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The Falanghina Grape

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About Falanghina

(Synonyms: Biancazita, Biancozita, Biancuzita, Falanchina, Falanchina Bianca, Falanghina Greco, Falanghina Verace, Falenghina, Falernina, Falerno Veronese, Fallanchina, Fallanghina, Folanghina, Montecalvo, Montellese, Uva Falerna)

Background

Falanghina grapes Map showing the Campania region of Italy

Falanghina is a white-wine grape probably originating in the Campania region of Italy, which is still its home (though some would trace it all the way back to Greece). In recent times—say the last thirty years—Falanghina has soared back into popularity after a period of relative obscurity.

Falanghina makes wines of substantial body and some richness. It is not notably mineral or fruit-forward; rather, it is a soft, pleasing blend of floral and honeyed (but not sweet) flavors. The flavors and acidity are, in well-made specimens, elegantly balanced. It is interesting that some descriptions have it as a notably high-acid wine, while other reviewers describe it as soft and moderate to low in acid; presumably those are simply the results of different vinification methods. Not a few reviewers detect a faintly "salty" quality in Falanghina wines, especially those grown close to the coast; whether that is real or the power of suggestion is hard to say.

There are apparently two major strains of the Falanghina grape: that grown around Benevento, and that grown around the Campi Flegrei ("firefields", from being the slopes of extinct volcanos); the latter seems to be the more esteemed.

Factoid: Falanghina may have been one of the grapes used in the renowned wine of ancient Rome, Falernian.


Some Descriptions of Falanghina Wines

  • Wikipedia

    "It is an ancient grape variety which may have provided a basis for the classical Falernian wine, and has considerable character. It is cultivated on the coast of Campania north of Naples, and frequently consumed in southern Italy along with seafood."

  • Wine Searcher

    "Falanghina can have a slightly pine scent, but is better known for its citrus blossom aromas, in particular bitter orange. On the palate it typically shows classic apple and pear flavors, depending on where it is grown, with spicy or mineral notes. . . There are at least two sub-varieties of Falanghina (Falanghina Flegrea and Falanghina Beneventana). The best known production zones are Falerno del Massico and Sannio."

  • Victoria Moore, The Telegraph

    "[O]nce you have tasted some of the lower-priced falanghinas, refreshing and bright, thirst-slaking and reviving, you will wonder why you bothered with anything as insipid as a £6 bottle of [Pinot Grigio] at all. Falanghina is light enough for lunch, fresh enough to drink in the garden and tangy enough to sip with food. It tastes good with tomato-heavy Neapolitan dishes: imagine spaghetti soaked in the juice of raw cherry tomatoes, garlic and herbs; or tomatoes baked with marjoram, parsley and breadcrumbs. It’s a joy with fish, too . . . investment in the vineyard and better winemaking techniques have transformed this once-unadmired grape, teasing out its beautiful fragrance and vibrant orange-peel inflections."

  • Nicole Whittington, Phoenix new Times

    "Falanghina wines have a pale golden hue like the straw of hay. You'll find that the grapes in Campi Flegrei tend to have a fresh, mineral-pure taste, while those produced in the Caserta zone seem to have a somewhat spicier flavor. Generally you can expect to find balanced acidity with aromas and flavors suggestive of green apples, candied orange zest, subtle spices and seaside breezes. Absolutely perfect for a summer's day. Falaghina grapes do best in soil that is light, porous, and rich in minerals -- aka volcanic areas. Its best expression is brought forth from the areas of Procida, Falerno del Massico, Campi Flegrei and Sannio."

  • Examiner.com

    "[M]edium-bodied Falanghina offers an amazingly fresh, clean, dry taste, great acidity, and a long and floral finish. It’s almost like it was made for summer weather–the typical flavor profile is ripe fruit in the peach/lemon/pineapple realm with good acidity—more ripe and “tropical” than many wines from Friuli and Alto-Adige regions."

