This month’s #ItalianFWT blogging group is traveling to Campania, home to a large number of indigenous grape varieties, both white and red. Looking at this photo which I took from the side of the road overlooking the Bay of Naples in April 2018, I not only feel nostalgic for Italy but I want to dive into that sea and sit under one of those parasol pines. Hopefully that day will come sooner rather than later.
As I mentioned, Campania is home to incredible and diverse grape varieties. Some of the most famous ones are Fiano and Greco, among the whites and Aglianico for the reds. That said, Falanghina the third very famous white, I think often doesn’t get the attention it should and therefore this post is about Falanghina.
Falanghina is said to have come to Italy in 700 B.C. through the port of Cuma from Greece. It was first mentioned in literature 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 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 D.O.C.
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, Donnachiara, Terre Stregate, among others.
Falanghina was said to be part of the blend of Falernian, a wine renowned in ancient Rome that I wrote about a few weeks ago. 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.
Falanghina however is rarely spoken about as a wine that can age. Speaking with Ilaria Petitto from Donnachiara last week about her wine, Resilienza which is 100% Falanghina, we discussed how she wanted to show that Falanghina could be an important variety. I drank her 2016 this week over a few days. As it stayed in the glass, it got richer and more profound each day. Amazing tropical fruit aromas and a waxy texture emerged on day 2 by day 3, the wine which had taken on some oxidative notes because I had it open for so many days was exquisite and paired perfectly with salmon that I was eating as well. It was a revelation to me that this four year old Falanghina could become so rich and textured. I loved it.
There really two Falanghina varieties – Falanghina Flegrei and Falanghina Beneventano. 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.
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 thousands of hectares today.
I’ve had many Falanghina wines in my lifetime and I plan on having many more. This is a grape variety that can be a way into Italian whites for novice wine drinkers but also a unique treat for more experienced tasters. I’m happy I have taken another look at Falanghina thanks to the help of some friends.
Check out all the amazing posts by fellow #italianFWT bloggers on the wines of Campania:
Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Melanzane a Scarpone + Cantine Astroni Gragnano Penisola Sorrentina 2018”
Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farmposts “Polpette and Terredora di Paolo Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso”
David at Cooking Chat shares “Salmon with Pesto and Orzo with Wine from Campania”
Pinny at Chinese Food and Wine Pairings adds “Campania’s Donnachiara Greco di Tufo Paired with Fish and Chips #ItalianFWT”
Gwendolyn at Wine Predator shares “3 Wines from Campania’s Feudi Di San Gregorio paired with pizza and wild boar ragu”
Cindy at Grape Experiences writes “Exclusive to Campania: Coda di Volpe Bianco, the Tail of the Fox”
Linda at My Full Wine Glass posts “A Coda di Volpe wine from Campania’s protector of native grapes (#ItalianFWT)”
Jen at Vino Travels joins with “The Lacryma Christi wines of Vesuvio”
Terri at Our Good Life “Chicken Pot Pie and A Beautiful Wine from Campania for a Spring Day”
Katarina at Grapevine Adventures muses “Campania Makes You Dream Big About Amazing Wine”
Nicole at Somm’s Table dishes on “Donnachiara Taurasi and Lamb Spezzatino”
Jeff at Food Wine Click! writes about “Vini Alois: Champions of Campania’s Native Grapes”
Rupal at Syrah Queen brings “NYC Somm Jordan Salcito Making A Splash With Campania Wines”
Lauren at The Swirling Dervish adds “Mastroberardino Greco di Tufo: White Wine from Campania’s Volcanic Arch”
Lynn from Savor the Harvest shares “Italy – Organic Wine and Rare Grapes In Campania #ItalianFWT”
and here at Avvinare “Taking Another Look At Falanghina from Campania”