wine From The West: A View From Campania,” J. Swaddling, D. Walker E P. Roberts (Edd.) Italy And Europe: Economic Relations 700 (1995): 241–51.

[10] Valentina Savo Et Al., “Folk Phytotherapy Of The Amalfi Coast (Campania, Southern Italy),” Journal Of Ethnopharmacology 135 (2011): 376–92.

[11] Svitlana Samorodova And Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

[12] De Pasquale, “The Cultural Value Of The Amalfi Coast Terracing. A Legacy Of The Past And Opportunity For The Future.,” 2018.

[13] Kym Anderson, The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization At Work (Cheltenham, Uk; Northampton, Ma: Edward Elgar Pub, 2004).

[14] Svitlana Samorodova And Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

[15] Svitlana Samorodova and Lyudmila Yurchuk, “Delicious Italy Wine” (2016).

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