  • Learn Italian Wines

    "The signature of Falanghina is its vibrant acidity; this is enhanced when the grapes are planted near the coast, as with the Villa Matilde estate in Caserta (Falerno del Massico DOC) or the Campi Flegrei DOC that hugs the shoreline just north of Napoli. Yet even inland in Benevento (Sannio DOC) and in Avellino, Falanghina maintains its healthy acidity. This is a wine with lovely aromatics; apple and pear are most common, but today, the best bottlings offer greater complexity in their perfumes, including notes of quince, acacia, white peaches and even some tropical fruits such as kiwi or guava. As the aromatics are so special, most offerings are aged in stainless steel."

  • Walter Speller

    "Falanghina hits all the right spots: it is capable of producing wines of real interest with pure, transparent white fruit aromas, often framed by a fine breadcrumb note from lees ageing. Falanghina comes in a variety of styles, from fresh easy drinking wines to serious, ageworthy and minerally samples at modest alcohol levels. Mature wines can even show a hint of petrol similar to that of aged Riesling."

  • My Life Italian

    "Wine made from Falanghina has a straw-yellow color, tending toward golden with an intense and fruity nose. It usually has softer acid and a pleasant, persistent finish."

  • Wine Lovers Page

    "And it's no coincidence that it comes from Southern Italy, a region long known for its lusty, rustic reds but that I'm increasingly coming to recognize as the source of full-bodied, full-flavored complex whites that merit broader recognition. . . A full-bodied, well-structured and complex wine."

  • Jon Bonné, SFGate

    "This native of Campania, in southern Italy, has a floral-mineral profile that sits well with its mostly coastal environs around Naples, where it is very much a foil to seafood. .  I remember the delight of my first taste of Falanghina . . . It was too weighty to be easily dismissed like a Pinot Grigio, too curious to be filed next to most Soave. But the same clean, crisp, stainless-steel winemaking that made Falanghina a star is also causing its Grigio-ification, by which I mean: What had been a curious country grape was taken to the big city, and if it didn’t lose its soul, all those fancy trappings might have stripped some of its character. It is now being made by some of the most notable wineries of southern Italy, and while their interpretations are faultless, they haven’t held my interest nearly so well in the past couple years."


Some Falanghinas to Try

(About this list.)

Fortunately, there are scads of Falanghina wines now available in the U.S., with many fine examples at quite modest prices. Here are some of the more-often recommended.

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.
  • Villa Matilde Rocca di Leoni Falanghina, $9 - $16.

    Some quotations and facts:

    This Falanghina exhibits a medium yellow gold hue with, grapefruit, pear, and mineral aromas. It is delicate and flavorful on the palate with touches of cream and honey, and shows beautiful balance, with a long lasting finish. 89 points.

    My glass of Villa Matilde Falanghina had a beautiful golden color, soft balanced acidity and a fruity flavor, with perhaps a hint of vanilla on the finish. It was served really cold, which was appreciated on that particularly hot day, but the temperature did not disguise the fresh delicious taste. I found a new wine to love…

    One of my favourite white varieties, period. This fragrant Falaghina will seduce you with creamy fruit aromas such as peach stone, melon and quince over top rich honey, fine spice and lemon meringue. It has an oily weight and almost chewy palate, laden with beeswax, mineral and tangy citrus with a toasted core. Potent and succulent - a white wine to satisfy red wine drinkers!

    88 points, begins with a lovely gradation of yellow colors, from pale at the core to bright lemon at the rim. This wine is floral and fruity. A light-plus body carries less acidity in an Italian white wine than I'm use to, but paired nicely with a sea-food medley. Flavors range from light citrus to more influential melon, but with an almost sour caramel after taste that finishes this wine

    This delicately fragrant native white is one of the region’s oldest and noblest. Estate-grown at Rocca dei Leoni, it shows a fruity and floral bouquet of pineapple, yellow peach, roses and sage leaves confirmed on the palate, firm structure and well balanced components. Appealing and fresh, ideal with fish, white meat, soft cheeses.

    Color: An attractive greenish yellow with a few large bubbles round the rim and at the bottom of the glass. Nose: Very attractive and quite well developed cocktail in white fruit and fowers with savoury herbs. Palate: Dry and aromatic with medium body, refreshing acidity and a pretty grapeyness in addition the aromas from the nose and more smiling charm than my memory of slightly sterner offerings of this grape from Feudi San Gregorio. A very nice wine to accompany a Mediterranean style fishy Spring salad; 15.5/20++.

