2022 Cantine Olivella VIPT Piedirosso, Vesuvio DOP, Campania, Italy (750ml)

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Growing up in a Campania household that made wine for its own consumption, Andrea Cozzolino had a natural curiosity for the grape vine. His childhood wonder turned into a real passion as an adult and inspired a 15-year odyssey to save the ancient, local grape, Catalanesca, from extinction. Catalanesca dates back to the 15th century and was brought to the region by the Spaniards when they ruled the Kingdom of Naples. Together with his friends, Ciro Giordano and Domenico Ceriello, Andrea founded Cantine Olivella in 2004 under the motto, "Catalanesca is our grape." Set in the small village of Santa Anastasia within the province of Naples, their 10 hectares of vines are situated on the northern slopes of Monte Somma in Mount Vesuvius National Park. They named the winery after the nearby Olivella spring where a fragment of an ancient terra-cotta jar was found in 1974, confirming the area had been producing wine in Pompeii before the bustling Roman city was destroyed by the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. In addition to Catalanesca, the Olivella vineyards are also planted to another commonly planted white varietal of Mount Vesuvius, Caprettone, as well as the red varieties, Piedirosso, Aglianico and Olivella.

Vipt is a play on the words “to drink” in Neapolitan dialect, which assumes drinking well and with pleasure. 100% Piedirosso from low-yielding, 25-30-year-old vineyard plots, located at 900 and 1,800 feet in altitude, in two of Vesuvius’ oldest viticultural areas, Sant’Anastasia and Somma Vesuviana. The grapes were hand-harvested, destemmed and fermented in tank on indigenous yeasts. Aged for 10 months in tank, then three months in bottle.

Aromas of dried red berries and whiffs of geranium. The palate is medium-bodied with flavors of tart cherry, red plum skin, a peppery spice and loads of dry minerality. Fresh but with depth and enough acdity to counterbalance its youthful tannins.

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