MANIMURCI WINES, 2500 YEARS OF HISTORY
The local population (Oscan Samnite) called Manimurci. In fact, after the battle of Lacedonia in 293 BC, in which the Roman army defeated the federation of the Samnites of Irpinia, the Roman republic proceeded to assign donations to the legionaries. One of these legionaries, who had lost his hand in the battle of Lacedonia, was assigned 100 iugeri of vineyard land according to a consolidated tradition.
In fact, the Roman republic used to grant, to those who served in the army, plots of land stolen from the conquered peoples, ranging from 50 to 100 yugeri, worked by 16 male slaves (1iugero = 2519.9mq). It is likely that Manimurci meant a severed hand, the severed hand of the legionnaire, the new owner of the land and the slaves. In 476 AD the Roman Empire fell under the pressure of the barbarian peoples from the north. A hundred years of wars and anarchy followed and many lands were abandoned, until the arrival in 569 AD of the Lombards who, with the guastallato system (guastallato = guard post, economically autonomous) resumed local agricultural production.
Therefore, the Manimurci area also resumed wine production, changing its name to Pescocupo, a name it still retains today. Around the year 1000 AD, called by the Duke of Salerno, the Normans led by Guglielmo d’Altavilla, called arm wrestling, cadet son (cadet = not firstborn) of Tancredi d’Altavilla, coming from present-day Normandy, a region in north of France. The Altavilla were a family of noble origins and some of them followed William the Conqueror in England in 1066AD. , date on which William became king of England, after the battle of Hastings.
Returning to our history, the Normans completed the conquest of southern Italy in less than 30 years. In 1103 AD the Norman Ruggiero Borsa, Duke of Puglia, had married Ala with whom he had had a son Guglielmo, but at the same time he had met a Salerno woman named Maria, with whom he had fallen in love to the point of having an adulterous relationship with her. From the extramarital relationship a son was born who, like his first son, was given the name of Guglielmo. The latter Guglielmo, called the bastard, was very ambitious and therefore Ala, the stepmother, to satisfy his appetites, granted him the county of Gesualdo with the adjoining castle of Paterno (current Paternopoli). William settled in his county, and proved to be a very skilled administrator of his lands.
He associated the management of the fief with his son Elia who inherited the title upon his death. Guglielmo, on the death of his father Ruggero, Duke of Puglia, obtained from his half-brother Guglielmo confirmation of the donation made by Ala, thus becoming the only lord of the county of Gesualdo and Paterno.
As per tradition, the new lord, to ingratiate himself with the power of the church and to obtain the salvation of his soul, donated land to the Abbey of Montevergine in 1142 AD, located in the fortress of Paterno, extending from the Bovane valley to Fredane river, including a monastery in San Quirico and all the land called Pescocupo or better said by the Oschi Sanniti and the Romans Manimurci, where the grapes were sold in grain 80 instead of grain 60 of the area, as imposed in the notarial deed by Guglielmo himself, count of Gesualdo (virginian diplomatic register volume 3 kept in the library of the abbey of Montevergine).
In the donation specific reference is made to our vineyards, to the donation of agricultural tools, to the water sources of all the appurtenances and even to a mill located on the Calore river. Subsequently, in 1150 AD, the son of Guglielmo, Elia, confirmed the donation before the notary Giovanni di Acquaputida (now Mirabella Eclano).
So our land became the property of the Montevergine abbey, administered by the Benedictine monks. Such possessions in Paterno became economically very prosperous to the point that the abbot of Montevergine elected the monastery of Paterno as a Priory. The Benedictines of Paterno, faithful to the motto “hora et labora”, began to make the vineyards of Pescocupo Manimurci fruitful along the slope of the Fredane river.
In particular they began to age this Aglianico, which produced powerful and fruity wines, in wooden barrels. In particular, the refinement took place with the motto “‘n’anno pe’ nato” (from harvest to harvest).
Currently, we, heirs of this ancient and glorious tradition, produce wine following the ancient Benedictine disciplinary with the name of ROSSOCUPO, one of the most successful wines of our company. Faithful to the tradition of the Benedictine monks, who made their wine reach the tables of princes, dukes and counts from all over Europe, who used to taste it on roast game, we too market ROSSOCUPO all over the world. Whoever drinks our wine does not drink just any Aglianico, but drinks the story of a wine produced with the same recipe of the Benedictine monks of 900 years ago, obtained from a vine that has 2200 years of history.
Our company is located in the middle valley of the Calore river, at the foothills of the southern Campania Apennines or better still, as the ancient Romans called it, in Campania Felix, in the province of Avellino. Since ancient times our area was known because it was crossed by the queen of the Roman “Appia Antica” roads which from Rome reached the port of Brindisi, that is, from the Tyrrhenian Sea to the Adriatic Sea.
During the period of the Roman Empire, our area was very popular because in front of the Manimurci land, on a nearby and neighboring hill, was located the largest sanctuary in the history of the western Mediterranean, dedicated to the goddess Mefite, an Italic divinity invoked to the fertility of the fields and for female fertility. The sanctuary was a few miles from the great city of Aeclanum (Mirabella Eclano), a city crossed by the Appian Way, and was not only for religious reasons but also for recreational and culinary reasons; famous remains the journey made at the end of the 1st century BC by the poet Orazio Flacco, by Virgilio, author of the Aeneid and by Maecenas, friend and adviser of the emperor Octavian Augustus, who stopped in our area on the journey from Rome to Brindisi for sacrifice to the goddess Mefite and enjoy the thermal benefits.
In fact, our area is of volcanic origin and has two volcanic vents where mud with sulphurous fumes boil, located around Manimurci, in the municipalities of Villamaina and Rocca San Felice. It is precisely this volcanic origin of our soils, mixed with clay and limestone, which gives our wine its organoleptic complexity.
It is precisely this strategic geographical position, given by: nocturnal thermal excursion, due to the proximity of the Apennine mountain range, which gives a strong acidity. The type of soil that gives it flavor, the sulphurous exhalations that reach our vines, prevent the formation of fungi and molds that are harmful to the vine.
And lastly, the warm Mediterranean sun which allows perfect maturation to give a generous alcohol content. These are the knowledge and environmental conditions that have pushed for 2500 years: osci, Samnites, Romans, Lombards, Normans, Benedictine monks… and we invest energy, passion and work to produce a great successful wine. So much so that Virginia, one of the owners of our company, is the heir of the family that over the last 200 years has held and worked the hill of Pescocupo, better known as Manimurci. We are Manimurci and our desire is always …MANIMURCI WINES!