Episode 15: Salvatore Avallone of Villa Matilde
Salvatore Avallone’s father created Villa Matilde in the 1960’s after spending over 10 years of painstaking research to locate and identify the few remaining grape vines of the original strain that made the famous Falernum wine of Roman times. His father, Francesco Paolo, was a lawyer, a lifelong student of the Roman Empire and a professor of Roman Law at the University of Naples. He and his friends from the Dept of Agriculture at the University of Naples conducted an “ampelographical” study of the vines in all the small farms in the Caserta region where the famed Falernum wines had been grown. But the phylloxera epidemic of the late 1800’s had wiped out the vines - all but a very few. The friends discovered 15 vines - 10 red (Aglianico and Piedirosso) and 5 white (Falanghina). With this small but precious start, the Avallone family embarked on a journey to create a modern expression of the greatest wine of ancient Rome, the Falerno del Massico.
In this episode Salvatore tells us about the history but also gives us a marvellous overview of the grapes of Campania, both red and white. His account of the differences between Aglianico from Taurasi, Benevento and Caserta (where Falerno wines come from) is very insightful and he also tells us why the white wines of Campania (Falanghina, Greco di Tufo and Fiano) are so exceptional.