    The straw yellow in colour, the scent intense fruity and floral, with notes of banana, tropical fruit, white peach, and the savory taste and balanced, describe the typical traits of a lovely wine, fresh and light.

    A wine that indeed smells and tastes fresh, bright, with a salty minerality you often get from wines produced near a coast. This was well paired with a warm crusty savory pastry dish, but would also be great with light salads and white fish dishes.

    Falanghina Roccamonfina 2010 I.G.T. was a light yellow. The aroma was very fragrant with floral notes that changed to citrus. The taste was fruity with floral accents and yellow stone fruit. The finish was very crispy. This paired well with ham stuffed pasta. Caracci 2007 was aged in oak for six months. The color was a dark yellow. The aroma had yellow stone fruit and pineapple notes. Yellow stone fruit with a touch of caramel was on the taste. The finish was very crisp and long with caramel notes.


  • Donnachiara Falanghina, $10 - $18.
    (The name sometimes appears as "Donna Chiara", but the winery's own site has it as one word.)
         ($14.24 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    The wine is a dark golden color with an intense nose showing acacia, pear, apricot and candied citrus. The flavors on the palate follow the nose; the texture is unctuous and the acidity high. The finish is long and pretty.

    Donna Chiara’s still Falanghina showed equally well, with even more of the characteristic minerality and acidity in evidence. It even displayed a touch of elegance. While that is not a common trait in Falanghina, which usually relies on a sort of straightforward friendliness and liveliness, I soon found out that elegance is a hallmark of all the Donna Chiara wines – most markedly the whites.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (29 February 2012), 88 points.

    A hint of flint follows through to a core of ripe melon, lemon-lime and chalk flavors, with light underbrush notes filling in the finish.

    Color: Bright deep gold. Nose: Mineral, Pear, green apple, hay, orange blossom. Palate: Full bodied, round. Slightly viscous. Tons of stone fruit, peach, apple flint and minerality (volcanic soil?). Ocean breeze, fresh grass, white flowers. . . Verdict: Awesome full bodied white wine bargain.

    We tasted two Beneventano Falanghina IGTside by side: The 2011 and the 2009 [this in 2012]. . . [Winemaker Angelo Valentino ] wanted us to taste the wines side-by-side so we could see how the wine has developed with a few years of bottle age. He said that they were very good vintages. The color of the wine had changed and so did the flavors and aromas. The 2009 was more developed, its aromas and flavors of citrus fruit with hints of apricot and pear were riper and easier to identify. I had to agree with Angelo, I would rather drink the 2009.

    Tropical fruit, banana, concentrated fruit squash with a rich and big structure. A little mineral stone character on the finish.

    The soil in the vineyard is chalky clay and there are 2,500 vines per hectare. The training system is Guyot and the harvest takes place the first week of October. Fermentation in stainless steel at controlled temperature for 40 days. The wine does not undergo malolactic fermentation and does not see any wood. The wine is fresh with hints of citrus and floral aromas and flavors, good acidity, and is a very pleasant wine to drink.


  • Vinosia Falanghina, $10 - $21.

    Some quotations and facts:

    This pretty wine opens with fresh aromas of melon, stone fruit and fragrant honeysuckle. This expression offers more richness and intensity than many of the Falanghinas available today. 87 points.

    Vinosia's 2010 Falanghina is a pretty, perfumed white laced with attractive floral fruit. It shows good balance, especially within its price range.

    Amongst whites, there is surely no greater earthy, smoky combination than truffles and Campanian whites. These whites possess a mineral and slate-laden core that work magically with pasta dominated by the aromas of subterranean mushrooms. The top notes are often floral and always nuanced. Cantine del Taburno [see below] makes a classic example with brisk acidity while Ocone [see below] makes a richer style. Vinosia’s version is a bit less smoky and not as sultry as either of the other two – perhaps a better first-time wine for those new to Falanghina.

