Cantina Giardino is a joint venture between friends with the goal of preserving and reviving old vineyards and native varietals in and around Irpinia, a mountainous area in the heart of Campania, Italy. Headed by husband and wife duo, Antonio and Daniela di Gruttola, grapes are sourced from five main sites comprising six hectares, including a two and a half hectare hill that the couple recently purchased. The vineyards are all set at altitude and are planted over the region’s vibrant volcanic soils.
In the vineyard, work is done by hand with precision and care, and only organically (+). Among the varietals grown are the indigenous Aglianico, Coda di Volpe, Greco and Fiano, which are used to make a wide, constantly shifting range of white, rosé and red wines, all bottled under elaborate labels designed by a number of local artists. In the cellar, Antonio vinifies the wines almost instinctually, varying the style practically every vintage. Antonio owns a wide array of ageing vessels, including oak and cherry tree barrels, demi muids, stainless steel tanks, fiberglass and amphorae made by Daniela from clay taken directly from the vineyards themselves. Each year the wine ends up where Antonio feels it needs to be. The Aglianicos typically spend significant time ageing in barrel or amphorae, and skin contact for the whites is the norm, though this also varies from wine to wine and vintage to vintage. These wines are utterly unique, each displaying purity and exposing a true sense of terroir and a complexity indicative of old-vines and non-interventionist winemaking. To understand them is to try them, and once you do, you will never forget them.