Italy’s Tuscany has its rolling hills in the Chianti region. France has its rambling vineyards in Bordeaux. The Campania region of southern Italy has its … mall.
Tucked on the ground floor of the Vulcano Buono shopping center in Nola — roughly a 30-minute drive from the U.S. Navy bases in Naples — is an unassuming, great little wine bar that promises to tantalize even the most highfalutin of palates.
The Feudi di San Gregorio Wine Bar serves only the locally produced wines made by locally grown grapes of its parent company, Feudi di San Gregorio winery, located in the Irpinia mountainside town of Avellino.
Local sommelier Marina di Lauro said the vineyard capitalizes on the rich regional soil — which also feeds bountiful groves of fruit and olive trees — to produce some of the finest Falanghinas and Aglianicos around.
Don’t know anything about those types of grapes?
Fear not, for any of the multilingual sommeliers on staff at the wine bar are eager to explain.
For example, they’ll educate diners as to why the Grego spumante, with its subtle hint of flower pollen and honey, pairs well with pungent cheeses, or why the ruby-colored Turasi Riserva Piano di Montevergine exquisitely accompanies a platter of sweet, well-seasoned salami.
More and more, the bar’s clientele tends to be young people interested in learning more about wine, from its production to what vintages and bouquets best accompany pasta, meats, fish, cheeses and sweets, di Lauro said. And since it’s located in a shopping mall in the industrialized Neapolitan suburb of Nola, the bar/restaurant caters to local and international patrons alike.
The menu isn’t vast, boasting a few choices of appetizers, pasta dishes and meat plates that the chefs have decided pair well with the bar’s generous selections of wine, sparkling wines, digestives and dessert wines.
Just about all of their two dozen offerings can be ordered by the glass instead of an entire bottle in the event that diners opt to sample several wines.
Prices for a chalice run from 2.50 euros for a Ros’Aura Irpinia rosé to 9 euros (the most expensive) for a glass of Patrimo Campania red. Prices otherwise range from 3.50 euros to 4 euros. Bottles also are available for purchase, and can be consumed on site or taken home.
Feudi di San Gregorio Wine Bar
Location: Vulcano Buono shopping mall, in the “Amalfi” section, 8, Nola.
Hours: 10 a.m. to midnight; lunch is served from 1-3 p.m. and dinner is served from 6 -10:30 p.m. Happy hour specials are available 6-8 p.m.
Directions: Take the SS7 toward Nola, exit at centro commerciale Vulcano Buono. Follow signs for the centro commerciale and once inside the parking area for the shopping center, follow signs for the Amalfi section.
Phone: 081-364-1680. Reservations are not required, but strongly recommended on weekends.
Menu: Italian, but sommeliers speak English.