The Mount Vesuvius in the only active volcano in mainland Europe.
The first thing that usually comes to mind when we hear about Vesuvius, is the eruption that in 79 AD. destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. But the “black” land that surrounds the volcano, even if considered of the most active and dangerous volcanoes in the world, is a fertile land and from this area come many of the best wines that are produced in Italy. Many writers of the ancient world praised the delicacy of the wines coming from this area of the Roman Empire, let’s not forget that Pompeii before being buried after the eruption of Vesuvius, was one of the most beautiful and important cities of the empire, and Plinio and Catone and Marziale, just to name a few, wrote about those wines on their works. Among the most famous wines of the area we can mention Lacryma Christi, famous not only for its taste and body, but also thanks to the legend about the whole etymology of its name. It is said that Lucifer stole a piece of paradise and built the Gulf of Naples (legend or not legend among us … this area of Italy really looks like a paradise!) Jesus Christ, totally grieved by this loss, cried so much that its tears became streams, which flowing down the slopes of the volcano, flooded the area and made grow the vines used to produce the grapes of this wine. But there is another legend about the origin of this wine.
The second legend, tells that Jesus went to visit a hermit who lived on the slopes of Vesuvius, who impressend by its faith, transformed the poor water he use to drink into a delicious wine, to which they gave the name of Lacryma Christi.
Lacryma Christi is PDO wine, Protected Designation of Origin. The prestigious recognition given to certain gastronomic products ensures that quality characteristics depend exclusively on the territory in which they are produced. In this case, the environment with its mild climate, proximity to the sea, and the lava flows with which the terrain was formed, are all factors that contribute to the growth of extraordinary grapes. The “caprettone”, “catalanesca” and “piedirosso” grapes are the grapes that grow on the slopes of Vesuvius and are used for the two PDO wines of this area, the Lacryma Christi and the Vesuvius Wine. Both wines can be White, Rosé or Red depending on the mix and the quantities used of the above mentioned grapes. The characteristic that distinguishes the two wines is the alcoholic yield: 12 degrees for Lacryma Christi and 10.5 degrees for the Vesuvius Wine.
Since I am not an expert sommelier, I am not able to give you the characteristics of the wines, but I can tell you that by tasting them, white wines have a full and soft flavor and a scent reminiscent of white fruit, while the flavor of red wines is more warm and persistent.
On the other hand, as an expert tour guide I can certainly suggest you to don’t miss the opportunity to see this area: a nice excursion around Naples proposed by “The best weekends in Italy”, includes a visit to the craters of Vesuvius , the tasting of PDO wines of the area, the visit to the cellars and a tasty lunch.
Planning future trip is an original and fun way to escape from current reality; start thinking about the life that will await us as soon as this long quarantine period ends! Spend a weekend in Naples, the city of a thousand colors & flavors, have a nice walk into its countryside and admire Mount Vesuvius, enjoy the breathtaking view of the Gulf and sip an excellent wine in the company of relatives and friends that you have not seen for a long time. Sound like a perfect plan, isn’t it? It’s definitely true: the Gulf of Naples is a piece detached from paradise.
Written by #giorgiarocchetti