Drink like the Romans - Mastroberardino!

The Bourbon Land Register records the Mastroberardino family as being involved in winemaking in Campania as far back as the early 18th century. A total of ten generations of the family have since made wine in and around the town of Atripalda in Irpiana, a remote area of Campania, situated 30km from Naples, in the foothills of Mount Vesuvius. Today, Mastroberardino is one of the most historic and highly respected wine dynasties in Italy, famed for their production of DOCGs: Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino and Taurasi. Since the mid-1990s, the company has been led by vintner Piero Mastroberardino who took over the helm of the business from his father, Antonio.

Drink like the Romans!

Mastroberardino is one of the leading wineries and wine families in all of Italy in terms of production, market impact, and innovation. This is one single family with a winemaking history which dates back to the early 18th century, and which is largely responsible for the viticultural success of Campania's remote Irpinia area.

The Mastroberardino family have earned themselves a place in Italy’s viticultural history as a guardian and protector of indigenous grapes of Southern Italy’s Campania region. The family has not just worked to maintain these varieties, but Mastroberardino has successfully turned would-be extinct grapes into world class varieties.  

This work of transformation began in earnest after WWII when Antonio Mastroberardino returned to his family’s estate to find it in ruins-- the result of economic hardships, phylloxera, neglect and war. Antonio refused to let his family’s legacy fall to circumstance, however, and he worked tirelessly to restore the land he loved.

The Mastroberardino family achieved this restorative transformation by replanting existing vineyards and purchasing the best land they could find to focus on revitalizing Campania’s three ancient varietals of Fiano, Greco, and Aglianico.

Campania

Wine has something of a storied history in Campania. Falernian, a Campanian wine from the slopes of Monte Massico, was consistently discussed in Roman high society. Historical authors described as ”exceptional” the 121 BCE vintage, which sold for four times the normal price. Apparently the wine had extreme ageability, because the first review of it came almost a century after that historic vintage.

Campania has historically been known as a center of art, medicine and cuisine. Giotto, the Florence-based painter and architect from the late Middle Ages, painted several murals in Campania buildings that were later destroyed in an earthquake. One of Europe’s first medical schools was established in Salerno, where doctors were taught a combination of classic and European medicine, along with Arab practices. These practices were quickly adopted across Europe.

Food from Campania has more than made a name for itself. Three of Italy’s most famous dishes call Campania their home. Pizza was developed in Naples and has enjoyed a meteoric rise to become the world’s most-consumed food. The calzone was also developed in Naples and has become a favorite of pizzerias the world over. Perhaps less well known but no less delicious is the puttanesca sauce which also hails from Campania.

Land on which the grapes are grown heavily influences the wines of Campania. Of the region’s four DOCGs, two are for white wine and two are for red. Taurasi DOCG and Aglianico del Taburno DOCG are both made from the Aglianico grape, which comes from the distinctly volcanic soil in the southern part of the region. Coming from similarly volcanic soil types, Fiano di Avellino DOCG and Greco di Tufo DOCG are Campania’s white wine appellations, producing medium- to full-bodied wines with good minerality and easy food-pairing ability.

Drink like the Romans!

Location of Vineyard

The family first established itself in the town of Atripalda, some 30 km from Naples in the shadow of the infamous Mt. Vesuvius. Since then, ten generations have cultivated the neighboring land, maintaining their hard fought mission to protect the indigenous varieties and winemaking traditions native to Campania.

Winemaking Philosophy

For the Mastroberardino family, the revitalization of ancient Irpinian grapes was just the beginning. Today Mastroberardino’s production has grown to 14 wine estates across Campania, all situated in the heart of the three DOCG production areas of Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino, and Taurasi. Here, they continue the family’s mission to preserve tradition while incorporating modern approaches to their winemaking and marketing practices.

Antonio’s son Piero is now the 10th generation Mastroberardino to lead the winery, overseeing not just the business operations, but also a multitude of research projects, including classification, planting, and viticultural zoning across the entire region.

Of particular note is the Villa dei Misteri vineyard located within the ancient archeological site of Pompeii and, according to records, where vines stood prior to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 B.C. In 1996, Mastroberardino, in recognition of their work to promote indigenous grape varieties, were authorised by the Soprintendenza Archeologica of Pompeii to plant a vineyard (approx 200 sq metres in area, across 2 sites) using ancient Roman grape varieties. After experimentation with different vines, it was found that two which thrived on the sites (Regio I and Regio II) were Piedirosso and Sciascinoso. The first wine produced from the ancient vineyards of Pompeii was released in 2001 under the name ‘Villa dei Misteri’ and we are delighted to include the 2009 vintage in our Mastroberardino range. Proceeds from the sale of this wine supports, the restoration of the ancient wine cellar at Foro Bario, one of Pompeii’s most impressive sites.

Drink like the Romans!

Of the 14 estates, the principal one is Mirabella Eclano. Located in the heart of the Taurasi DOCG, Mirabella Eclano encompasses 65 hectares of hillside vineyards, the wine cellar and the luxurious Radici resort.

While they make a range of wines, they are most famous for their Taurasi – hugely age-worthy Aglianico wines. Their top cuvée is “Radici”, a Taurasi Riserva that spends 30 months in oak, then at least 36 months in bottle prior to release.

View our full range of Mastroberardino wines here.