Cantina Bambinuto is owned by Marilena Aufiero and her husband and they have been producing their own wines since 2006. Annually, they now produce around 25,000 bottles a year from seven hectares. The cantina is in the village of Santa Paolina, high up in the hills east of Naples – the views from up here are just sensational.
The Greco grape may have been brought to southern Italy more than 2,500 years ago by ancient Greek settlers. After the Second World War, the Greco was on the verge of extinction. Fortunately, through the efforts of people such as Marilena and other producers, the Greco is now widely grown in Campania. Marilena and her husband concentrate on wines made from the Greco and from this grape they produce a sparkling wine and also a passito. The passito is made by drying the harvested grapes on trays for six months before fermenting them and then maturing the resulting wine for four years in a barrique. I decided to pass on the passito in favour of the two Greco di Tufo DOCG wines they produce.
The first DOCG I tasted was a classic Greco di Tufo from 2018. The grapes come from one of the cantina’s two vineyards, this one at 450m above sea level. This wine is fermented in steel and spends 12 months on the lees before being bottled with no malolactic fermentation, Pale straw in colour with a bouquet of clementines in the mouth, there is strong acidity with a taste of lime and a warmth in the back of the mouth from the alcohol for this is a wine that is 13.5%. It has more body than many white wines due to the time spent on the lees and this makes it more versatile in the foods that it can be paired with. It will obviously go well with fish but I think particularly with spaghetti alle vongole.
The second wine I sampled was Greco di Tufo Picoli 2018. As with the preceding wine, this is fermented in steel and spends 12 months on the lees before being bottled. The difference here is that the grapes come from a vineyard much higher up at 600m. The colour is straw with hints of gold but the contrast with the first wine is immediately apparent on the nose where the bouquet is big with lemon and elderflower. On the palate there is less acidity and the almost sweet flavour of Amalfi lemons. It is, if anything, more full bodied than the previous wine with a good finish. Marilena recommends pairing it with salmon or baccalà. It is fashionable here in Italy to produce very light and crisp white wines that have an almost ephemeral quality about them in their lightness, so it is refreshing to find someone who is prepared to take a different view and to produce a white wine with structure and body.