Feudi di San Gregorio, one of the largest wine producers in the southern Italian region of Campania, is working on an Italian sparkling rosé with Anselme Selosse, owner of the small, family-run Champagne house Jacques Selosse. The bubbly will be made using three varieties native to Campania, primarily the white grapes Greco and Falanghina, with a small percentage of Aglianico, a red variety.
Under the agreement, Selosse will oversee the viticulture on just more than 6 acres of vineyards on the Feudi di San Gregorio estate that have been initially singled out as most appropriate for the project. Selosse will make the wine in Feudi di San Gregorio's large new winery, the construction of which is nearing completion with some parts already in operation.
"It's been a dream of mine to make a sparkling wine using our local varieties," said Enzo Ercolino, owner of Feudi di San Gregorio. "I searched Italy for someone to do it, but in the end I found Selosse. I know it's going to work."
Feudi di San Gregorio produces some of the best still whites in Campania, from Greco and Falanghina, as well as another local variety, Fiano.
Selosse is known for making sparkling wines that are characterized by rich, ripe fruit, with extensive use of oak, but he said he would not be transporting his singular Champagne-making methods to Campania. He explained, "The tufo soil [in Campania] gives Greco and Falanghina the sort of mineral content that produces fresh wines -- even more so when highlighted by the introduction of gas. Such wines may turn heavy with an overuse of oak."
"This is a challenge for me," said Selosse, enthusiastically. "I have the chance to use my experience to bring out the best from completely different terroir than that of Champagne."
According to Ercolino, Selosse and the winery team were satisfied with the first experimental vinifications, using grapes from the 2003 vintage. The resulting 1,600 to 2,500 cases of the Campania bubbly are due to be released in 2005.