    Falanghina is an Italian wine from the Campania region in southern Italy. These wines tend to have a little sweetness, similar to a Viognier, with a little of the acidity and body of a Pinot Grigio. This wine, priced around $11, is no different with a crisp acidic mouth-feel, good full body, and a little sweetness mixed in. There are quince, lemon, and pear flavors, mixed with a little smokiness and butter. The acidity hits first, but the residual sweetness helped cut into this and rounds out the overall flavor of this wine. I’m going to rate this a Brick Solid. It’s a good wine, and a good example of this wine, though maybe missing a little complexity. However its got all of the trademarks of the wine style and could be a good wine to break yourself into the different white wines starting to become available.

    Falanghina’s uniqueness stems from its broad spectrum of flavors and Vinosia’s take on the grape is a classic. It is viscous with apricot, white cherry and lychee flavors. There are some ripe tropical fruits here, and ripe pear juices as well, with just enough acidity to carry on the fruit aromas through medium finish. It is a great wine for the summer, and any seafood goes well with it, especially with some spice.


  • Terredora Di Paolo Falanghina, $11 - $16.

    Some quotations and facts:

    The Terredora di Paolo 2008 version is 100% Falanghina; it has aromas of stone fruit, pear and a little banana. Flavors that come to the fore are apple, pear, pineapple and mineral, all wrapped up in a clean and crisp finish. Clams, mussels, shrimp and any firm white fish come to mind as great food match-ups. Or it's delightful to sip on its own.

    Deep straw yellow in colour, with aromas of citrus and wet river stones. Apple, pineapple and lemon zest flavours abounded in the medium body whilst rich honey notes melted into a bitter almond finish. Well structured with a welcomed bright acidity, this is a fantastic glass that can be paired with a wide variety of pasta and seafood dishes, or enjoyed on its own.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (August 2008), 90 points, #59 2008 Top 100.

    A vivid white, with peach. lemon, mineral and light honey. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit and a long, flavorful finish. Very delicious. Very good value as well.

    When you get tired of the “same old, same old,” Italy is the place to go for wines with distinctive personalities. OK, so maybe it’s not so easy to pronounce the names of the wines, but it’s sure easy to drink ones like this made from the falanghina grape by the winery owned by Walter Mastroberardino and his children Lucio, Daniela and Paolo. They may be the largest vineyard owners and winery in the area, but they handle their wines with the attention and care of artisans. This one is made to emphasize the delectable peach, pineapple, pear and apple fruit buoyed by tangy acidity. Serve it with a creamy pasta.

    From a top producer in the hills near Naples, this elegant, light-bodied white is simultaneously silky and lively, with subtle citrus, herbs and mineral flavours carried through to a crisp finish. Great for light seafood dishes.

    Zingy citrus fruit aromas and flavours, mineral and flinty. Admirable, modern Italian white.

    [It] was excellent and unusual. Just the sort of thing I was hoping for in an unfamiliar Italian white. Strong flavors, a little bit of almond and lemon and maybe minerality, typically Italian hint of bitterness, a nice smooth but not glyceriny feel in the mouth, a long finish. Surprisingly high in alcohol (14%) but able to stand up to it with concentration of flavor and freshness. Not something I would age, not super super complex, but not one-dimensional either. Great clarity of flavor, vigorous but pretty balanced. Not inexpensive but a very fair price for the quality...you are unlikely to get such concentrated flavor combined with balance, even elegance, for less.

    As a grape, it is usually drunk relatively young. It is usually fermented in stainless steel and not aged in any oak. This Terredora Falanghina DOC Irpinia is no exception. It is crisp and fresh. It has a floral/mineral profile. I spoke about the proximity to sea a little while ago, and that is also important for what is paired successfully with this wine.... swordfish, mussels, buffalo mozzarella. Yum! I found this wine fresh and clean and bright with really delicate fruit aromas and smooth on the palate. Here's what I thought: color: pale straw; nose: quince, honey, orange blossom; palate: Meyer lemon, honey, kumquat. DELICIOUS!!

    The Falanghina grape has been growing [in Campania] for the better part of 3,000 years; this one from the Mastroberardini family [who own Terradra] is racy and delicious, with no oak to get in the way of the crisp apple, quince, and orange peel flavours.

