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2016 Tramonti Costa d'Amalfi Rosso

Tenuta San Francesco


Gaetano Bove of Tenuta San Francesco.  Photo by San Francesco.

On our wine journey of Italy and featuring the region of Campania we couldn't skip the Amalfi coast and its beauty.  Although the area may be more famous for its lemons and Limoncello, it also produces very interesting white, rosè and red wines.  We discovered San Francesco winery at a wine tasting event organized by one of the finest distribution companies in Italy that focused on small, boutique wineries.  We were very impressed by the unique taste of their wines and we wanted to give our Members a different style of wine than Campania's famous, bold Taurasi.  This wine has a lighter body and easier to pair with different food.  After visiting Gaetano Bove again at Vinitaly this year we decided to start a collaboration. 

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The Wine

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Photo by Bravino!

2016 Tenuta San Francesco "Clandestino" Costa d'Amalfi Tramonti Rosso DOC

Grape:  40% Aglianico, 40% Tintore & 20% Piedirosso

Tasting Notes:  On the nose this wine is intense and reveals notes of wild berries, violets and tobacco spices.  In the mouth it has a light-medium body with bright acidity and well-balanced sapidity.  The finish is long and lingering with plenty of minerality.

Recommended Drink Window:  Best now-2025

Temperature of Service:  58-65° F

Decanting:  This wine should only take about 30 minutes to open up.  No need to decant if you don't want, it will open up nicely in the glass as you enjoy it over dinner.


Tintore grapes.  Photo by Tenuta San Francesco

Costa d'Amalfi DOC is divided into 3 subzones: Furore, Ravello and Tramonti.  This wine comes from the village of Tramonti, singled out as a source of particularly fine wine and as such is permitted to include its name as part of the DOC title on labels as you can see on this bottle - "Costa d'Amalfi DOC TRAMONTI ROSSO."  These wines are permitted to be blends of indigenous grapes grown around the village of Tramonti, including Piedirosso, Tintore, Aglianico and other approved varietals.  


This wine is a blend of 3 of the most famous grapes of Campania: Aglianico, Tintore and Piedirosso.  Aglianico is the main red grape of southern Italy.  This grape is used to make the famous Taurasi, Taburno and also Vulture and these wine are considered to be some of the best in Italy.  Piedirosso, another grape in this blend, translates to "red feet," getting its name because the stem of this grape is red colored, resembling that of a pigeon's leg.  The last grape in this blend is Tintore di Tramonti, literally translated means "dyer of Tramonti" because of the grapes deep, dark colored skins that provide lots of color to the wine.  Tintore is almost exclusively grown here and nowhere else.


The wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts in open top conical trunk vats without controlled temperature for 10 days.  Then it's aged for 6 months in neutral tonneau.  It is very low in sulfites and because of this needs to be drunk in the new few years.


The name "Clandestino" translates in English as clandestine, referring to something done in secret.  We decided together to call the wine this because this label was made exclusively for us and our Bravino! Wine Club Members. 

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The Territory


Amalfi Coast. Photo by Jetsetter

The Amalfi Coast is a 31-mile stretch of coastline on the northern coast of the Salerno Gulf on the Tyrrhenian Sea, located in the Province of Salerno in Campania.  It's famous for its breathtaking landscape, cliffside towns, pastel-colored fishing villages, gorgeous coves and turquoise waters.  It's a popular tourist destination for the region of Campania and Italy as a whole, attracting thousands of tourists annually.  In 1997, the Amalfi Coast was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The coast and the 13 seaside towns that call it home are connected via the SS163 highways, considered one of the most scenic drives in the world.

Tramonti, one of the 3 zubzones that makes up Costa d'Amalfi DOC, is among the few places in Italy and in the world where ungrafted vines thrive.  The theory is that phylloxera (the vine louse that devastated vineyards throughout the world in the 19th-20th century) doesn't like the pH levels of volcanic and some sandy soils, which enabled these vines to survive.  


Vineyards of Tenuta San Francesco. 

Photo by San Francesco

The terroir and viticulture methods here are strictly related to the topography and geology of the Sorrento Peninsula.  The need for terracing on the steep cliffs and hillsides is obvious, and hinders the use of any type of machinery.  The terraces are usually around 15 ft wide and they can fit 4 rows of vines.  The vineyards here are as expensive to harvest as they are beautiful to look at.  The 21 acres of San Francesco vineyard are characterized by high density plant and they're situated on steep-sloped, terraced lands between 900 and 1500 ft above sea level.  The proximity to the Mediterranean sea and the altitude characterize the main peculiarities of these wines.

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The Winery


Entrance to the winery.  Photo by Bravino!

Tenuta San Francesco was born in 2004 in order to revive an ancient viticultural tradition in Tramonti, the green heart of Amalfi Coast.  It's set in the ancient estate belonging to the DiPalma Family, and the farm extends over about eight and a half hectares and produces wines from the grapes of 3 local historical families: Bove, D'Avino and Giordano. 


In 2004 the 3 families behind the company that own 18 scattered vineyards decided to risk going at it alone, producing and bottling their own wines under the Tenuta San Francesco label.  And instead of planting international varietals, they made the decision to take a gamble on their rare, indigenous grapes.  Varieties like Tintore, Aglianico, Piedirosso, Falanghina, Biancolella, Pepella, Ginestra, Biancazita and Biancatenera.  The owners were confident that these native grapes were capable of great things. 



Some of their vineyards survived the phylloxera outbreak which devastated European wine production beginning in the mid 19th century.  Their oldest vines on the estate go back than more than 500 years ago!  If you ever get the chance to visit the estate, you can have a private tour led personally by one of the owners Gaetano Bove who will show you these magnificently gnarled specimens.  They've had some famous visitors to their estate as well, guests like Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake.  

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Food Pairing

The characteristics of this wine, with its low alcohol content (12.5%), bright acidity and minerality make it the perfect pairing with light meat and seafood dishes like octopus, branzino, calamari or shrimps. 


A typical pasta dish of the area that would make a great pairing is Scialatielli all'Amalfitana.  It's made from the special scialatielli pasta with mixed seafood such as mussels, clams, prawn and cuttlefish.

We selected a traditional vegetable dish recipe pairing, perhaps one of the most famous in the world. 



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