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October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Robin Garr » Thu Oct 01, 2020 8:34 am

Call up your wine maps of Italy this month (or unfold your paper maps if that's your style) as we take a look at Fall-anghina and the white wines of Italy (or Italian white grape varieties wherever they grow). Okay, make that Falanghina, but give us a little space for the pun; and it just starts there, as Italy's white grapes are just about as numerous and diverse as its reds. Just to name a few, we've got Fiano, Greco, Grechetto, Vernaccia, Ribolla Gialla, Malvasia, Trebbiano, Verdicchio, Arneis, and sweet Picolit, Verduzzo, and Moscato on the table. Find one you love, or try one that's news to you, and come on in and talk about it.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Oct 01, 2020 10:16 am

Great, I am in. Have plenty to choose from!
Think I will start with a Volpe Pasini Friulano, it`s a 2015 so guess should drink up.
We should get Tom Hill over here, he posts on Falanghina quite a lot.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by David M. Bueker » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:09 am

My contributions will all be Italian varieties grown in the USA...
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Robin Garr » Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:41 am

David M. Bueker wrote:My contributions will all be Italian varieties grown in the USA...

Plenty of those to choose from! I'm an Italian-wine geek, though, and love me some QPR varieties, so I'll balance your New World tilt. :)

In fact, I'll go ahead and format one now ... stay tuned!
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Robin Garr » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:01 am

Let's kick off FALL-an-ghina with a Falanghina, and a darn good one, too, from the Falanghina del Sannio region.

Cantina del Taburno 2018 Falanghina del Sannio ($16.99)

This 100% Falanghina comes from the Benevenuto area in the Falanghina del Sannio wine region on the slopes of Mount Taburno northeast of Naples in Southern Italy. It offers a good represenation of the Falanghina grape with its clear golden color and pleasant, forward aromas of ripe pears with a back note of pineapple. Its mouth-filling flavor follows the nose with luscious ripe fruit framed by firm acidity that gives it the tools to serve well at the table. Its 13% alcohol helps provide structure without being overbearing, and tart pear and pineapple persists in a very long finish. U.S. importer: Vanguard Wines, Columbus, Ohio, and other regional importers. (Oct. 1, 2020)

FOOD MATCH: Falanghina is a good match with fish, particularly richer or fatty fishes, and the Italian wine magazine Gambero Rosso strongly recommends it with Naples' beloved pizza. It also served us well with a spicy Prebranac, a Serbian dish of gigante beans baked in a spicy paprika-based sauce, and we're planning to try the remainder with a Piemontese favorite, spaghetti with butter and fresh sage.

WHEN TO DRINK: It's absolutely delicious now, but its full fruit and richness, plus the protective metal screw cap, suggest it should keep, and might evolve into more complexity, over five years or so.

VALUE:
My 16.99 local retail price is right on Wine-Searcher.com’s $17 average U.S. retail. It's a very good white wine and a good value in that range.

WEB LINK
Here's a fact sheet from producer Cantina del Taburno.

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Cantina del Taburno Falanghina del Sannio on Wine-Searcher.com.

Follow this Wine-Searcher link to learn more about Falanghina del Sannio and browse listings for dozens of other wines from the region with prices and vendors.

This Wine-Searcher link provides more information and listings about Falanghina in general.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Jenise » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:40 pm

Ordered this last night from a restaurant with our take-out dinner, a perfect match for a frisee, celery, apple and smoked trout salad with a horseradish vinaigrette, a Soave I've not run into before:

2018 Acinum Soave Classico Garganega
Vivid fruit, crunchy and taut. Excellent for sipping and food. Will buy more.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Oct 03, 2020 2:55 pm

It was nice to eat out for a change so visited nearby TapaVino..a small 16 seater. Social distance observed.


2018 Villa Matide Falanghina Rocca dei Leoni Campania.

Remains one of my fave Falanghinas. Mineral and flowers on the nose, melon and just a hint of tropical fruits. Color is a light gold but attractive. Green apple on entry with some melon but is fairly dry. Medium-bodied, so-so acidity but some mussels and sardines solved that problem! Bit tangy with some sweetness as we drained glass number 2.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by guy.huntley » Sun Oct 04, 2020 2:41 pm

I just discovered falanghina a year ago, while traveling through Campania, and have a number of bottles in my cellar now. I enjoyed comparing vintages and vintners when friends came by to socially-distant drink on the deck this summer.