    Color: medium yellow. Bouquet: apple, pineapple,, white flowers, lemon. Taste: medium body, rich aroma of fruits mainly green apple and pineapple, very nice minerality combined with lively acidity. Overall score: 84 . . . This is fresh medium bodied wine with zesty acidity and floral aroma and fruity taste. It [2007 vintage] is rather different than 2002 vintage we have tasted in autumn last year here. This one is more fresh and lively, 2002 vintage was more mineral and round and given the higher acidity it upheld it in the aging.


  • Cantine del Taburno Falanghina, $11 - $18.
         ($13.24 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    This crisp, refreshing medium-boded wine from southern Italy is produced primarily from indigenous white Falanghina grapes. It is one of many lesser-known Italian whites often more interesting than popular Pinot Grigios. It offers aromas of white blossoms, peach, melon and citrus, followed by more stone fruit on the palate, with apricots, almond flavors, tart apple, lemon rind, a touch of honey and a stony minerality. It has great acidity and a long, clean finish.

    The first thing one will notice about this particular wine is its color – it borders on orange. With “orange” wines actually being in vogue now, I momentarily wondered if it was one (it isn’t). It’s also impossible to not notice the freshness on display here. The aroma is bright, and sweet and lively… and much more exciting than those bland, mass-produced pinot grigios that have come to define Italian whites. I was also impressed with the depth of flavor; flowers, fruit, and minerals all dance on the tongue, which, combined with the vibrant acidity, makes it an excellent pairing with a variety of foods (we ate it with salmon). Looks almost orange in the glass. Aroma is very sweet – like a candied mango or citrus peel. Palate features a plethora of interesting flavors, including flowers, peaches, green apple, citrus liqueur, yet the slate/mineral notes on the finish keep it from tasting as sweet as it smells. It is bright and vibrant, but has balanced acidity and a medium body. A great buy for those interested in trying new varietals that taste truly unique. 90 points.

    Dominant notes of lychee and dried fruit with a firm, slightly bitter, and completely dry flavor. Mineral finish with a slight acidic tone. Although the country doesn't match, I'd highly recommend this with a broad assortment of tapas to allow the salty and savory snacks to play against the interesting white wine.

    This refreshingly crisp wine sees no oak and shows citrus notes of lemon and lime, with green apple and almond tones adding complexity. Aromas of white blossoms, peach, melon and citrus are followed by more stone fruit on the palate, with apricots, almond flavors, tart apple, lemon rind, a touch of honey and a stony minerality. It is well-rounded and has great acidity and a long, clean finish.

    Dry, crisp. Ripe stone fruit with honey, but without being too sweet. High acidity, but still allowing a food pairing. Gentle floral aromatics. Hint of almond at the finish.

    Nose of high-toned lemon and a hint of banana. On the palate, gobs of sweet tropical fruit — peach, lemon and banana, but lots of acidity keeps things focused and some classy minerality comes through on the surprisingly long finish. Excellent…

    The nose is crazy aromatic — lime, peach, pineapple — but on the palate, it is super crisp and minerally. And yes, with a hint of salinity that I love.

    Pretty white with a nice mixture of minerality and white fruit on the nose. The distinct mix of sugarfied candy and subtle vegetal notes. On the palate, the acidity clashes nicely with the dense deep honey dew flavoring. Nice green fruit and vegetables collide to make a perfect interracial marriage. Nice solid finish that would pair beautiful with basil and mozzarella or a variety of salads.

    It has an attractive green-tinged hue in the glass, and an open nose of honeydew melon and pear, cut through with a nice suggestion of minerals. Clean and well defined on entry, then showing a very flattering weight juxtaposed against a fine and zippy acidity, then broadening out in terms of flavour to reveal notes of pineapple, all the while maintaining a bright, fresh acid core. Fresh and lightly bitter in a delicious, savoury way. Overall, not only is this a fascinating wine, but it is also a very good one to drink! 16.5/20.


  • Feudi San Gregorio Falanghina, $11 - $20.
         ($11.64 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    The color is reminiscent of summer straw and you can catch reflective kaleidoscope greens if you look closely enough. Aromas of Granny Smith apples, lime, and flowers on the nose. A sense of creamy tropical fruit – banana, mango – on the palate that finishes firmly with clean citrus and minerals.

