The Fucci family has lived on their estate in Basilicata since 1960, when Elena’s grandfather bought six hectares of vineyards at the highest part Contrada Solagna of Titolo, at the foot of Mount Vulture (an extinct volcano). Her grandfather and father tended the vines and sold the harvest as bulk grapes, only vinifying a small portion for personal consumption. It wasn’t until the 2000 vintage that the full potential of the domain’s 70-year-old Aglianico vines was properly explored. The family was going through the process of selling the estate when Elena made the last-minute decision to take on the property herself, with the intention of developing the vineyard and devoting herself to the land that she grew up loving so dearly. 2000 was the first proper vintage at Elena Fucci, harvested and vinified while Elena was still completing her studies in Viticulture and Enology. She knew from the beginning that they wanted to devote themselves to producing a singular wine, reflective of their unique terroir. Simply walking through the vineyard rows at Elena Fucci is a fascinating history lesson; the terrain is volcanic, the soil is mineral, dark in color, and pozzolanic, which clearly catalogues in its layers the history and life of the Vulture volcano, visible just a few hundred meters away. The eruptive phases composed of lava flows, lapilli and ash, interspersed with periods of stasis, composed of layers of clay, are all visible in the land, which translates to a fascinating wine in the glass.
I have been working with Elena so long that I cannot recall how we met. It wasn't in her region, but perhaps a tasting of great Italian wines I attended in 2009. None the less, we've enjoyed a lovely working relationship as she's clearly mastered Aglianico from Vulture. What a risk... one wine made from only a few hectares at the highest elevation of vineyards in the appellation... oh, and on laboriously challenging volcanic soil!
1960s, 3 generations
Volcanic lava and ash mix