Coffeepots and juice squeezers between Capri and Lapio
Irpinia is a place of valleys and mountains, uncontaminated nature, steep cliffs and villages full of history. Its name derives from the one given by the ancient native Samnite people (Osco Hirpus= wolf) and area’s rich and varied landscape has produced great wines. Lapio is a small town, a hamlet, where its few inhabitants are all on a first-name basis. It is situated at an altitude of 500m above sea level overlooking the Valle del Calore, some 20km from Avellino, and is considered the cradle of Fiano.
This is where the charming Campania region native Raffaele Pagano came to become a wine ‘producer’. The inverted commas are obligatory because the indefatigable Raffaele, the owner-operator of the Joaquin winery, is above all of an ‘experimenter’. More than producing a classic line of wines, he produces ideas that then become projects and only after that wines. His bottles are the result of an idea, an attempt to forge together his progressive and experimenting spirit with the rediscovery and exaltation of traditional methods and territories. In a way, his wines are like the evergreen juice squeezer designed by Philippe Stark, a wonderful and provocative metaphor, a beacon of ‘non-usability’ on the same level as the masochist coffeepot, the extravagant icon of uselessness, a design that has nothing to do with practicality. And this would be a bad thing if the strength of these objects was not based on something profoundly less practical, emotions and the ability to communicate. Joaquin wines, for better or worse, have this characteristic, an ability to become a conversation piece and to make a statement.
Raffaele’s winery is in Montefalcione, in the province of Avellino, whereas his wines have ‘chosen’ their own territories that extend all the way to Capri. In 2009, he acquired some of the small island’s few hectares of vineyards after tasting a bottle if Capri wine that cost only a few euros but dazzled him for how it expressed such intense aromas and integrity. And so he decided to make his own wine in Anacapri which then became Dall’isola.
Lapio is another area and has a different story. This village is birthplace of another of his experiments, perhaps the most complex and audacious, his Fiano Piante a Lapio. The stocks of the vines are over a hundred years old, from before the phylloxera plague, and the wine is the result of relentless and maniacal research which led him to use grapes from all over the area in order to make this crazy and curious delight.
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Only 700 bottles were made of this blend of Falanghina and Biancolella with a few drops of Ciunchesa. This is a rustic wine but one full of character and with an ancestral soul. The bouquet is sharp...
|Piante a Lapìo 2011
A 100% Fiano wine of which 2,133 bottles were made. The wine still seems young and should be tasted again in a few years, if you can find or save a bottle. The aroma is both smoked and smoky as well...