Greco di Tufo has the distinction of not just being a grape, but also being the name of a recognized wine area within the Campania region of Italy. The Greco variety exists as both a white grape (Greco bianco) and a purple grape (Greco nero). Greco di Tufo is a clone of the Greco bianco grape. The wines produced within the Greco di Tufo, DOCG are regarded as some of the best white wines in the Campania region. It is an ancient grape variety dating back thousands of years. Some historians believe the grape was introduced to this region by the Greeks on their way from Thessaly to Rome. Interestingly, even after substantial DNA typing on vines in Greece, no modern day vines to date has been a DNA match to Greco. Just like last week’s Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, the grapes used for Greco di Tufo are significantly enhanced by being propagated in the volcanic soils surrounding Mount Vesuvius. Wine law also allows an addition of up to 15% Coda di Volpe to be added to wines and still retain the Greco di Tufo DOCG labeling.
This week, I picked up a bottle of 2020 Donnachiara Greco di Tufo from a large box store wine shop. It is readily available and reasonably priced. Wines can vary in color depending on their age, but the one I selected was a bright lemon color with brassy highlights. When I first put my nose into the glass, I noticed green or vegetal notes, like asparagus and tomato leaf. Those aromas gave way to stone fruits, such as peaches and apricots, citrus, such as white grapefruit and lemon skin, and tropical fruit, such as pineapple. These were all combined with a touch of minerality. On the palate, the acidity started out soft and slowly peaked then receded. It is dry with a refreshing level of alcohol for a warm day. The flavors on the palate were just as complex as they were on the nose, but the tropical fruit notes (pineapple and starfruit) were far more pronounced. They also lingered on the palate for an extended period. The minerality was notably present and added crispness to the array of fruits exhibited. This wine was a delight to drink now, but could age a few years if I tucked it away. I failed to plan ahead but I should’ve paired this with sushi or a light fish dinner on a beautiful evening. This just means I will have to buy another bottle as summer approaches! Greco accounts for grape #182 on my list!