    Feudi di San Gregorio produces a Falaghina wine that pours a pale gold in color, resembling cider in some respects. The visual elements foreshadow what is to come. The wine's aromatic elements suggest grapefruit and apple, with some melon and earthiness. The taste of the wine is fairly dry, with grapefruit and apple being the principal flavors in the wine, supported by a little lemon and pineapple. The dryness of the wine makes one think of the wine as being a little tart, particularly with the flavors of grapefruit being so prominent in the flavor profile of the wine. But, the wine is not actually tart, it is just dry, which you can feel on your tongue as you drink this wine.

    This Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina is one of the better examples to be imported, with the distinctive character of the Falanghina grape really brought out by 5 months of maturation with the lees of fermentation ahead of bottling. A pale lemon colour in the glass, this 2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina offers bright aromas of grapefruit, orange zest and white summer flowers, before segueing into a dry and fairly light palate that leads with the grapefruit notes from the nose. Hints of cinnamon emerge from the mid-palate, with some salinity and a racy acidity cleansing the palate as the flavours fade. Offering more depth and flavoural interest than many whites, this Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina is notably accomplished and may be considered a great ambassador for the grape variety and region.

    My first comment: "pretty". I smelled the glass and it was fragrant. Flowery. Delicate. Pretty. Then I sipped the wine and it was full of fruity goodness. Apples and pineapple. Not too tropical, and there was a distinct minerality that gave the wine a finish. It wasn't sweet, but it wasn't dry. It was in two words.... Just. Right.

    Summertime is all about white wine for most, right? My new go-to is this medium-bodied southern Italian wine that has the perfect balance of minerality and fruitiness while pairing well with a range of foods.

    Almond kernel, sweet quince, rosemary and fresh lemons. Powerful palate: flavoursome and multi-dimensional with fruit, herb and mineral lines. 85+

    The [Falanghina] wines are crisp and aromatic, with some floral character. Two good ones to try are the racy 2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina and the slightly weightier 2012 Mastroberardino Falanghina di Sannio.

    Bright and fresh, with lively acidity framing the green pear, lemon mousse and apple blossom notes. Offers a clean, chalky finish.

    One of my all-time favorite sip-friendly whites is the Falanghina Feudi di San Gregorio. (It’s such a favorite, in fact, that I served it at my wedding.) Its price point makes it perhaps one step above a “house white,” but not so pricey that it’ll cause wallet swoon. Wine & Spirits magazine describes the Falanghina as such: "Vibrant acidity supports this wine’s rich flavors of melon and white peach. With a little air, an exotic spice character (white pepper? dried sage?) emerges to balance the juicy plumpness of falanghina. It finishes savory. Ready to serve with prosciutto." The wine is a pale gold color in the grass, with green tints. It has a really wonderful bouquet with hints of apple, banana and pineapple. And the wine is medium-bodied with a lovely citrus/mineral finish. Just right for the patio on a summer evening but equally appropriate in cooler seasons.


  • Vesevo Falanghina, $13 - $17.
         ($16.94 at Saratoga Wine Exchange).

    Some quotations and facts:

    With summer temperatures and humidity soaring, I’ve been drinking mostly cool white wines for the past couple of weeks. Sadly, a surprising number have been neutral and boring or too heavy to refresh. But not this 2010 Vesevo Beneventano Falanghina “V” from Italy’s Campania region, which is mouth-filling but also fresh and vivid. Its flavors are pure, crisp citrus and tangy minerals yet it has a lovely honeyed finish. Aromas of piney woods, white flowers and juicy pears tantalize.

    A lemon colour of good intensity in the glass, this Vesevo Beneventano Falanghina offers fairly pronounced aromas of lemon zest, green apples and a hint of melon. It’s the lemon zest though that comes to the fore on the palate, complimenting the natural crispness and nicely preserved acidity to generate real refreshment and interest. 86 points.

    ♣ Wine Spectator (31 August 2008), 87 points.

    This has a bright and informal quality that would make this fresh white wine a perfect partner for light seafood. Easy, informal and beautifully crisp. 86 points.

