Even the heel of Italy’s boot gets more wine respect these days than Campania, once home — in the days of toga-wearing Romans — to some of the Mediterranean’s greatest wines. Though a shadow of its former vinous self, Campania seems poised for a comeback. Slowly, the region of which the colorful and paradoxical city of Naples is the capital is producing more wines from its official D.O.C. (denominazione di origine controllata) areas; as recently as 2005, Campania’s output of D.O.C. wines was only 3.5 percent of the total production, which means, basically, that 96.5 percent of the wine made in Campania is industrial plonk. Transformation is due.

Much of the change in Campania — the meaning of the word, “countryside,” conveys a sense of its ancient agricultural heritage and importance — is being fueling by small, dedicated producers who work with indigenous grapes, often in organic or biodynamic conditions. While not denigrating the achievements of Mastroberardino, the producer that has dominated the wine industry in Campania, at least southern Campania, for decades, it’s refreshing to see new and authentic wines made from unfamiliar grape varieties emerging from forgotten geographical and historical byways.

Here are reviews of six wines from Campania that we tried recently, two whites and four reds that are notable for their personality, individuality and depth. These are imported by Domenico Selections, a fledgling company in New York that focuses on artisan Italian wines. Availability is limited.

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People looking for obscure grape varieties to add to their lists for admission to The Century Club will be happy that the Reale Andrea Aliseo 2007, Colli di Salerno (“hills of Salerno”) is a blend of 40 percent each biancazita and biancolella and 20 percent pepella. The rest of us will delight in Aliseo’s highly individual qualities, its winsome aromas of spicy lemon drop and roasted lemon wreathed with quince and smoke, its silken texture that takes energy from vibrant acid and notes of damp limestone. While this feels like a golden, sunny wine, its spicy character deepens after a few minutes, adding, to the lemon and pear flavors bass tones of earth, snuffed candle and, curiously, Yunnan tea. Very Good+. About $20.

We drank this quite contentedly with a pasta I put together of leftover roasted salmon, broccoli florets and bread crumbs, grounded by minced garlic and red onion.
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The Angelrosa Greco di Tufo 2007 sports a radiant golden color. A bouquet of nettles, brambles and green tea opens to a beguiling scent of mountain meadow honey (though the wine is bone dry), pear and woody spice. The structure is spare but not sinewy, and the texture is restrained, elegant yet full and round; you feel the wine molding itself to your tongue and palate, but not obsequiously. Citrus flavors are given a zesty grapefruit finish that charges through minerally layers of shale and damp pomace. This is a deeply individual and completely satisfying white wine that will probably drink well (stored properly) through 2011 or ’12, particularly with shellfish. Excellent. About $23.
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We drank the Reale Cardamone 2006, Colli di Salerno, with pizza, and its robust blend of 80 percent piedirosso grapes (“red-foot”) and 20 percent tintore proved to be delicious yet serious enough that it called to mind dry-aged rib-eye steaks or roasted venison with juniper. Matured 10 months in a combination of stainless steel tanks and large oak casks, the wine is deep, dark, smoky, spicy and tarry. Aromas of dried red and black currants, plums and mulberries are permeated by mossy earth and minerals, sassafras and something wild like blueberries and rose hips. Vibrant with keen acidity, the wine fills the mouth with notes of lavender and licorice, blackberry and blueberry jam, but it’s formidably dry and rigorously structured; tannins you could roll around on your tongue lend resonance and austerity to the finish. Drink through 2012 or ’13. Excellent, and Great Value at about $20.
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Part of the Terra di Vento Petrale Aglianico 2006, Colli di Salerno, went into a Bolognese sauce I made one night; the rest went into our wine glasses. Aglianico is one of the great red grapes of Campania; here it is translated into a rich, warm, spicy wine that seethes with macerated and roasted black currants and plums deeply imbued with sassafras — is that quality inherent in reds from Colli di Salerno? — and sandalwood, smoke and minerals and a vivid charcoal edge. It doesn’t take long for elements of dry underbrush and brambles to emerge and for the wine to turn increasingly austere. This will probably be best from 2010 through 2013 or ’14. Very Good+. About $20.
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You could eat the rich, meaty, tarry bouquet of the Boccella Rasott 2006, Campi Taurasini, with a spoon. Made from 100 percent aglianico grapes, the wine features macerated red currants, plums and raspberries with a hint of spicy red cherry. Wood is present, from six months in oak, but the relationship of and the integration between fruit, texture and structure could be used as a model in the world’s wine academies. There’s a touch of extravagance, even wildness in the plush density and richness of this wine, but polished, grainy tannins and burgeoning elements of earth and minerals keep it honest. This cries out for a veal chop grilled with rosemary, hot and crusty from the fire. Excellent. About $24.
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The blockbuster of this group is the Reale Andrea Borgo di Gete 2005, Colli di Salerno, made from 100 percent tintore vines that average 80 or 90 years. This is a wine notable for detail, dimension and dignity shot through with dark glamor. The first impression is of aromatic woody spices like cloves and allspice, with that hint of astringency that allspice conveys. Macerated and roasted black and red currants and plums are packed with spice, with licorice and dried orange rind and black tea deeply imbued with robust tannins and a dauntless mineral quality. The wine ages 10 months in a combination of French barriques and casks, that is small and large barrels, contributing to a structure whose firmness seems unassailable. For all its size and density, however, for all the earthiness and dust and resonance, this is an incredibly alluring, even likable wine, though it should be saved for your heartiest fare. Best probably from 2010 through 2015 or ’18. Excellent. About $55.
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