A Grand Tour of the Campania Region and it’s wines - Sorrento
The family behind Donna Elvira have a long-standing love affair with the Campania region of Italy. Donna Elvira was the name of owner and producer Tony Fink’s mother, who was a native of the region and Tony and his family now enjoy travelling between the UK and Campania, throughout the year. They pour their love of the land into every bottle of Donna Elvira wine and are passionate about sharing the fruits of this wonderful place with their UK-based friends.
After our whistle stop tour of Naples in our previous article, where we explored how beautifully our Settemazze Aglianico wine pairs with rich, Italian tomato sauces, we’re whizzing about 40 minutes down the coast to Sorrento. People love to visit Sorrento for its cosmopolitan vibe, views of Mount Vesuvius and the bay of Naples, plus the pockets of small beaches made of volcanic sand. The Sorrento Peninsula reaches out across the sea, almost touching the island of Capri, which you can reach by boat, for a day trip.
It may be a holiday-makers paradise, but Sorrento is so much more than a tourist hotspot. Its history is rich, both in the real and mythical world, with legends told of mermaids taunting land-folk, thousands of years ago. It was also in Sorrento that Ulysses was tormented by sirens and their mesmerising song. From the history books, we know that the town was a Roman resort, favoured by the aristocracy at the time.
Nowadays, Sorrento is appreciated by its visitors for its characteristically small shops, famous for selling quality woodwork, linen and leather goods. If you get tired of shopping, Sorrento Cathedral is the perfect place to visit and absorb some of the history of the area. When you’re in need of respite and want to do some good, old fashioned people watching, head to Piazza Tasso, the main square, where one can enjoy delicious food, listen to classic Italian music and of course, share a bottle of wine or two.
Dining in the town centre is the perfect way to sample ingredients and dishes native to the area; lovers of cannelloni in particular will find themselves in foodie heaven. The pasta dish was invented in Sorrento in around 1907, by an Italian chef working in a restaurant. Now considered an Italian comfort food, cannelloni is spectacular when made with a San Marzano tomato sauce, which we raved about last week.
Sorrento is also known for its citrus fruits and abundance of lemons that grow in the town and surrounding area. Lemons have always been a huge part of local culture, having grown on the coast since the first Century BC and the year-round mild climate allows the fruit to grow large and extra juicy. They also provide a source of income to the area, as they’re turned into products such as gelato, lemon jam and most famously, Limoncello.
If we had to pick a Donna Elvira wine to compliment Sorrento, it would have to be Fringilla, our Falanghina wine. When poured into the wine glass, the colour is golden yellow with green reflections and on the nose, the aroma is very elegant and reminiscent of pineapple, ripe plum, broom flowers with herbaceous scents of thyme and sage. The taste is well balanced with an acidity that cuts through fatty foods such as cheese. It pairs wonderfully with pasta summer dishes topped with tomato and mozzarella or other fresh cheese, so would be a perfect accompaniment for enjoying cannelloni in the Piazza Tasso.