Italian wine icon leaves substantial legacy

2014-01-30T18:59:00Z Italian wine icon leaves substantial legacyCHIAR GIORLEO Napa Valley Register
January 30, 2014 6:59 pm  • 

Antonio Mastroberardino, who played a important role in the of history of Italian wine, passed away this week at the age of 86.

He is the winemaker who reinvented fine wine in the Campania. Here in Campania, we call him our master.

Mastroberardino founded the historical company of Campania, known throughout the world for its Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio and its production in the vineyards of the historic city of Pompeii, as well as for the excellent quality of Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo and the fateful Radici Taurasi.

Without Mastroberardino, we could not talk of Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo or Lacryma Christi of Vesuvio, wines that are now appreciated all over the world.

Because of Mastroberardino, these excellent wines still exist and they are special.

Mastroberardino survived the years of phylloxera, World War II and methanol phenomena with determination. Nothing and no one was able to stop him in his noble intention to defend his territory. He believed in the excellence of this land, even during those difficult periods when many experts abandoned their traditions. When others were changing to more fruitful grapes from other production areas, such as trebbiano, Montepulciano, sangiovese, and even barbera, he planted indigenous grapes, fiano, greco and aglianico.

This determination rewarded Mastroberardino; his ideas became a precursor to a philosophy that we are embracing — authenticity.

I had the honor of working with him, and a thousand words are not enough to describe the teachings of a master at work and in life — his elegance, his perseverance, his passion.

The Mastroberardino company, now run by his son, Professor Piero Mastroberardino, has never stopped investing in the area, improving the quality, opening of a resort with a golf course, restaurant and spa. Here also is a historic wine cellar with beautiful frescoes that decorate it.

The winery began the Villa dei Misteri project at Pompeii, which replanted vineyards that were destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 and recreating wines from Pompeii by using the same ancient grape varieties, viticulture and winemaking techniques of that period.

All Italy is writing about Mastroberardino today; the whole world will talk about him even in the next days.

Thanks, Antonio.

Read more of Chiara Giorleo’s work at ChiarasFoodAndWineGuide.com.

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