In the early 1960s Francesco Paolo, founder of Villa Matilde and lawyer, began researching ancient wine varietals and found that most had virtually disappeared after the advent of Phylloxera. In collaboration with the University of Naples, Francesco put together a research team and found the best surviving vines, patiently grafting cuttings onto new rootstock. His decade-long quest developed premier clones of Aglianico, Piedirosso (both red) and Falanghina (white). Today, 20 original clones of the three varieties are trademarked by Villa Matilde.
Francesco’s children, Salvatore “Tani” & Maria Ida Avallone, uphold their father’s legacy. The family has always considered the environment a top priority for Villa Matilde, and gradually reached an enviable goal: zero greenhouse gas emissions on the estate. The original Villa Matilde nucleus was already split into two properties within the Falerno del Massico DOC appellation (province of Caserta): Tenuta di San Castrese, totalling 114 acres, and Tenuta di Parco Nuovo, closer to the coast with 52 acres under vine. Tani and Maria Ida further expanded the estate to include two additional properties, respectively in the Benevento and Avellino provinces: Tenuta Rocca dei Leoni, inaugurated in 2000 (74 acres of Campania IGT soil with distinct clones of Falanghina and Aglianico), and Tenute di Altavilla, inaugurated in 2004 and consisting of 62 acres within the DOCG appellations of Greco di Tufo, Fiano di Avellino and Taurasi. In all four properties, vines are Guyot trained with an average density, in the newer vineyards, of around 7,000 per hectare.
The principal Villa Matilde location is exceptionally favorable: volcanic, mineral-rich hills facing the Mediterranean sun and the sea, sheltered on three sides by the Massico mountain range. Vicinity to the sea combined with this mountainous amphitheater mean ideal ventilation, and maximum exposure to the sunrays, until late October. Terrain alternates with areas rich in potassium and phosphorus, volcanic soils with abundant, characteristic microelements, and tuffaceous zones. Rocca dei Leoni soil is volcanic, rich in phosphorus and potassium, and features lush vegetation. The vineyards have excellent hillside exposures, considerably steep, and very old vines. Tenute di Altavilla vineyards feature predominantly tuffaceous soil with a high percentage of clay and excellent exposures and gradients.