I first tried Lacryma Christi in Naples, which is cheating a bit. Any wine tastes great when you’re sitting outside, relaxing and eating great food, with the vineyard that it grew in within cycling distance. When that vineyard is on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, you’ve just spent the day walking around Pompeii and you’re eating real Naples pizza it has several bonus points in its favour before you even take a sip.
Several of those “holiday wines” don’t travel well and come back homes as thin and unpleasant. I tried to find some Lacryma Christi back in England, but it wasn’t that easy. It wasn’t available at any multiples, or neither of my regular suppliers of oddities had it. My importing buddy talked wistfully of how an Italian in New York had shared a bottle with him but wouldn’t sell him any, he kept it all for his Italian family. The exact definition of “family” in that conversation remains ambiguous.
I was delighted when the good people at Mondial Wines sent me a bottle. I was though, a little nervous of trying it, after all it could be a complete disaster, I might hate it, my happy memories of sitting by the bay of Naples in the evening sun would be sullied by a bad wine memory.
I’m partial to volcanic wines, I like the oddly stony flavour that comes with them, so when a sunny evening came along I ran the risk. The wine was a pale straw colour and smelled of fruit blossom and a bit of flint, which I guess I could call pumice, but I don’t think I’ve ever sniffed pumice pre-bath.
It tasted dry, but that dryness was offset with fruity fruit. It would be great to claim it was the lemons and oranges growing in the neighbourhood, but it was more peach and pear. It had a medium alcohol level and flavour intensity.
It tasted good, I wasn’t disappointed. Those happy sunshine memories stuck with me. I must admit that given the choice I’d love to drink it again in Southern Italy, but it performed well after travelling and I’m sure it could do the business on a wet Wednesday evening in Stoke.