Benito Ferrara is a small 12.5ha estate in the hills near Tufo,a small village in the hills of Campania in south-central Italy - the name derives from the fluffy volcanic rock that is present throughout the region. The finest wines made from Greco in all of Italy are found here.
Campania's most celebrated wines come from this district in the province of Avellino. Steep mountains rise from the area to the east of Naples and continue toward the border with Puglia. It is thickly forested with chestnut trees, wild mushrooms and an almost-Alpine appeal with snow-capped mountains.
Benito Ferrara is run by fourth generation viticulturalists Gabriella Ferrara and her husband Sergio. Gabriella's great-grandfather planted vines on his property but they only bottled their first wines in 1991. I first came across them at Vinitaly, and then had a spectacular bottle of this wine at a restaurant on the cliffs of Ravello (see picture), high above the Amalfi coast. We loved this wine with a salty crab risotto.
Greco tends to oxidise easily, so the sulphur-laden volcanic soils are more than useful in conveying character and protection to the wines. Vigna Ciconda is the single vineyard cru of the estate, coming from a sole hectare of vines perched over an ancient elemental sulphur mine. Glowing golden in colour and loaded with golden peaches and sparkling freshness, you can almost smell the faint volcanic wafts of Vesuvius in the distance.