Cantina Giardino: From Irpinia with Love

Antonio and Daniela de Gruttola are certified legends of the Italian low-intervention wine scene and two of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. They are extremely proud of their native Campania and their focus on old vineyards, along with old fashioned farming and winemaking, makes for wines that are a very personal expression of this part of the world.

Cantina Giardino was born as a joint venture between six friends with the specific aim of preserving old vineyards and native varietals in and around Irpinia, a mountainous town in the heart of Campania. Spearheaded by Antonio and Daniela, the project sources fruit from a jigsaw puzzle of distinct and often quite distant parcels of vines. From the beginning, the aim has been to source older vines (50+ years) from growers who have been working traditionally (that is, without any chemical treatments) for generations.

Indigenous Aglianico, Coda di Volpe, Greco and Fiano vines are set at altitude and are planted over the region’s vibrant volcanic soils. Grass, flowers and herbs, even a vegetable garden, grow among the vines; these other plants provide biodiversity and sovescio (“green manure”) for revitalizing the soil. Vineyard work is done by hand, organically, and a combination of great farming and low yields results in healthy fruit, full of character. In the cantina, Antonio’s approach to vinification is no-nonsense and instinctual, resulting in a unique process with each and every vintage. A broad array of aging vessels are used (oak and cherry tree barrels, demi-muits, stainless steel tanks, fiberglass, and terra cotta amphoras home-made by Daniela), wines are fermented without temperature control, and finally bottled with zero additions or subtractions.

The resulting wines are singular, vivid, wild and unadorned expressions of grape and place.



A fresh, energetic pet-nat of Greco from Cantina Giardino's T’ara rà vineyard, a stunning plot of old vines 650 meters above sea level. Fermented on skins in vats, pressed off and finishes fermentation in the bottle. There is no disgorgement, leaving a cloudy, amber-hued, and beautifully frizzante wine. This is old-school sparkling wine and calls for a nice hunk of salami or some salty, aged cheese.


Tasting like a very adult sparkling blood orange spritzer, this frizzante rosé is made from old vines Aglianico planted 500 meters above sea level. After pressing and fermentation, it's bottled with some sweet Aglianico from the previous vintage; second fermentation takes place in the bottle and there is no disgorgement. A dry, gently sparkling wine bursting with little red fruits, a touch of spice and blood orange bitters.

(Coda di Volpe)

From 70-year-old vines of Coda di Volpe planted around 450 meters above sea level. In this cooler vintage it spent just a couple of days on skins before being pressed off to chestnut casks for a year. This new, energetic bottling of 'Paski' is the perfect equilibrium of intensity and lightness; delicate and nuanced, with the area’s volcanic soils lending a complex mix of citrus and minerals. It is clean as a whistle, with impeccable balance and a hint of spice. 750 ml is not enough! 

'TU TU' BIANCO, 2018

Tu Tu is 100% Fiano, from a 30-year-old vineyard some 400 meters above sea level in Montemarano, but it takes a different, more interesting path that your average Campanian classic. This particular cuvée sees four days of pumped-over skin maceration and is aged a year in barrels made out of native cherry wood. The result is incredibly aromatic (smells like wood in a seriously good way), with heaps of green herbaceous notes on the nose and plenty of chalky, saline aromas. On the palate, it's much the same - grassy, mineral-driven, with nuts and stone fruit. This is a more delicate expression than previous years, though that savory, herbaceous note is still very much at the fore.

(Code di Vopla Rossa)


This rosato, from a few 75-year-old vines of a rare pink Coda di Volpe some 500 meters above sea level, has become something of a cult classic and tasting this it is easy to see why. It spent two days on skins, before being pressed off to sandstone amphorae and chestnut casks. Reflecting the vintage, this is a compact, elegant, and composed rosato with delicate flavors of blood orange, minerals and spice. There is a purity of fruit and structure to this wine that make it a real pleasure to drink.



Both rich and energetic, 'Drogone' strikes the perfect balance between maturity and youth. From vines up to 75 years old, this spends two months on skins, followed by three and a half years in chestnut barrels. Intense and complex aromas of Mediterranean scrub, matured red fruits, red and blackberries, and oregano lead to a wine of real complexity and beautiful structure, with firm tannins and a cleansing acidity lending freshness.


This is the first time that 'Nude' has been made from this vineyard after the previous site was ignorantly pulled out by its owners, and while the parcel is “newly acquired,” the vines here clock in at over one hundred years of age. 'Nude' spends three months on skins and five years in casks of various sizes and woods. Brick in color, it shows the warmth of the vintage, with great complexity and mature, leather notes amongst its dark fruits and spice. This is an incredibly interesting yet approachable wine that has been working on itself since 2009, so all the hard work has been done for you.