A treasure of Southern Italy’s viticulture, Greco di Tufo is a white grape variety mainly grown in Campania. Named after the village of Tufo, its high-altitude vineyards, rich in sulfur and tuff, lend the wine its distinct mineral character. This wine is steeped in history, with cultivation believed to date back to the Greeks in the 8th century BC.

Falanghina Grape Icon

Greco di Tufo Tasting Notes

Greco di Tufo invites an aromatic profile that strikes the nose. Expressive and broad, the wine exhibits intense notes of ripe peaches and pears. A nutty undertone, reminiscent of almonds, often lingers in the background, adding complexity to the wine’s bouquet. It’s not uncommon to detect traces of lemon zest and green apple as well, lending a fresh and vibrant touch to the overall aromatic palette.

In the mouth, Greco di Tufo is typically a full-bodied white wine. The ripe fruit flavors noted on the nose translate beautifully onto the palate, where the taste of juicy peaches and pears wash over the taste buds. However, the hallmark of Greco di Tufo lies in its distinctive minerality. This pronounced mineral aspect, a tribute to the tuff and sulfur-rich soils of its homeland, offers a sharp contrast to the wine’s fruitiness and adds a tangible sense of place to every sip.

Towards the end of the palate, the wine usually concludes with a clean, persistent finish. Its well-balanced acidity ensures that the wine’s rich flavors do not overpower, maintaining an enjoyable freshness from start to end. Over time, the wine may develop additional flavors, with notes of honey and toasted almond becoming more prominent in aged bottles.

Fun Fact: The Ancient Greeks crafted Greco di Tufo as far back as the 8th century BC

Historical records and archaeological findings suggest that the Greeks introduced this variety to Southern Italy during their colonization in the 8th century BC, hence the name ‘Greco,’ which means ‘Greek’ in Italian. These ancient vine cuttings would have come from Thessaly, a region of Greece known for its viticulture. The Greeks recognized the potential of Campania’s fertile soils and favorable climate, planting vines that would flourish and eventually evolve into the Greco grape we know today.

This claim about the Greco grape’s ancient lineage is reinforced by the work of archaeologists and botanists who have found seeds of Greco grapes in ancient ruins around Southern Italy. For instance, grape pips found in the remnants of Herculaneum, an ancient city near modern Naples, were identified as the Greco variety. Numerous ancient texts also allude to the cultivation of Greco grapes in this region. For example, Pliny the Elder, a Roman author and naturalist, mentioned a wine called ‘Aminea Gemina’ in his works, which is believed by some scholars to be an early reference to Greco di Tufo.

RELATED: Learn About the Falanghina Grape Variety, Also Native to Campania

Where is Greco di Tufo From?

The Greco di Tufo grape variety has its roots firmly planted in Campania, a region located in Southern Italy, renowned for its rich viticultural history. The grape has a special association with the small town of Tufo, nestled in the province of Avellino. This area, along with seven other municipalities, forms the heart of the Greco di Tufo DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) zone. This prestigious designation highlights the exceptional quality of the wines produced here and the stringent production regulations that contribute to their reputation.

What truly differentiates Tufo and surrounding areas, contributing significantly to the unique character of Greco di Tufo, is the distinct geological composition of the region. Here, the soils are abundant in tuff, a type of rock that’s the result of volcanic ash deposits. This tuff-enriched soil is high in sulfur and other minerals, imparting a unique minerality to the wines grown in this terroir. It is this distinct mineral character that has come to define the Greco di Tufo wines.

Additional Regions Where Greco di Tufo is Produced

Greco di Tufo has begun to venture beyond its traditional boundaries in Campania, finding new homes in various corners of the globe. In the United States, for instance, the grape has found suitable terroir in the cool-climate regions of California, especially in the Santa Barbara area. Its flourishing in these regions is providing an intriguing, distinctly Californian expression of the variety, adding a new dimension to the global Greco narrative.

