Native vines


Aglianico is a grape of ancient origin whose name derives from the Latin Vitis Hellenica, perhaps coming from Euboea, thus reinforcing the hypothesis that it was introduced by the Greeks along the Tyrrhenian coast between the 7th and the 6th century BCE. The Aglianico campano, of ancient origin, is widely cultivated in the Campania region, and over the centuries, has generated numerous biotypes and sub-varieties. With all probability, it could be included in the family of Amineean vines which include many different varieties. Plinio and Columella, ancient Roman writers, divided the Amineean vines into five or six types, including Aminea, A. major, A. minor, A. gemina major, A. gemina minor, A. Lanata. However, it is not certain that today’s Aglianico is one of the vines that have made the wines of Campania Felix famous, nor if it was in any way related to the Aminea.

Plinio considered them native grapevines, although it is now certain that the Greek colonists in Campania brought them in the 8th century BCE when they founded Ischia and Cuma. We had to wait until around the 1550s for Aglianico to appear on the wines produced in the vicinity of Monte Somma, until then, known as Falerno. Thanks to this historical continuity and the written testimony of Columella, at the beginning of the twentieth century, Carlucci stated that Aglianico is the grape of mythical wines of antiquity. Despite this, many ampelographers still retain doubts about the identity of the grape variety, given the many phenological variants and the rich synonymy. Guadagno in the present day supports the hypothesis that the vine is not of Greek origins, because its high acidity is typical of wild grapes. The spread of this ancient vine in the pre-phylloxeric period of the late 1800s is linked to the cultivation areas of South Italy, which includes Campania, Puglia, Basilicata and Molise. Nowadays, the vine is mostly cultivated in Campania and Basilicata, with further biotypical differentiations according to the various areas – Taurasi in Irpinia, Biotipo Amaro in the Benevento region and Vulture for Basilicata. In the last twenty years, the development of genetic research on the vine has shown a remarkable varietal variability of the Aglianico, a vine that is unique to Vulture, Taurasi and the Beneventano / Taburno areas, but distinctly different to Aglianicone. The grapes usually grow in a large and compact cylindrically (though sometimes conically) shaped clusters, with one or more wings present. The actual grape is small and spherical, with pruinose skin and is dark blue in colour. It has late or very late maturation, depending on the altitude of the vineyard.

Coda di volpe

The Code di Volpe was called by Plinio, Alopecis, (Latin Cauda Vulpium). It’s an ancient vine in the Campania region, probably of Greek origin, that was already present in Italy at the time of the Roman era. The name is presumed to be linked to the particular shape of the grape cluster, which presents as a curve reminiscent of a fox tail. Ampelographers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (Frojo, Rasetti and Carlucci) describe it perfectly in line with the Roman description.

Like many other ancient Italian varieties, it is incorrectly known by other names, including Sheep’s Tail, and White Pallagrello, which are different types of vine. It’s uncertain if the Caprettone vine of the Vesuvian area is Code di Volpe called by a different name. In 1875, Frojo associated Durante and Falerno grapes to Coda di Volpe and these remain the only ones still recognised as such. Even though it is mainly present in the Benevento and Avellino regions, the Coda di Volpe is cultivated in all the provinces of Campania, where it is listed among the recommended varieties. As a wine grape vinified in purity, it gives rise to the homogenous typology in the wines of DOC Sannio and in the sub-regions of Taburno, Sant’Agata dei Goti, Solopaca and Guardiolo. The vine is not very vigorous, but adapts well to short or long pruning and backrest structure. It has a low bud fertility and inconsistent grape production. The grapes consistently present as a compact, elongated bunch, with two or more small wings whose weight varies between 250 and 300 grams. It is sensitive to climatic conditions during blooming. The grape itself is small and of yellowish green colour tending golden when fully ripe. It resists Botrytis fairly well; less to mildew. It adapts to different types of grafting. It ripens in the first half of October. The level of sugars at harvest is quite high, while the total acidity is quite low. The Coda di Volpe wine presents with a straw yellow colour of varying intensity depending on vintage and harvest time. The scent is pleasing, dominated by fruity pear aroma, with a floral nose and mineral hints. It is a savoury, non-acidic, full, rich-bodied wine that goes well with pasta in white sauce, rice, vegetables, and also with vegetable soups, white meat, and soft cheeses.


Like many other varieties in the Flegrei area, it is assumed to have arrived with the first Greek settlers before spreading further afield. The name appears to be derived from a Latin noun, falangae, meaning the support poles used in viticulture. The Falanghina name has not undergone particular transformations over the centuries, and even today is synonymous with Falenghina, Fallenghina, Fallanchina, Falanchina, which are simple dialectical inflections. There is one exception – the term Biancazita, a case of erroneous naming, since recent genetic investigations have proved it to be related to Ginestra.

Quoted in the agronomic inventories and in Le Muse Napolitane by Basile in the 1600s, Onorati places it in the variety designated table grapes. Frojo, in the early to mid 1870s, identifies two types: the Falanghina Bianca and Bastarda, found in the areas of Vesuvius, Ischia, Somma, and Flegrei fields, and the Bianca of the Northern Casertano, Formia and Sessa areas. Nowadays, the genetic analyses only distinguish Falanghina Flegrea from Falanghina Beneventana. Falanghina is spread throughout Campania, Molise and the province of Foggia. In the 1970s, Francesco Avallone rediscovered the vine in the Massico range, at the base of Falerno and greatly expanded the cultivation. The Martusciello family later expanded this cultivation to the Flegrei fields. Until recently, Falanghina Beneventana was not considered another variety from the Flegrea. Falanghina Beneventana seems to be originally from Taburno, a province of Benevento. Its presence in the other wine-producing areas of Campania is of lesser importance. The bunch size of Falanghina Beneventana does not differ much from Flegrea but has a more conical/pyramid shape and wing presence. The grape itself, even though similar in size, is more elliptical and when ripe, greenish-yellow. Maturation is medium to late, in early October.

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