Antica Masseria Venditti

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Back in 1988, the Italian wine guide Gambero Rosso introduced the word organic for the first time, in its review of Venditti’s wines. Those who still believe that “organic” equals “unscientific” should think again. Nicola Venditti is both an enologist and the very incarnation of a contadino (farmer). The vineyards have been in the family for over 400 years — thus the “antica” part of Antica Masseria — and he is deeply passionate about his territory of Sannio, adjacent to better-known Taurasi. Nicola eschews oak and kneels at the altar of steel, thus letting all of the wines really show the clean and distinct fruit of their native grapes (some of which only he cultivates). His cantina is squeaky clean, and he gladly whistles out pH and acid levels for those inclined. This humanist-techno-geek approach, he explains, is a combination of the humanity of ancient methods and local varieties, together with the rationality offered by technology.