Camerlengo

Location: Rapolla, Basilicata, Italy
Founded: 2001
Size: 10 hectares (2.5 planted to vines)
Varieties: Malvasia de Rapolla, Santa Sofia (Trebbiano), Cinguli, Aglianico
Viticulture: No pesticides or herbicides, biodynamic methods, hand harvesting
Vinification: Natural temperature control, concrete fermentation tanks, oak and chestnut barrels

Antonio Cascarano was an architect living in Rome in the early 2000s when he learned he had inherited land and vines from his grandfather, Giovanni Falaguerra, who had been an esteemed producer of wine and olive oil in the 1960s. Antonio revived the abandoned vines and propagated new ones using cuttings from the older ones. The two and a half hectares of vines are planted at approximately 1500 to 2000 feet above sea level. The remaining seven and a half hectares are olive and fruit trees as well as untamed woodlands.
Located in the Basilicata region on the southern slope of Monte Vulture – a dormant volcano – Camerlengo is named after the cardinal who donated the land to the people of Rapolla in the 13th century in return for their support for the Pope against Frederick II of Prussia. It has an annual production of only 1500 cases. The cellar is an unassuming cave carved into the rocky mountainside. In the early 2010s, Antonio made the decision to forgo the Basilicata DOC label, wanting to produce the wine on his own terms, using indigenous yeasts, no fining, and no filtering. He uses copper and sulfur in the vineyards to the least extent possible.
From the lower slopes (around 1400 feet asl) with a combination of volcanic and limestone soils, he makes two white wines, both orange in color: Jinette, a blend of Santa Sofia and Cinguli made as a col fondo sparkling wine; and Accamilla, a skin-contact still wine that is a blend of about 60% Malvasia di Rabolla plus equal parts of the Santa Sofia and Cinguli. He makes a rosé, called Juiell, from 100% Aglianico. The reds, also 100% Aglianico, come from higher up the slope on exclusively volcanic soil. They are open-top fermented, then matured in 30hl chestnut botti. The Antelio (“Sun-facing land” in the local dialect) is from a section of the vineyard about 1600 feet up the slope.  The Camerlengo, from the highest-altitude vineyard (2000 feet asl) undergoes further maturation in oak tonneaux.