Campania Stories 2018: Falanghina del Sannio


During Campania Stories, the 2018 edition and my first, we tasted through hundreds of wines. I decided to taste blind so I wouldn’t be influenced by the people I knew well and my impressions of them. Luckily I took good notes on my trip and today am sharing my notes on the Falanghina del Sannio DOP wines that I tasted.

Falanghina as we know hails from Campania, and is thought to be of Greek origin and was first mentioned in 1825. In the past this vine was attached to spikes which were also called Falanghe and apparently that’s how the grape got its name. It received its DOP status in 2011 and takes into account all of the towns in the Benevento province or 78 municipalities. To have Falanghina del Sannio on the label, 85% of the wine must be made with this grape. One can also use the sub-region name on the bottle, if their vineyards are in one of the five sub-regions: Guardiolo, Solopaca, Solopaca Classico, Sant’Agata de’Goti, and Taburno.

It is used in many denominazione d’origine controllata (D.O.C.) wines in the region including, among others, the Campi Flegre D.O.C., Guardiolo D.O.C., Penisola Sorrentina D.O.C., Sant’Agata di Goti D.O.C. (in the news after De Blasio’s visit), Solopaca D.O.C., Taburno D.O.C. and Falerno di Massico.

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Falanghina is a lively white grape variety that has great body, beautiful color and a floral and fruity bouquet on the nose and palate. I’ve always found it to have some sapidity as well which I enjoy. There are numerous delicious examples of Falanghina available in the USA including that of Feudi Di San Gregorio, Cantina del Taburno, Mustilli, and Villa Matilde, among others.

Falanghina was said to be part of the blend of Falernian, a wine renowned in ancient Rome. Whatever the definitive history is of the grape, one thing is certain, it makes wonderful wines and many producers are working every year to improve on their grapes.

There are two different strains of Falanghina, Falanghina Beneventana and Falanghina flegrea.

Falanghina likes volcanic soils and enjoys the warm Mediterranean air and breeze that one finds in Campania. The Sannio is quite hilly and the wines can have nice acidity thanks to elevation.

We tasted Falanghina from other areas and denominations during the tasting but today’s post is only about Falanghina del Sannio DOP wines. Before I go into my tasting notes, it’s important to recognize the contribution of the Mustilli family to the growth of Falanghina. In 1979, Leonardo Mustilli bottled the first single-variety Falanghina in Campania. Since that time the variety has exploded in the Sannio going from 75 hectares of vines to 1,100 hectares in 2015.

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Terre Stregate Falanghina del Sannio Svelato 2017

White, fresh flowers, nice acidity with a hint of sweetness. Long length and quite persistent on the palate. I love the labels at this winery and remember when I first tasted their wines, by chance, years ago at Vinitaly.The wine is grown on the Guardiesi Hills at 400-450 meters above sea level in chalky clay, that is rich in calcium.

Capolino Perlingieri Falanghina del Sannio Preta 2017:

This wine was lemon yellow in color with a residual sugar note evident that I often find in Falanghina as I am particularly sensitive to sugar. White fruits including apple and pear and white pepper were primary. The wine had nice acidity and good length. It was a balanced wine with classic Falanghina aromas and flavors to me.

This winery has been operating since 2006 and practices organic viticulture on their 13 hectares of vineyards are located at 200-300 meters above sea level in the sub-region Solopaca. The soils are clay. The vineyards are right next to the Parco Nazionale del Taburno, specifically near Camposauro, a extinct volcano. The wine undergoes battonage for three months in staineless stell. Stefano Chioccioli is the oenologist.

Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina del Sannio Serrocielo 2017:

Lemon yellow in color with white citrus fruits and acacia flowers. Eucalyptus notes as well on the palate. Together with good acidity, this full bodied wine had a bitter almond finish I associate with Italian whites. It was spring in a glass. The wine spends about 5-6 months in stainless steel constantly on its lees with repeated batonnage.

Fattoria La Rivolta Falanghina del Sannio Taburno 2017:

Straw yellow in color with a rich floral and citrus palate. Long length, depth and texture. It was full bodied and quite complex for a 2017. The wine ferments in stainless steel.

Mustilli Falanghina del Sannio Sant’Agata dei Goti Vigna Segreta 2016:

A beautiful straw yellow in color with notes of asparagus and garrigue, eucalpytus and herbs. It was quite creamy as well thanks to lees aging. It was medium bodied with lovely acidity. Good persistence on the palate and a nice long length. The grapes grow at 50 meters above sea level on volcanic-calcareous soils. The wines spends 10 months on the lees and three more months in the bottle before release.

Rossovermiglio Falanghina del Sannio 2016:

Golden in color, this one had good acidity and floral notes, a creamy texture due to lees aging and a nice balanced finish. The grapes came from two different vineyards
one with clay-clacareous soils while the second vineyard had more organic mater and fossils. The family who owns this winery has been making wines since the 1800s. The winery is at 260 Meters above sea level with clay and calcareous soils.

La Guardiense Falanghina del Sannio Senete Janare Cru 2016:

Lemon yellow in color with white floral notes and hints of pear. It was delicate with residual sugar present. Feminine and classic Falanghina. Nice acidity, good length and persistence.

La Guardiense Falanghina del Sannio I mille per la falanghina 2015:

Lemon yellow in color with baked apple and white flowers. This wine had beautiful texture and length. It was full bodied and had waves of flavors as it evolved in the glass.

La Guardiense is a cooperative which was founded in 1960 by 33 farmers. They now have 1000 members with 1500 hectares. The vineyards are mostly hilly with an average of 350 meters above sea level. They use renewable energy and have been at the forefront of technological advances in Campania. The oenologist is Riccardo Cotarella. They make a sparkling wine line as well. I’d love to taste the sparkling Falanghina sometime as well.

Fontanavecchia Falanghina del Sannio Taburno Facetus V.T. 2012:

Golden in color with evolved teritary notes, this wine presented mature white fruits with honey and a bit of oak. Flower blossoms and loads of texture complete the picture of this wine which underwent it would seem considerable battonage and had dried grapes in the mix. The wine ferments in stainless steel but ages in barriques. This 2012 made me realize that Falanghina can age.

I’d like to try some examples of aged Falanghina and see what they are showing.

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