Silvia Imparato's Adventure began precisely 20 years ago, on a hill near Salerno, at the feet of the Piacentini, the mountains of the Massiccio del Terminio that sit astride the Province of Avellino: She began to make wine with her Roman friends in the old family home out in the country.
It seem like, and is, a standard 1990s story, but with one important difference: It wasn't concocted by a marketing agency.
Because this adventure started in an area that was at the time unknown in terms of wine. The first Vini D'Italia Guide published in 1988 mentioned just 7 wineries. Now a guide worth its salt lists at least 90.
There were Mastroberardino's wines, especially the whites that were released by Christmas to be drunk on New Year's Eve. And the whites of Ischia, the reds from Moio, and Mondragone, and a tremendous volume of bulk wine made by the cooperatives and the wineries in the outskirts of Naples.
Montevetrano played a precise role, which is obvious today but was revolutionary in 1994: that in the South, and in Campania, it was possible to make noteworthy wines capable of holding their on in the world markets.
At the time the lethargy Campanian wine had fallen into before the war came to an end, with a reawakening of enthusiasm, success, and development. Much as was happening in other parts of Italy, but here the reawakening affected an area with great indigenous wines that was beset by all manner of problems.
As always happens, those who lead are contested. And so it was here, especially with the rise of Wine Criticism 2.0, which shifted its attention to other wineries, in part as a response to the "official" wine press that published on paper, and in part because everyone wanted to discover something new.
Over the years Silvia Imparato has produced great bottles that hold indefinitely, ignoring fashion and trend with classy assurance. In these 20 years the world has changed completely, while Montevetrano has become a classic.
A classic built upon real farming, organic farming that plays out the lives that go into the wine. A history that transcends the boring barriques/no barriques and indigenous/international arguments, because it was born the only tradition in the Salento was jugs of bulk wine made with every varietal one could name, including Piemontese Barbera. Now the traits identifying Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Aglianico are easy to recognize.
On this rich hillside was old the tale of a viticulture that was able to turn the tables on stereotypes and establish country life as an improvement with respect to life in the cities.
The 2010 is Good, and will be there to celebrate Montevetrano's 40th anniversary alongside the still extraordinarily fresh 1992.
Published Simultaneously by IGP, I Giovani Promettenti.
NO STAR goes to wines that are correctly made but nothing to get excited about.
ONE STAR goes to wines that are good. TWO STARS go to wines that are very good to excellent. THREE STARS and a POINT SCORE (90-100) go to wines that are superb to extraordinary. And I will give pairing suggestions, which I consider much more important than the scores.