Bright sunlight breaks through the gray clouds as I enter Trattoria Gallo Nero in downtown Portland, Oregon. Greeted by warm smiles from my Italian meet up group in the small dining room, I catch a glimpse of Piero Mastroberardino, President of the Mastroberardino Winery in Campania. His lovely teenage daughter stands beside him as he converses with the guests. Sharply dressed in a stylish gray coat, his manner is authentic.
“I have visited your beautifully artistic cellars in Atripalda just this last September,” I inform him. He smiles and humbly accepts my praise. He is gentle and approachable.
Piero is here in the U.S. on a 10 day tour. After his arrival, he attended a memorial service for his father Antonio in New York. A legendary patriarch of the Mastroberardino family, Antonio refused to give in to the pressure and cultivate non-native vines. Instead, he fought staunchly to preserve the original varietals introduced by the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Piero is experiencing the fruit of Antonio’s labor. As President of the Mastroberardino empire, his winery is the only one given permission by the Italian state to research the ancient wine varietals grown in Pompeii and to replant them on their original plots. The resulting wine from the small yearly harvest is named “Villa dei Misteri.” (See my post, Mastroberardino Restores the Ancient Wines of Pompeii, and ~ Resurrecting the Ancient Wines of Pompeii for more information.)
All of the wine is made at the cellars in Atripalda, Campania. Mastroberardino cultivates their vines on approximately 500 acres of mountainside terroir steeped with ash. The elevation can run high as Piero mentions some of the vineyards are not far from snow.
Davide (center) is a Florentine who is the chef for Trattoria Gallo Nero. His specialty is tasty Tuscan cuisine. Manuela, seated on the right, grew up just outside of Milan and leads the Italian meet up group. They are both very personable and fun to be with. Piero is also a business professor of economics at Foggia University during the winter while the winery slows down.
Four whites and two reds are present for tasting. Every one of them embodies an excellent taste and feel on the palate, with a warm and earthy essence. Lacryma Christi Del Vesuvio, Tears of Christ, is made in both a red and white. Pleasantly surprised, I found each one to be appealing to my taste.
Following are a few photos taken during our lunch with Piero. It lasted most of the afternoon and ended with many well wishes and good cheer.
We were honored to be in the presence of Piero Mastroberardino, a man who represents his fabulous wine estate with ease and finesse. He left a lasting impression of quality, distinction, integrity and a family pride that can only impress and leave one feeling richer for being there.
Below is a map of the Campania region in Italy and the Mastroberardino cellars/vineyards ~taken from the Mastroberardino website.