Mastroberardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso 2011

Of Positano, Italy, John Steinbeck once wrote: “Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you are gone.” In some ways, one might say this about any vacation destination, or perhaps even the act of going on vacation at all (at least for those of us who hold day jobs), but having visited Positano several years ago, I can attest that Steinbeck’s words are eerily prophetic in this particular scenario. There’s just something about the place that has caused it to increasingly and consistently grow in stature in my mind as more days pass since my visit.

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The reason for this lengthy aside is that, while visiting Postiano, we drank at least one bottle of Mastrobeardino Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio each day. It was truly the perfect wine for the situation: a friendly, local red that paired well with a variety of foods, including fresh seafood, as well as panoramic ocean views. The question, of course, that one has to ask, however, is whether the wine has grown in stature in our minds since we left Positano. Was it really all that good, or was it the ocean views? Which reminds me of another great quote, from wine writer Bill St. John: “The reason you do not get headaches from drinking wine on vacation is that you are on vacation.”

All that said, my radar obviously went off when I saw our very own Positano wine coming into the CS program for $14.99. (Though $15 is not dirt cheap by any means, this wine sells for $23 at Total Wine, so it is certainly a good opportunity to grab some.)

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But, you are surely wondering, did it live up to the hype of my memory? Really, how could it have? I drank it at home, indoors. That said, it is very much an enjoyable wine that will pair nicely with good friends, a deck or patio and the warmer months ahead. It’s medium-bodied, features floral notes, herbs and plummy dark fruits. After several hours of air, a smoky, ashy note was evident as well, adding complexity and taking me back to the volcanic skyline of Campania.