Kamai DOCG Aglianico del Vulture Superiore
100% Aglianico (as required by the DOCG). San Martino’s six hectares of well-aged vines are split into 8 parcels at almost 600 meters among the hills at a distance of 4.5 km from the ancient Vulture volcano in northern Basilicata. The soils are a complex layering of sand, shells and stones rich in volcanic ash. The climate is continental, in spite of the southerly latitude, due to the high elevation and the strong Atlantic winds coming over the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west. The farming has been organic from the start (certified), made easier than in most regions by the intense sun and drying effect of constant winds from three coasts; the harvest in Vulture is generally later than anywhere else in Italy.
Kamai is made from the oldest vines of San Martinon, ranging from 60-80 years old. The fruit is harvested by hand into small bins and carefully sorted and destemmed. The different parcels are vinified separately. Fermentation occurs spontaneously with indigenous yeasts and a tiny amount of sulfur in steel tanks. Maceration is 10-14 days with only an occasional pump-over (4-5 times maximum) followed by a gentle pressing: owner/winemaker Lorenzo Piccin thinks in terms of infusion rather than extraction, a necessary approach to bring out elegance of aromatics and tannins in this naturally structured grape. The aging regime varies year to year with the nature of the vintage but involves a mix of used wood in the form of tonneaux and 5000-liter botti: Kamai spends an extra year in wood vs. Siir or Arberesko. Bottling is without fining or filtering. "Kamai" means "of the earth" in the local, strongly Albanian-influenced dialect.