This tiny property is perched high on the lush, green mountainsides inland of Naples, where the Fiano grape becomes a noble instrument for expressing the subtle nuances of great Campanian terroir. Now run by the fierce mother-daughter duo of Diamante and Serena Gaita, Villa Diamante is a historic estate whose stunningly fresh, gloriously perfumed old vintages have made a serious case for Fiano di Avellino as one of Italy’s premier white wine appellations. While their 2017 abounds with immediate charm in the form of luscious fruit and wild herbs, something magical happens with bottle age—hold some for a few years to see the nose veer toward salted butter, hazelnuts, petrol, and smoke.
The story of Villa Diamante begins far away from the rolling hills of Irpinia, east of Naples: Antoine Gaita grew up in Belgium, where his father had immigrated to work. After developing a passion for wine, Antoine desired to return to his roots so he settled back in Montefredane, along with his wife Diamante. They established Villa Diamante, and began to bottle organically grown Fiano di Avellino. Antoine tragically and unexpectedly passed away in early 2015. Diamante remains committed to ensuring his legacy lives on as a pioneer of terroir-driven Fiano. Respecting the methods he championed in the vines and cellar, Antoine's family continues to craft wines that remain among the most soulful and long-lived of southern Italy.
Campania enjoys an ancient history as a fine wine producer—in fact, its precious nectars were highly coveted in ancient Rome and received accolades from many important writers of the era, including Pliny the Elder. While winemaking here dates back to the first Greek settlers to colonize the countryside, Campania is now enjoying a wine renaissance, as small farmers are relying less and less on the co-ops that dominated the scene for decades and increasingly turning to estate-bottling to make a living and capture the richness their territory has to offer.
The Mediterranean coastline, with bustling Napoli and towering Vesuvio as its focal point, is home to a number of light, simple wines from indigenous grape varieties, often planted in sandy volcanic soils. But Campania’s viticultural heartland lies further inland, in the Irpinia region around Avellino: this mountainous terrain offers altitude and limestone soils where the noble Aglianico, Fiano, and Greco are capable of producing what are arguably some of southern Italy’s most complex, characterful, and often age-worthy reds and whites.
The increasing number of artisanal producers bottling their own wine caught our eye several years ago, and today we count one Campanian grower among our ranks. With its deep winemaking traditions—not to mention world-famous specialties like mozzarella di bufala and pizza napoletana—we will undoubtedly return soon.
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