Terracina is the sea, but also the mountain.
Above all it is a stage of travel, of going and returning, just as it is undoubtedly a land suitable for making wine, and what wine!
Her story brought to mind a chat I had a couple of years ago at lunch with a family special for me, not only for the good wines they make but for the nature and smile with which they tell you about them.
I speak of the Pandolfo family, Gabriele and his son Andrea, creators of one of the oenological successes of Lazio.
The journey is also an important part of their story, although sometimes sad and difficult, as the one that Gabriele had to face on his return from North Africa, after the nationalization of all the assets of his family by the Tunisian government.
The landing in Terracina was therefore less happy than that of Herta but, with work and the desire to achieve, the Pandolfo family gave birth to Sant’Andrea, a business that goes beyond the production of wine that is also engaged in other crops and they started a hospitality business.
With their work, the rediscovery and relaunch of Moscato di Terracina began, an autochthonous (bred locally) aromatic variety, versatile and with an unexpected ability to give its best … in the mountains!
Yes, because this is the trip that I invite you to take today: go and discover what is behind the beautiful beaches and the beautiful historic centre of Terracina.
Wedged between steep rocky ridges of the Ausoni Mountains and facing the sea is San Silvano, the historic valley of the Terracina vineyards.
This is the traditional area of Terracina viticulture, of which San Silvano is the protector, and obviously includes mixed cultivation, especially olive groves, then vineyards and fruit trees, a little sheep farming where the ground is more impervious.
Here Moscato was grown as a table grape, fortunately however its double vocation, that of wine, was discovered which saved it from the foreign competition for table grapes.
Climbing up to 400 meters above sea level you reach Campo Soriano, a plateau of karst origin that has become a Natural Monument, of the 800 total hectares 12 have been replanted by the Pandolfo family, starting from 1998, to restructure some old vineyards.
Given the conditions, it is good to speak of “heroic viticulture”, the area, moreover, has been recognized by CERVIM (Center for Research, Studies and Enhancement for Mountain Viticulture, in Forte Pendenza and on the Small Islands) as a mountain area in fact.
The Pandolfo’s satisfaction for the work done, which finds its maximum expression in ‘Hum’, the most prized type of Moscata di Terracina produced by the Sant’Andrea winery. Andrea Pandolfo tells us:
“It took almost 14 years to get everything right. The first harvest was in 2012 but we were really happy with what we have done. Indeed, around here there are other old vineyards that some elderly people are no longer able to manage, they would like to give them to us and we would be happy to continue in this recovery operation but the bureaucracy is often unpredictable”.
Hum is the name of the large rock that rises into the sky in the centre of Campo Soriano. For the Pandolfo company, it symbolizes a corporate “cru” and the results prove it right.
It is a white wine for aging, the tastings made on the 2013 vintage, 6 years later, have shown great possibilities with beautiful olfactory sensations ranging from the musky, tertiary, to that fruity foundation.
The taste is marked by freshness and flavour, typical of a mountain wine.
To drink maybe in front of a beautiful sunset in Terracina!