I’d love to talk about another good white I discovered last year, though: fiano. I don’t have the most discerning palate, but I would swear that the fianos I enjoyed in Naples are different than those I loved on the Amalfi coast. The former seemed more mineral, maybe “butterier”; the later more floral and light. Did I imagine this? If I’d been told they were two different grapes I’d believe it.

Who else has noticed this difference? If it’s not just my imagination, what causes it? Are the grapes treated differently north to south? Is the soil—surely all volcanic—that different? What’s going on here?
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by David M. Bueker » Sun Oct 04, 2020 3:38 pm

Interesting question Guy. I wish I had info for an answer.

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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Oct 04, 2020 4:12 pm

Guy welcome, good question. This might help eh.

https://www.wine-searcher.com/grape-166-fiano
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by David M. Bueker » Sun Oct 04, 2020 5:26 pm

Italian grape planted in California, part 1.

  • 2017 Aeris Wines Carricante Bianco Centennial Mountain - USA, California, Sonoma County (10/4/2020)
    Sample bottle, and it’s very well made, but perhaps Carricante just isn’t my thing. I like the zippy lemon notes, and the fresh hay elements are quite nice, but it never excites me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this wine, and lots of things that are right. The fresh acidity and minerality should be right up my alley, but it never connects. Not sure why. I really liked the Aeris Centennial Mountain Red Wine, but this is not my thing. Maybe it’s yours.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by kasey.dubler » Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:02 am

2014 Manni Nössing Riesling Alto Adige

I don't think of Riesling when I think of Italian white wines, but had this over the weekend and thought I would add the note.

This was a nice wine, different from many of the styles I am used to. It was dry, with more body than I was expecting. Had aroma of Apples and pears with a hint of a mineral edge, not petrol, but more mineral almost granite? Acidity is elevated, but comes across lower than most the Riesling I am used to, especially considering it was dry. I like dry Riesling, but it often has just a jolt of acidity that carries through, this did not have that. Slight floral nose comes through as the wine opens up as well. Paired it with an Apple and Bleu cheese salad and roast pork tenderloin with an apple chutney and it worked perfectly.

Often when I try a grape I know from a region I'm not familiar with it I want to push the wine into a style I am used to. So Mosel, Alsace, Austrian, Washington State or even Australian Riesling, and this was unique, different than all of them. Maybe somewhere between Alsace and Washington State? But really I should just look at it as Alto Adige Riesling and stop trying to push everything into my preconceived notions of what a wine should be...
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Oct 06, 2020 1:14 pm

Great note..was hoping someone would post on an Italian Riesling!
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by kasey.dubler » Tue Oct 06, 2020 6:41 pm

guy.huntley wrote:I just discovered falanghina a year ago, while traveling through Campania, and have a number of bottles in my cellar now. I enjoyed comparing vintages and vintners when friends came by to socially-distant drink on the deck this summer.

I’d love to talk about another good white I discovered last year, though: fiano. I don’t have the most discerning palate, but I would swear that the fianos I enjoyed in Naples are different than those I loved on the Amalfi coast. The former seemed more mineral, maybe “butterier”; the later more floral and light. Did I imagine this? If I’d been told they were two different grapes I’d believe it.

Who else has noticed this difference? If it’s not just my imagination, what causes it? Are the grapes treated differently north to south? Is the soil—surely all volcanic—that different? What’s going on here?


So I do not claim to be an expert on Italian grapes, you could literally write multiple books trying to separate all the information. Italy is famous for calling a grape whatever they like. Many grapes have 10-20 different names all within the same region making it very confusing. Many of them also share a name, and are in fact distinct grapes, which is even more confusing.

