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07 Feb 2010
Sunshine on a Cloudy Day... Grotta del Sole

Legend has it that Bacchus, the god of wine, made wine in a cave (grotta). He needed to go away for awhile but did not want to leave this cave unguarded. He called on the sun (sole) to ensure that no one could enter. Hence we have Grotta del Sole.

Ragazzi, one of the best things about living in an area with great wines is that you don’t have to go far to visit a great winery. Wednesday, I had the pleasure of spending an hour or two with Francesco Martusciello, Jr, enologist and production manager of the family run cantina, Grotta del Sole. Discussions ranged from the winery’s 5 areas of production-the Phlegraean Fields, Irpinia, Sorrento Peninsula, Vesuvius, and the Aversa area. Francesco told me how important the territory is for Grotta del Sole. Each production area has its own particular grapes, vineyards, soil, climate, etc. I was particularly taken when we flipped through photographs of their vineyards in Aversa-the alberata aversana. Here, the vines get up to 20m in height and attach themselves to trees. Interesting to see and I have already marked a date on my calendar in September to take part in the harvest.

The winery has been around since 1992. Francesco took me to see how they are expanding their production area with additional steel vats and other equipment necessary to assist them in their production of 840,000 bottles of year. The cement was still wet, but Francesco expects it to be ready in a few months.

Later, in their offices, we discussed wine in Campania. Francesco is obviously proud of his terra. Yes, every enologist worth his salt has to know about the grapes they produce, the origin, the land, etc. I felt, however, that Francesco really felt part of Campania as we assiagiato a spumante di Aversa. (Grotta del Sole was the first) and Falanghina, another top wine for Grotta del Sole. Fragrance is important for me and both glasses were powerful.

Grotta del Sole is run by the Martusciello family. In fact, during my visit, I met Elena Martusciello and Francesco’s cousin, Salvatore. I have discovered that when you visit a winery in this region, you not only get to see the equipment and taste the wines. You get to meet the people who put their souls into their work. You have the opportunity to discuss their wines, the area, and make friendships. I felt this at Grotta del Sole.

Grotta del Sole is located in Quarto, next to the IperCoop. They carry a wide range of wines that proudly represent the Campania region. The web site is well written-in English-and is full of info on their wines, vineyards and history. Andiamotrips will organize a trip to their vineyards in early spring. I’ve got to see the alberata aversana!