Luigi Tecce at 148 Chambers Street, January 2024

Luigi Tecce - Power and Elegance

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Before moving to our new digs at 79 Chambers Street, our last staff tasting at 148 Chambers Street was with Luigi Tecce, the charismatic winemaker from Campania (who until this release bottled his wines under the Taurasi DOCG). I had very little experience with the wines, aside from seeing them on the shelf on and off over the last 23 years, and I will never forget the impression left on me by this living piece of history and his incredible wines. I just didn't know how good Aglianico could be, and I am now convinced that any collector or enthusiast of fine wines should make sure to try the Taurasis of Luigi Tecce if they have are not familiar with them. Yes, they are rustic wines from the south of Italy, but as Luigi himself said with pride and passion, his wines can be described with two words: Power and Elegance. I couldn't think of a better description, as I tasted his 2018 Riserva, an enveloping red with leathery notes, black fruit and an incredible finesse that I was simply not expecting. Today we offer four wines, a Rosato that JW told me we had to include in the newsletter (as it really does transcend the category), and three reds, Tecce's Campi Taurasini 'Satirycon,' and his exquisite 2018s, the 'Puro Sangue' and Riserva 'Poliphemo Vecchie Vigne'  - Eben Lillie

A bit of history for anyone whose interest has thoroughly been piqued....

Taurasi is one of Italy's most historic volcanic growing regions, with its winemaking origins going back to Greco-Roman times, as long ago as 800BC. Tecce is one of the great traditionalists in the region, forgoing the over-oaked and over-extracted fashion of Taurasi wines from the 80s and 90s for wines of powerful elegance. The grapes grow in the high-altitude Sud-Alta Valle commune of Taurasi, on complex soil layerings of sand, limestone and Vesuvian pumice. Fermentation takes place in large chestnut tini and the wines age in large oak vessels (botti grande), that fully highlight the qualities of the unique volcanic terroir.

From John Gilman's View from the Cellar #63: "Luigi Tecce is clearly amongst the very finest, if not the finest, winemakers in Taurasi today and he will be a superstar in the very near future...the Bruno Giacosa of the region."

From Ian d’Agata’s Native Wine Grapes of Italy: “Aglianico is one of the world’s great red grapes, one that is finally carving a place in mainstream wine-drinking consciousness. Along with Nebbiolo and Sangiovese it is generally believed to be one of Italy’s three best wine grapes, but in my opinion it is far more: at the very least, it is one of the world’s dozen or so best wine grapes.”

Our own Jamie Wolff's reflections on Ian d'Agata's quote: Maybe everyone else already knows this, but it’s a bold claim, and after reviewing the competition in my head, I’d have to agree (in any case it’s an interesting game to play). One difficulty is that Aglianico is still not very well known, so I was thrilled earlier this year when John Gilman (another on my very short list of most esteemed wine writers), devoted an article to Taurasi in his newsletter, The View from the Cellar. John has kindly allowed us to link to the article, which gives a full history of Taurasi which I highly encourage you to read – and to subscribe to his amazing publication. I have extracted two salient quotes: “…for much of the twentieth century Taurasi and Mastroberardino were virtually synonymous, with the winery responsible for at least ninety percent of all the Taurasi that was bottled in the region through the end of the 1980s… There is no doubt that back in those days, Taurasi was a better-known wine than it is today, and many commentators of the time were prone to call Taurasi “the Barolo of the south”, referring to both its quality and the impressive longevity that Taurasi possessed, like its more famous cousin to the north.”

WINES WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR DELIVERY OR PICK UP AS OF MONDAY, MARCH 4TH

Many thanks to the folks at PortoVino for their extensive notes on the wines and on Luigi's mythological references (see their article on Tecce for more info). Though I did write a note on the Satyricon, I was completely swept away by the experience with the 2018s that I failed to write a single adjective, though I assure you the wines were breathtaking, truly a marriage of power and elegance. -EL

Tecce, Luigi 2018 Campania Aglianico Puro Sangue

From importer's website: "Luigi didn't produce Puro Sangue or Poliphemo in 2017 vintage. In 2018 vintage, he has decided to do away with the Taurasi DOCG and use the moniker R (Riserva) and 18 (2018); it's unlikely he'll return to Taurasi DOCG. : hand-picked grapes are crushed and then lightly pressed by hand in a small basket press. Fermentation takes place in open chestnut tini for 40 days. Élevage for 12 months in large 500 Liter puncheons, then 24 months in large wooden botti grandi (50HL). Finally, a minimum of 24 months in bottle before release." 14% alc.

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $107.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur
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Tecce, Luigi 2020 Campania Rosato "Calipso"

This is the first bottling of Tecce's new rosato, 'Calipso.' Unlike previous rosatos that were aged in barrel, this is a pure expression of high-altitude Aglianico raised in stainless steel. Savory, deep and brooding, but also very pretty and fresh. -EL

  • Out of Stock
  • rosé
  • 0 in stock
  • $58.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Tecce, Luigi 2021 Irpinia Campi Taurasini Satyricon

Satryicon is Tecce's Irpinia Campi Tarasini, from young vines that he planted when he returned to his family's estate around the time of his father's passing, 25 years ago. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in 5000L "botti grandi" for one year and in bottle for 6 months, with no added SO2. Though the alcohol is 15%, our entire staff was thoroughly surprised, given the elegance and acidity (the vines here are at 500m/1800 ft altitude, which helps). A lovely introduction, and a pure Campanian red that is open now or has potential to age for 5+ years. -EL // From importer website: "Luigi Tecce envisions it as a blending of Greco-Roman and Medieval traditions of the raucous table of wine and song: “Satyricon becomes Dionysus, then the Devil as Lucifer himself.”

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $58.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur

Tecce, Luigi 2018 Campania Aglianico Poliphemo Vecchie Vigne

From importer's website: "Luigi Tecce leads a simple life, surrounded by his dogs, vines, and books. He is enamored with the study of ancient history, especially Greco-Roman and medieval monastic, thus his label with Polyphemus, the one-eyed giant. In Homer’s epic poem, the protagonist Odysseus, trapped in a cave, offers Poliphemo wine. Now a bit drunk, he pleads for help from his fellow giants, saying “Nobody” has hurt him, since Odysseus has given his name as ‘Nobody’ when asked by the giant. The 2018 is not about the fruit; this R18 is an essential, purely intellectual Taurasi. A very strong showing from Tecce here. World-class - still wild. The Poliphemo Riserva bottling is Luigi Tecce’s most archaic expression of a Taurasi, from centenarian vines (really vine-trees!). : Hand-picked grapes are crushed and then lightly pressed by hand in a small basket press. Fermentation takes place in open chestnut tini for 40 days. Aging for 12 months in large 500 Liter puncheons, then 24 months in large wooden botti grandi (50HL). Finally, a minimum of 24 months in bottle before release. 14% alc.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $107.99

  • Organic
  • No Sulfur