But with Fiano everything I read leads me to believe it is just one grape. If you ever want to dig deep on Italian wines I suggest "Native Wine Grapes of Italy" By Ian D'Agata. In that book he writes, "part of Fiano's appeal is that, depending on growing conditions, it can give either a steely-mineral or decadently lush and rich wine." So that may explain why they are so different
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Tim York » Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:45 am

No TNs yet from me because I don't have a single Italian white in my cellar and haven't yet seen one in the rare shops I have visited (rare due to Covid caution!).

While I have no hesitation in placing some Italian reds amongst the great wines of the world (Barolo, Barbaresco, Sangiovese based Tuscans, Bolgheri plus perhaps Etna and some from Aglianico and Sagrantino), I can't think of any Italian whites of that sort of calibre to rival best white Burgundy (if pox free), Loire Chenin and Riesling from Germany, Alsace and Austria in terms of finesse and complexity at the summit of wine.

That is not to say that I haven't greatly enjoyed the distinct personalities of, say, Verdicchio from Bucci and La Monasesca, Soave from Pieropan, white Etna, Greco di Tufo, some Orvieto and some from Friuli.........but not on the same plane as the great French and Germans.

What do other people think?
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by kasey.dubler » Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:28 am

Tim,

I don't want to, but I do have to agree with you. I have loved many whites, I'd throw Fiano in with your list below. I also love Kerner, but will admit I will almost always prefer a great German or Alsatian Riesling.

I will say that the "Orange" wines coming from white grapes made in Italy are some of the greatest in the world. Gravner, Radikon, Paolo Bea are all on a short list of greatest orange wine in the world.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:36 am

Yes, I agree too. I tend to eyeball the selection of Italian whites downtown but rarely pick up more than 1/2 bi-monthly. Have to say that the 2017 Paternoster Falanghina is a winner..stay tuned.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:15 pm

Well forumites, here is one Falanghina we should all be looking out for>>

TN: 2017 Paternoster Vulcanico Falanghina, Basilicata Italy.

13% alc, $27 Cda, good natural cork, decanted.

The color is a medium straw yellow with some light green tinges. The aromatics just flow out of the glass on opening...apple, "smokey" from across the room The volcanic eruption did us some flavors eh! The nose is persistent and very appealing with some wild white flowers and fruit.
Initial entry thought is dryish, citrus, minimal hint of grapefruit. There is some herbal quality here, medium acidity, pineapple too.This is a very polished wine but could not find the carnations others talk about. Buy again for sure, volcanic wines are currently one of the hot topics in our wine world.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Oliver McCrum » Fri Oct 09, 2020 2:45 pm

guy.huntley wrote:I’d love to talk about another good white I discovered last year, though: fiano. I don’t have the most discerning palate, but I would swear that the fianos I enjoyed in Naples are different than those I loved on the Amalfi coast. The former seemed more mineral, maybe “butterier”; the later more floral and light. Did I imagine this? If I’d been told they were two different grapes I’d believe it.

Who else has noticed this difference? If it’s not just my imagination, what causes it? Are the grapes treated differently north to south? Is the soil—surely all volcanic—that different? What’s going on here?


Guy, you are right, there are two entirely separate varieties called Falanghina in Campania. Falanghina Flegreia comes from the Campi Flegrei, near Naples, and Falanghina Beneventana comes from Benevento, further inland.

Many of the soils are volcanic, as is so common in Campania, but some are not; my producer from Benevento is on limestone-based clay, for example. The Campi Flegrei is entirely volcanic sand, I believe. It's so sandy that there are no grafted grapevines there, which is highly unusual.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Jenise » Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:40 pm

Pretty much agree with Tim, too. Ask me to list the great Italian whites I've had, off the top of my head only two or three come immediately to mind, a Scarpetto Sauvignon Blanc at about five years of age (boring initially, you had to wait for the fireworks), a blend from Terlan or is it Terlano (I'm thinking the latter's an American brand), and this one drunk last May but it's orange, not white:

2017 Arianna Occhipinti Sicilia SP68 Bianco White Blend
Deep amber, the color of 22K gold. Obvious extensive skin contact. Exotic nose of bergamot, allspice and dried apples, on the palate bone dry versions of loquat fruit, tangerine peel and spiced peaches. Mysterious, hypnotic. This is not an everyday white wine, you need to prepare the right food for it. We opened it Wed night, tasted it, and put the cork back for last night because it would have been a lousy match for fried shrimp and given one more day I could make a curried chicken dish to pair with it. Perfect pairing, and the wine itself was more 'out' on the 2nd day as well. So amazing; the wine was consumed that night but the spell lasted for days.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Robin Garr » Sun Oct 11, 2020 1:49 pm

Tim York wrote:I can't think of any Italian whites of that sort of calibre to rival best white Burgundy (if pox free), Loire Chenin and Riesling from Germany, Alsace and Austria in terms of finesse and complexity at the summit of wine. ... What do other people think?

