Dream of Italy: Wine on the Amalfi Coast: The Ancient Vines of Tramonti
Luigi Reale runs his family's inn and restaurant in the village of Tramonti, on the hills above the Amalfi Coast. The vineyards are steep, and the elevation is roughly 450-500 meters. The climate here is cooler than at the coast. Almost as a hobby Luigi makes about 1,000 cases of wine each year, all from varieties indigenous to Campania and indeed specifically to Tramonti. Many of the vines in the area and at Reale are ancient, producing low yields. Luigi has one vineyard composed of century-old vines of Tintore.
While Tramonti's unique grapes and ancient vines are starting to attract the attention of serious wine folk, they are also endangered. The volume of grapes they produce is low when compared to modern and non-native varieties. Many farmers have felt pressured to replace their ancient vines with young, faster-growing varieties that produce a larger harvest, and other vines are simply dying because there is no one to care for them. To help preserve the ancient vines, the department of agriculture of the Regione Campania has recently started some initiatives.
Vinous Media 9/2015
"This little-known, high-quality estate is located on the Amalfi coast, one of the most beautiful viticultural areas of the world. The estate produces only a small number of bottles a year, and since it also runs a very successful country inn and restaurant, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that winemaking was just an afterthought here. Not so! Luigi Reale and his father Andrea farm old, ungrafted vines (80 to 120 years of age) with passion and talent, and from the start have called upon Bruno De Conciliis, the talented winemaker from the Cilento, to give them a hand at making world-class wines. Today, Reale is making some of Italy’s most distinctive wines from varieties unknown to most people. And yet there are plenty of examples that cultivars such as Tintore di Tramonti, Pepella and Ginestra are high - quality varieties - and Reale’s wines provide further proof."