Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Falanghina: A Southern Italian White Shines

Feudi di San Gregorio has long been making some of Campania's best wines. The home of Naples, this region is located on the lower shin bone on the Italian boot, and it's the source of some spectacularly unique and hard-to-pronounce wines. I'm drinking such a wine now. The 2003 Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina Sannio (Italy, Campania, Sannio). It's made from 100% falanghina — [FA-lan-GHEE-nah] — an ancient indigenous white grape, in the Sannio appellation.

At nine years old, this white wine is showing beautifully. It’s the color of marmalade and apple juice in the glass, with thick, syrupy legs. The aromas change their focus with oxygen and time in the glass, shifting from lanolin, lemon candle wax and honeysuckle to green melon and banana peel. 

Upon first sip, this wine feels thick and powerful. The thickness and density of this white would surprise a lot of people, pleasantly so, I’d wager. But the acid slides in a few seconds later  another surprise  and it begins to feel like you’ve just sucked on a fresh lemon. There’s some serious minerality in this wine as well, like that shot of lemon juice was poured onto a fresh oyster. Combined with that flavor and sensation, hints of peanut shell and toffee carry onto the finish.

Apparently this bottle made the Wine Spectator's Top 100 list back in 2004, albeit 96th place. It's aged very well since then, and I'd give it 88 points. This wine makes me wish I was sitting at some Mediterranean bistro eating Southern Italian squid or clams.

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