Tim, I come at it from a different perspective: I think Falangina (and Fiano and Greco di Tufo) rank among the best/most enjoyable Italian dry whites for me. And on a world scale, I like them for QPR. I'm I want a really good wine that doesn't cost me more than $20 or so, Falanghina and its cousins offer a very good place to start. No, it's not a good white Burgundy. But it's one of the best whites in the price range that I'm usually willing to pay. :)
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Tim York » Sun Oct 11, 2020 3:33 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Tim York wrote:I can't think of any Italian whites of that sort of calibre to rival best white Burgundy (if pox free), Loire Chenin and Riesling from Germany, Alsace and Austria in terms of finesse and complexity at the summit of wine. ... What do other people think?

Tim, I come at it from a different perspective: I think Falangina (and Fiano and Greco di Tufo) rank among the best/most enjoyable Italian dry whites for me. And on a world scale, I like them for QPR. I'm I want a really good wine that doesn't cost me more than $20 or so, Falanghina and its cousins offer a very good place to start. No, it's not a good white Burgundy. But it's one of the best whites in the price range that I'm usually willing to pay. :)


Fair point opposite white Burgundy from the Côte d'Or but less so against Chablis. The Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise are also delivering increasingly attractive white Burgundy. Dry Loire chenin, except Coulée de Serrant, is often under €20 and most dry German and Alsatian Rieslings don't break the bank although into the €30-40 range. Some Austrian Rieslings are getting quite pricey, though..
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Oliver McCrum » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:16 pm

Tim York wrote:While I have no hesitation in placing some Italian reds amongst the great wines of the world (Barolo, Barbaresco, Sangiovese based Tuscans, Bolgheri plus perhaps Etna and some from Aglianico and Sagrantino), I can't think of any Italian whites of that sort of calibre to rival best white Burgundy (if pox free), Loire Chenin and Riesling from Germany, Alsace and Austria in terms of finesse and complexity at the summit of wine.

That is not to say that I haven't greatly enjoyed the distinct personalities of, say, Verdicchio from Bucci and La Monasesca, Soave from Pieropan, white Etna, Greco di Tufo, some Orvieto and some from Friuli.........but not on the same plane as the great French and Germans.

What do other people think?


Speaking as an enthusiastic drinker of Chablis, Savennières, Sancerre and some Alsatian wines I think that Italy used to be known, mostly correctly, for good everyday whites. For my taste there are some more substantial examples now, or perhaps we just understand that there are some appellations that we can expect more of.

For me the best examples of serious whites would be the best examples of Etna whites, Soave, Verdicchio, Gavi, a number of the best smaller producers from the Alto Adige (or the top cuvées from the co-ops) for a number of varieties (Sauvignon and Pinot Bianco are standouts), and a number of appellations from the volcanic soils in Campania, such as Fiano di Avellino, Greco del Tufo, Falanghina Beneventana or Lacryma Cristi Bianco. The best examples of these certainly improve with age, which I think is the line between good wine and something more serious.
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Re: October Wine Focus: Fall-anghina and Italian whites

by Robin Garr » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:14 pm

Tim York wrote:Fair point opposite white Burgundy from the Côte d'Or but less so against Chablis. The Mâconnais and Côte Chalonnaise are also delivering increasingly attractive white Burgundy. Dry Loire chenin, except Coulée de Serrant, is often under €20 and most dry German and Alsatian Rieslings don't break the bank although into the €30-40 range. Some Austrian Rieslings are getting quite pricey, though..

That makes abundant sense for you in France, Tim. Less so, I fear, in Donald Trump's USA. :(
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