“We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it.”
You may be wondering why, in an article about an Italian vineyard, I’m quoting from Mill on The Floss, that archetypal English novel by George Eliot. Simply because it was Maria Felicia Brini’s childhood visits to her grandparents’ farm at the foot of Mount Massico that stayed in her memory, drawing her back to its sun-blessed slopes in her dreams and, finally, in reality to carry on an ancient tradition of wine production.
I say ‘carry on’ but Felicia, with her parents, her husband Fabrizio and the experience of agronomist and oenologist Vincenzo Mercurio, has created something from nothing, new and delightful, giving voice to the land of her ancestors.
Arriving in San Terenzano, you notice a delightful small farmhouse, pink, like something out of a fairy tale and certainly, the story of Masseria Felicia has a touch of magic about it.
As a small child, Felicia would play on the marble stairs at her grandparents’ home, always forbidden to venture down to the cellars in case she fell. Her memory was only the smell of dripping damp stones and her father Alessandro’s desire to cultivate a vineyard using those cellars. That ignited a slow-burning flame of passion in Felicia’s soul. It became her dream.
Studying the History of Theatre at university, learning Latin, she realised that the ancient language she was reading described the land of her childhood, the vineyards, soils and lava from the extinct volcano of Roccamonfina, the colours, the scents…which added fuel to her fire of inspiration.
The hectic urban life in Naples was not for her – she was too much a child of nature. She left to live amongst the vineyards and olive groves, and to realise her dream, brought to fruition by her strong will and her passion, an unbeatable combination of attributes.
Masseria Felicia was officially founded in 2002 with just 5 hectares of land and now produces wines of great character that reflect the unique terroir of Sessa Aurunca. The soil is of volcanic origin, comprised mainly of grey tufa, pumice and volcanic ash, with the sea no more than 10 km. away.
Today, Masseria Felicia, in addition to having found success in Italy among the fans of Falerno Del Massico, exports 50% of production to the United States, thanks to a fortuitous encounter with Wine Enthusiast magazine which awarded high scores to her wines.
The vineyard follows organic principles, and few interventions in the cellar, where the yeasts used are indigenous and not commercial ‘off the shelf’ varieties.
From those small beginnings infused with massive heart, Masseria Felicia has been overwhelmed by success. And here’s the exciting bit for us and for you:
The wines of Masseria Felicia are now available online in the UK exclusive to Campania Wines.