    Very dark yellow, golden in the glass. Old cheese rind and peachy on the nose. (Hey, I couldn"t make up this stuff). Slightly creamy, very fleshy lemon, grapefruit and tart green apple, spicy, peppery, quite tangy, lightly honyed, very clean and refreshing. A tangy finish.

    This has an intensity that almost nails itself to your tongue. I've drunk it twice now. Once in a Weymouth restaurant with buttery lemon sole and an orange and raw fennel salad, and once with scallops, baby tomatoes, garlic, chilli and rocket tagliatelle cooked by my friend Gavvy. Both times, it worked brilliantly.

    Volcanic soil imparts exotic minerality, deep complexity and a creamy texture with clear clean light passing through golden colors, on the nose melon, mint and acacia, but bursting onto the palate with bright apples, ripe pineapple & banana merging into a lemon lime finish. This white is a total summertime treat with big flavors and a mellowness that is completely satisfying, especially for $16.

    The Vesevo Falanghina offered up flavors of melon and spring flowers with a nice minerality. I drank it alone on my deck, but really wanted a piece of seared sea bass to pair it.


  • Ocone Flora Falanghina, $14 - $15.

    Some quotations and facts:

    Bright, medium yellow gold color. Very expressive and vivid aromas of cling peaches, green apple, orange, fresh white flowers, straw mushrooms, lemon curd, pine nuts and sea spray. The palate is big, powerful, viscous and intense, quite minerally, and almost aromatic, with a beautiful cohesion and lush flavors of just-sliced pineapple, green fig, poached pears, melon, dried ginger, sage, and honeycomb, all perfectly balanced by a clean and very fresh acidity. Very long, piney finish. A very classy, complete, and place-driven wine.

    If I had to name a white wine grape that embodies what most aficionados mean when they refer to a wine as “pretty”, Falanghina would be it. Crisp and floral, Falanghina wine probably functions as well as a light perfume as it does an elegant summer sipper. . . This example from Ocone, a 100+ year-old winery, is about as expressive as it gets for Falanghina. Aromas of fresh orange blossom along with hints of sweet mint leaf, peach and nectarine cloak a chalky, slightly briny nucleus that together form a light-bodied quaffer that is at once both heady and refreshing. A wine geek-worthy vino with loads of intensity and complexity for the money. I’ll be picking up more bottles this summer for sure!

    Wildflower field aroma; flavorful, rich and concentrated with nutty, spicy clove on the palate and a touch of candied pineapple.

    Think of light, herbaceous Soave with more meat on its bones and a certain Neapolitan swagger. A hint of ripe banana on the nose replays on the palate, joined by sweet lemon, peach and melon, delivered on a slightly oily texture.

    Clean tropical nose, with hints of dough, cinnamon, and orange zest. Somewhat lackluster on the palate, with dough, lemongrass, and a hint of banana before a finish which wilts from lack of acid.

    This version [of Falanghina] is exceptionally complex and elegant, dry almost to the point of being severe. There are hints of nuts, apple, pear and orange zest — along with a delicate hint of pine resin. Among Italian whites, it's a standout.

    Falanghina is one of the oldest white grapes to be cultivated for the purposes of wine production in Italy and reaches its apex in the higher altitude volcanic soils of southern Italy. This fresh, highly aromatic example boasts flavours of juicy sweet peach, rose petal and cherry blossom. A terrific value and perfect for enjoying the warm days ahead.

    Delicate oak and honeysuckle on the nose. Creamy, yeasty notes with lychee, apricot, greengage and white flowers. Layered and complex with a mineral seam and a lean but refreshing finish. (90+)


  • Mastroberardino Falanghina Sannio, $14 - $21.

    Some quotations and facts:

    This bottle of Sannio Falanghina impressed me with its floral and fruity aromas, with particularly strong notes of pineapple and citrus. The wine was straw yellow in the glass, and when swirled, it showed a good amount of viscosity in the body. In the mouth, the falanghina had a bracing acidity, with additional citrus, acetone, and mineral flavors, reflecting its origins in the volcanic soils of Pompeii. The wine ended with a short, clean finish. Simple and elegant, the cutting acidity of this wine is best suited for pairing with rich, buttery sauces and seafood or poultry courses.

