The province of Salerno in the southern part of Italy’s Campania region has long been known by visitors for its extraordinary landscape and monuments - part of a glorious past which goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks and is symbolized in the majestic temples of Paestum, perhaps the greatest example of Doric architecture which the ancient world has handed down to us. Equally exceptional is the coastline of the Amalfi coast, a landscape which is a series of curves of breathtaking beauty, dizzying in their steepness, perched seemingly in a void over the azure sea below and home to such splendid sites as Amalfi itself and Rapallo.
Wine has been made here in the province since time immemorial, in all probability another gift from the Greeks who constructed the temples and brought systematic cultivation of the vine to southern Italy many centuries before the birth of Jesus Christ. But this was the wine of the Mediterranean way of life, the basic drink for all meals, the vine, along with the olive and the field of wheat as the basic elements of existence.
This was definitively changed in 1992, however, with the birth of Montevetrano, a bottle which issued forth from the township of San Cipriano Picentino to the northeast of the coastal city of Salerno. Equally obscure, from a professional point of view, were the circumstances of its birth. The producer, Silvia Imparato, was not a cultivator, she was in fact a photographer living in Rome where, to her good fortune, she frequented a circle of wine loving friends and acquaintances. But her family owned hillside vineyard land in the township and the challenge of trying her hand at a new adventure seemed irresistible.
The rest – independently of her determination and her vines – was the invaluable assistance of oenologist Riccardo Cotarella, both a friend and a trusted counselor. The 1991 vintage of Montevetrano was an estimable effort, but the breakthrough year was the 1992, a wine which set new standards of excellence for the province of Salerno. A pathbreaking blend of Aglianico and the grapes of Bordeaux, it awakened a sleeping local viticulture and oenology. And has now been joined by an excellent pure Aglianico offering.