Meanwhile, far across the Pacific, Australia’s wine regions in Victoria and South Australia have welcomed this Italian grape with open arms. The Australian wine industry is known for its innovative spirit and willingness to experiment with diverse grape varieties, and Greco di Tufo is no exception. Whether featured in blends or as a standalone varietal, the Australian expressions of Greco are gaining recognition for their unique characteristics.

Argentina, with its high-altitude vineyards in Mendoza, is also exploring the potential of Greco. The expectation is that the cool, elevated terroir will yield a wine rich in acidity and flavor complexity, offering a unique South American perspective on this classic Italian grape.

Wine regions of the Western Cape in South Africa are also beginning to experiment with Greco, capitalizing on the area’s diverse microclimates and soil types to explore the grape’s full potential.

Pairing Greco di Tufo with Food

The traditional gastronomy of its home region, Campania, offers some classic pairings. Seafood dishes, for example, are a perfect match for Greco di Tufo’s inherent mineral character. Think of a delicately seared scallop or a grilled branzino, where the wine’s bright acidity and subtle fruit notes can cut through the richness of the dish while highlighting its fresh, oceanic flavors.

White meats, such as chicken or turkey, particularly when roasted or served in a light cream sauce, also harmonize beautifully with Greco di Tufo’s structured body and flavor profile.

Beyond these traditional pairings, Greco di Tufo can also venture into more exotic culinary terrains. Its mineral complexity and zesty acidity make it an exceptional companion for sushi and sashimi, where the wine’s crispness accentuates the fresh flavors of the fish, while its underlying fruit notes echo the subtle sweetness found in some sushi ingredients. The wine’s robust body can also hold its own against creamier dishes like pasta Alfredo or fettuccine carbonara, cutting through the richness of the sauce to create a perfectly balanced flavor experience.

Even more adventurous pairings, such as mildly spiced Thai green curry or Indian paneer tikka, can work surprisingly well, with the wine’s acidity and full body providing a refreshing counterpoint to the creamy, spicy flavors of these dishes. In essence, the key to successful pairing with Greco di Tufo lies in balancing its bright acidity, full body, and mineral characteristics against the dish’s flavor profile.

Wineries to Taste Greco di Tufo in Campania

Among the many wineries that call Campania home, two stand out for their commitment to the Greco di Tufo grape: Mastroberardino and Cantina di Marzo.

Mastroberardino Società Agricola Srl

Via Manfredi, 75-81, 83042 Atripalda AV, Italy

+39 0825 614111

Mastroberardino is a name that resonates with history and tradition in Campania’s wine circles. Founded in the 18th century, this winery is a custodian of the region’s viticultural heritage, with a special emphasis on preserving and promoting indigenous grape varieties, including Greco di Tufo. A visit here offers more than just a tasting of their high-quality wines. It’s a journey through time, as guests are given a glimpse into Campania’s winemaking history. Nestled amongst rolling vineyards, the winery itself exudes an old-world charm that adds to the overall experience. Their Greco di Tufo wines are a testament to the potential of the grape, with expressive fruit and mineral notes that truly reflect their unique terroir.

Cantine di Marzo

SS371, 83010 Tufo AV, Italy

+39 0825 998022

A visit to Cantine di Marzo offers a slightly different, but equally engaging, experience. Known for their dedication to local grape varieties, this winery puts a strong focus on education. A tour here is as informative as it is enjoyable, with guests guided through both the vineyard and the cellar to gain a deeper understanding of what makes Greco di Tufo special.

cellar of Cantine di Marzo in Tufo, Italy
Inside the storied cellars of Cantine di Marzo. Image courtesy Cantine di Marzo.

Located in the beautiful town of Tufo itself, known for its volcanic soils that give Greco di Tufo its characteristic mineral edge, Cantine di Marzo is surrounded by scenic beauty. Visitors are not only treated to tastings of their exceptional Greco di Tufo wines but also to breathtaking views of vine-covered hills.

Frequently Asked Questions about Greco di Tufo

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