Vigne Chigi is in Northern Campania about ten miles north of Capua and about 30 miles north of Naples. The vineyards are around the town of Pontelatone and have perfectly located south facing slopes in the hilly terrain that also contains a lot of volcanic minerality.
Unique to the area are three very obscure, ancient, and very interesting grape varietals which are Pallagrello Bianco, Pallagrello Nero, and Casavecchia. Despite the similar sounding names, Pallagrello Bianco and Pallagrello Nero share no genetic traits at all but the Pallagrello name comes from what had been a tradition of drying the grapes on straw (paglia) mats before pressing into wine. The wines today are made without drying the grapes as both varietals are already very fully flavored. Casavecchia has even deeper and richer flavors in my opinion which makes this very small area in which these three grapes are grown a very interesting area to find unique wines.
Another interesting part of the history of the area and its grapes was that the Bourbon King Ferdinand IV, who was king of Naples and the two Sicilies, was extremely fond of both wines from the two Pallagrello grapes and of hunting and his hunting dogs. His devotion to his hunting dogs was such that he had portraits painted of them which were then displayed in the palace in Capua which was near to the royal hunting grounds. The images of the various dogs have then been adopted by Vigne Chigi to appear on the labels of their wines.
Rows of Pallagrello Bianco
Casavecchia vines...and Giuseppe too (ma non è vecchio!)
Younger Pallagrello Nero vines
Pontelatone - la Città del Vino!
Pallagrello Bianco 2018 (OF, NF)
Aromas are of honey, white flowers, and honeysuckle. There are then interesting flavors of apricots, pears, and watermelon. There is medium body, perfect balance and acidity, and refreshing minerality.
Food pairings would include shrimp, sea bass, swordfish, veal, pork, pasta, salads, Asian noodle dishes, mild curries, and medium cheeses.
Pallagrello Nero 2019 (OF, NF)
Aromas include dark cherries, blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, dark chocolate, strawberries, and hints of red peaches, apricots, and nectarines. Flavors include blackberries, dark cherries, and boysenberries. There is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a rich full and minerally finish with a hint of medium tannins.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Roast Beef, Sirloin, short ribs, beef stew, venison, veal chops, roast veal, lamb chops and roast lamb, pork chops and roast pork, BBQ ribs, chicken, salmon, tuna, clams, mussels, seafood pasta, paella, cassoulet, coq au vin, Asian beef, pork, and chicken dishes, Indian lamb curries and Tandoori dishes, Mexican beef and pork dishes, charcuterie, and medium, creamy, and blue cheeses.
Casavecchia 2016 (OF, NF)
There is an interesting aroma combination of plums, blackberries, chocolate, and soy. Flavors include dark cherries, plums, and hints of cedar. There is a rich medium to full body that is fully saturated across the palate and finish. Interesting tannins complement the complex aromas and flavors and this is also very minerally which adds to the refreshing finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, New York Steak, Rib Eye, Roast Beef, short ribs, lamb, pork, duck, chicken, pasta with meat sauce, swordfish, tuna, Asian beef and pork dishes, and rich cheeses.