It is impossible to share with the reader today’s experience in a short blog. Following is a brief description of our visits for the day. In future posts, I’ll write a more detailed report of each of the places visited.
To reach Caggiano-Summo Cheese Factory, located outside the hill town of Forenza, pictured above, we traveled a winding road reaching an altitude of 955 meters. Maria Summo greeted us warmly and provided a sampling of their pecorino, casciocavello, and mozzarella cheeses. Maria is in the photo at right with pecorino cheese. We were also served dried sausage, bread, and home-made aglianico wine — from a Coca Cola bottle! Maria then gave us a tour of the factory and the barn. Opened in 1987, the factory has 200 cows and 450 sheep. Mozzarella, scamorza, and cascicavallo are made from cow milk and pecorino and ricotta are made from sheep milk.
Casa Vinicola D’Angelo
D’Angelo is a historic winery, one of the first in the Aglianico del Vulture wine area to bottle wine. Today the winery produces about 350,000 bottles under the direction of the sister and brother combination of Erminia and Rocco D’Angelo. Erminia’s husband, Antonio Passannante, who is involved with all aspects of the winery, gave us a tour of the cantina. The fermentation of the grapes occurs in large cement tanks instead of stainless steel tanks, a process that differs from most others in the area. Per Antonio, less oxygen penetrates the cement during fermentation causing natural temperature control. These large cement tanks have to be cleaned inside by a person, specifically a small person who can fit into the small opening at the base of the tank. Pictured to the left, on top of the D’Angelo wine bottle is a “u cannit”. Before drinking glasses were common, a “u cannit” would be attached to a bottle’s opening, causing just a narrow stream of wine to flow when the bottle was poured. This allowed drinkers to share a bottle without their mouths touching the opening. Sanitary, but glasses are simpler.
Cantine Del Notaio
Cantine Del Notaio was established in 1998 by Gerardo Giuratrabochetti. The winery today produces approximately 300,000 bottles of wine. We visited Cantine Del Notaio’s showroom and ancient cellar with many rooms; one is pictured below. One-hundred-forty barrels of wine are aging in this ancient cellar, about 15% of Cantine del Notaio’s total wine in barrels. The rest are in its main production site. The cellar has a perfect condition for aging wine, with nearly a 100% humidity. As a result the oak barrels, per the showroom guide, Sofia, are used by Cantine Del Notaio for 20 years or more, much longer than those of other wine-makers.
Colli Cerentino was the third winery we visited. All three are located within one mile of each other in the town of Rionero in Vulture. Colli Cerrentino’s cellar is located next to Casa Brenna, the bed and breakfast where we are staying. Sandro Calabrese started Colli Cerentino in 2002 with his first bottling in 2003. Sandro’s wines are organically produced. Colli Cerentino, with an anuual production of about 15,000 bottles, is one of the smaller wineries in the Aglianico del Vulture area. Its vineyards are located in the nearby town of Maschito. We had a tour of his production area, followed by a wine tasting with soppressata, cheese, and bread. I am in the photo below with Sandro and Ro. The last bottle we tasted was Colli Cerentino’s multi-award winning Masqito Gold, a 2006 Aglianico del Vulture. Per Sandro “(w)e make wine for the pleasure of other people.”