2021 Agnanum ‘Sabbia Vulcanica’ Rosso
Region: Campi Flegrei < Campania < Italy
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming, volcanic sand, 60-100 year old vines, <15ppm SO2 at bottling
Winemaker: Raffaelle Moccia
NEW VINTAGE! On the edge of Naples lies the Campi Flegrei, on the steep slopes of an extinct volcanic across the Bay of Naples from Mt. Vesuvius and Pompeii. Raffaelle Moccia and his 85-year old father lovingly tend their 6-acre organic vineyard above the ancient village of Agnano (trivia tidbit: this is Sophia Loren’s hometown). Wine production has existed here since Roman times, with the majority of vines planted in steep, sandy terraces. Sadly, most growers have abandoned these sites because they must be worked by hand, with nothing more than a hoe – no way you can get a machine of any sort, or even a mule, on these slopes. The name Sabbia Vulcanica means “Vulcanic Sand”, and there are 4 distinct layers of volcanic sand here that give the wine a beautiful smoky minerality.
Piedirosso is often a blending grape, but here it shines solo, with the classic plummy note Piedirosso almost always carries on full display. You get graphite and herbs that remind us of Cabernet Franc, and a brininess that reminds us of Rhone Syrah alongside lifted red fruit and sour cherries, herbal notes and a subtle salinity -- not surprising given that the vineyards have a stunning sea view. Pair with anything that is full flavored -- anchovies, thick tomato sauce, black olives -- because the closing bolt of minerally acidity will clean everything up and have you reaching for another bite, another sip.