    In a word, this wine was glorious. Loaded with minerals, flowers, crisp citrus, and loads of acidity. The aromas are a feast for the nose -- like a walk in the garden after a rain. There's a big acid strike when the wine enters the mouth, and almost tingling quality, from which lemon zest, honeysuckle, and a ton of minerals dance.

    ♣ Wine Advocate: 28 February 2013, 88 points; 30 June 2011, 88 points; 31 August 2010, 88 points; 31 August 2009, 88 points; 31 August 2008, 85 points.

    ♣ Wine Spectator: 30 September 2013, 86 points; 31 July 2009, 86 points; 28 April 2011, 85 points; 30 April 2007, 87 points; 31 May 2006, 88 points; 31 December 2004, 87 points.

    This is from a lower area, 180-200 meters above sea level, where the temperature excursions are lower, and the grapes ripen sooner than they do in Irpinia. In short, it’s more of a quaffing wine. Brassy green with brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is moderately intense, with some floral accents, slight bitter almond, and some minerality. Less intense than the Irpinian wine. On the palate it’s fairly direct, with minerality and some loquat fruit supported by sour loquat acidity and by grape tannins that have a flinty greenish burr and flow into a rather flinty finish. An up front wine that will drink well with foods, supporting without hogging the limelight.

    [Falanghina] wines are crisp and aromatic, with some floral character. Two good ones to try are the racy 2012 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina and the slightly weightier 2012 Mastroberardino Falanghina di Sannio.

    This straw yellow colored wine opens with a light citrus like bouquet. On the palate, this light bodied wine is a little lively and crisp. The flavor profile is a slightly tart, with a mineral infused Anjou pear like flavor. There is a touch of lime as well. The finish is dry and quite refreshing.

    This Falanghina is fresh and little with a good acid vein, perfect matching with appetizers and seconds of fish, but also good for a cocktails before dinner with friends. To be a base wine of the winery Mastroberardino I must admit that the wine is good correct in a word, nothing exceptional but when if I consider the price, very well done.


  • La Sibilla Falanghina Campi Flegrei, $15 - $17.

    Some quotations and facts:

    If you love big, buttery Chardonnays you should definitely try this Falanghina. It’s a smooth rich wine that recalls the way some Chardonnays can fill up your mouth, but without all the oak that’s become so hard to get away from. Laced with subtle spice and pleasant vanilla aromas, it will stand up without a chill on a hot day if you’re in a rush or away from a refrigerator.

    Brilliant straw. Quite ripe and with a nice spicy layer and hint of breadcrumb. Creamy - oak? Quite serious treatment. Full bodied, good length and pretty viscous.

    Not my favorite — until I had it with sardines. This white grape grows in Campania, along the ocean, and it’s a magical beautiful thing, but the grape tastes like serious ocean — salty, minerally and seaweed-ish. So serve it with something that can stand up to all that salty flavor.

    Here's a wine from an area of Campania known as the Campi Flegrei, a bit north and west of Naples. It's a volcanic terroir and the wine displays a distinctly stony, minerally character. It's clear in appearance and light straw in color. Dry and quite crisp on the palate, this is a wiry, light, tart, simple seafood white wine.

    Intense straw. Soft sweet pear fruit and hints of lees. Easy drinking. Acidity turns up briefly on a chewy finish.

    Falanghina from the boutique La Sibilla winery showed ripe fruit with minerals and smoked herb overtones.

    Nose: floral with an herbaceous element, minerals. Palate: brisk acidity, seashells, light body.

    La Sibilla–the source of well priced, minerally white wines from the Falanghina grape I’ve enjoyed for several years now . . . with plenty of complexity and minerality.


For a Splurge

There are several Falanghinas regularly mentioned as especially good, but they seem to be scarce indeed in the U.S. We thus list theme here without links or prices (and in no special order), so you can keeop an eye out for them:

  • Mastroberardino "Morabianca"

  • La Sibilla "Cruna de Lago" (also as "Cruna del Lago" and "Cruna Delago")

  • Feudi di San Gregorio "Serrocielo"

  • Villa Matilde Falerno del Massico Bianco "Caracci"



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