The 2012 Benito Ferrara Greco di Tufo rocked our tasting panel, not because it comes across as big or brazen, but because it epitomizes the elegance and flavor of Greco di Tufo, and at the same time it reflects the terroir of the region better than any other Greco. It is grown on hillside vineyards in Frazione San Paolo in Tufo, and it is an authentic descendant of the original Greco vines brought to southern Italy by the Greeks. Lightly golden in color like the morning sun that kisses the light filled Amalfi Coast, Ferrara’s wine is both vibrant and bright. In its bouquet one smells the scent of lemon oil, the crisp salty freshness of the sea, a waft of spring flowers, and a distinct minerality – all of which carry through on the palate. Make no mistake; Ferrara’s Greco di Tufo is serious white wine. It is rich, but not unctuous; long in the mouth, but eminently refreshing and dry. Ferrara’s Greco di Tufo possesses a beautiful texture and an alluring glitter, and it is wonderfully consistent from vintage to vintage. Nevertheless, cognoscenti and critics alike find this wine hard to describe as it changes repeatedly over a course of an hour or more in the glass, much like a fine red wine. Although some may prefer this wine at a more ambient temperature, we suggest serving the 2012 Ferrara Greco di Tufo moderately chilled (about 40º F) because one can always let the wine warm gently in the glass for a fuller effect.
Whether you are sitting at a seaside terrace in Positano high above the Amalfi Coast or looking out the window of a high rise apartment in Manhattan, the fruits of the sea will likely provide the ultimate accompaniments to the 2012 Benito Ferrara Greco di Tufo. Bouillabaisse; Cioppino; Rock Lobster; Seared Sea Scallops, served with fresh lime and tamarind; Grilled Sea Bass with fruit and herb salsa; and even fresh anchovies (not the canned salty strips that routinely find their way into Caesar Salad), soaked in virgin olive oil and piquant spices and served over linguine offer mouthwatering morsels to complement Benito Ferrara’s Greco di Tufo. Calamari tossed with wasabi glaze and served with chipotle remoulade makes another fine companion. However, just about any denizen of the sea can be paired happily with this wine. Died in the wool landlubbers may want to try Duck Confit with caramelized onions or herb infused rotisserie chicken with this wine. And in an ideal world, why not serve Benito Ferrara’s 2012 Greco di Tufo before dinner as an aperitif? Enjoy!
The Ferrara estate is located in the hills high beyond the gleaming Tyrrhenian Sea in the picturesque village of San Paolo di Tufo. The scenic Campanian village of San Paolo di Tufo soars some 1,800 feet above the Amalfi Coast, and it perches at the very heart of the Greco di Tufo D.O.C.
The original Ferrara property dates back to 1880 when it comprised 40 hectares (88 acres). However, after more than a century of plot divisions among family members, this venerable estate now comprises a mere 7 hectares or just over 14 acres, so production will always remain tiny and the supply meager of this estate’s rare white wines. Unfortunately for many consumers, the demand for Ferrara’s handcrafted wines always outstrips the supply, and this is especially true for the two outstanding Greco di Tufos that Ferrara so lov-ingly crafts.
The vineyards of Benito Ferrara are planted in a unique calcareous soil that is comprised chiefly of mineral rich rock known as tufa – hence the name Greco di Tufo. Here, Greco di Tufo, the ancient white grape that the Greeks brought to Italy’s Campania more than two thousand years ago, thrives. And like most of the di-minutive family owned wineries just beyond the Amalfi Coast that fashion authentic Greco di Tufo, Benito Ferrara’s vineyards dig deep into the hills of tufa from which the Romans mined sulfur. From hillside vine-yards facing southward, kissed by the pure Mediterranean light and soft spray of the sea, Clelia Ferrara fash-ions the finest Greco di Tufo.
Italy’s Campania retains the allure and magic of ancient mythology. From the mystifyingly beautiful Amalfi Coast that still manages to conjure visions of gods and sirens, pleasure and lore, to the volcanic, fog shrouded spine of the Appenines that bisect the Italian peninsula, the Campania never fails to enchant. Known to the Romans as the Campania Felix, meaning the “joyous country” or the “face with an open smile,” the Campania is the ancient province of the Roman Empire that sits just south of Rome and neigh-boring Latium. As its name implies, this region produces friendly, gregarious wines and an abundance of produce. At the height of the Roman Empire, the Campania served as the granary of Rome, supplying suste-nance to the capital and provisions to the legions of soldiers and magistrates who administered the empire. Today, what could be more exemplary of the good nature and open character of the land and people of the Campania than Greco di Tufo?
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