Volcanic wines and I are a match, you know that by now (read my adventures on Santorini here) and when a wine is named after the tears of Christ it is hard not to have high expectations. After all, Christ was quite a personality.
Tears of Christ
Lacryma Christi – DOC since 1983 – is made from grapes grown on the slopes of the Vesuvius, once God (according to the legend) whined and wept from heaven and sprinkled this area with exalted tears that provided fertile soil. In plain human language, of course, a bunch of lava came out of that volcano. We know that lava makes soils super fertile, that’s why people have been living under volcanoes for years and years putting in danger their entire city (you must have heard of Pompeii).
Lacryma Christi wine goes as far back as 5 centuries before Christ and falls under the category “super authentic wines with a story”, for when you want to impress your friends.
The vines are located in Campania, at the foot of Naples and they produce both red and white wines which are bottled under the name Lacryma Christi.
White Lacryma Christi
The white wines are often made from Coda di Volpe, locally called Caprettone, a native grape from Campania which is one of the oldest grape varieties in Italy. Coda di Volpe means foxtail and refers to the shape of the grape bunches. This grape was considered inferior for a long time and only used in blends. Today there is a true comeback and this variety shines as a monocepage.
Coda di volpe produces crisp wines with tropical notes of pineapple, beautiful stone fruit like ripe peaches, floral and typically fresh Italian acids. When the soil is volcanic like with Lacryma Christi, beautiful minerality is found in the wine.
Other allowed grape varieties in Lacryma Christi bianco are Verdeca, Falanghina and Greco.
Red Lacryma Christi
Red Lacryma Christi is mostly made from the grape Piedirosso, locally called Palombina. Sciascinoso and Aglianico are also allowed grape varieties.
Piedirosso, literally translated as red feet, produces light red wines when aged on stainless steel. Aromas of violets, licorice and cherry with a hint of black pepper. When oaked, the wine gets a deeper dimension. A lot of spiciness, think of cloves. Tones of tobacco and coffee and nice ripe berries.
Good to know is that also rosé wines are made in this area. The same grapes are used as for the red wines.
Lacryma Christi Mastroberardino
For this bed session I tasted Mastroberardino’s Lacryma Christi rosso, 100% Piedirosso planted on an ashy soil. 10 year old vines, ripened on stainless steel.
The wine is fresh because of the delicious warm acids, juicy because of the beautiful Marasca cherry fruit. Pepper and cloves provide the spicy touch. A delicious glass that tastes best when lightly chilled. It’s not a bottle that you have to contemplate for hours, but one that you drink in one go.
In the Netherlands you can buy it here and here you can read more about Mastroberardino.
Famous wineries that produce beautiful Lacryma Christi are Mastroberardino, Terredora, Feudi di San Gregorio.