Campania’s two most important grapes– Falanghina and Aglianico– aren’t well known in the US and are rarely grown in the states with notable exceptions in Paso Robles where Castoro grows Falanghina and Aglianico at Sunce. While Aglianico may be considered one of Italy’s three best wine grapes, it is not best known: it’s much less famous than its brethren Sangiovese aka Chianti or Nebbiolo aka Barolo. Known as the Barolo of the south, Aglianico is Campania’s most planted red variety and prefers volcanic and/or clay calcareous soils. It ripens at the end of harvest in late October and early November producing high acid, small thick skinned berries.
Falanghina is a white wine whose name comes from the method of vine cultivation in Sannio at the end of the Roman Era that used poles called Falangs.
Campania, located on the shin of Italy’s boot, means happy, blessed fertile valley. Soils are rich thanks to Mount Vesuvius: an eruption in AD 79 buried Pompeii under 13-20′ of ash, pumice, and rubble.
The cuisine in Campania goes beyond pizza and spaghetti to caprese salad, stuffed pastas, anchovies, seafood, and pasta puttenesca with pork being an important food. We last wrote about Campania’s Feudi di San Gregorio paired with pizza and wild boar ragu.
2 Wines from Campania
- 2021 Terrestregata Trama Falanghina
- 2021 Cantina di Solopaca Aglianico Benventano
2021 Terrestregata Trama Falanghina
Importer: The Italian Selection
Appearance: Pale lemon almost the color of lemon pith, very clear
Aroma: Lemon, lemon grass, sea grass, meadow, fresh and light, subtle nose, chamomile appears on the palate after the fist introduction on the palate
Palate: Tart lemon, Eureka lemon, bright acidity, chamomile, finish hangs out mid palate for a good long time. The lemon tartness lingers at the back of the throat. As the palate warms up to the wine it becomes even more pleasurable
Pairing: The first thing we wanted with this wines was….. (so surprising for us) oysters. The two paired were like rich ripe meaty cantaloupe. So beautiful together. The oyster that is not as fat and rich and meaty. I think a Kumamoto would have even better with the wine. Also great with the salad loving the salty fried prosciutto, the bitter greens and the oils in the salad and the dressing bring the pairing to a new height. Fantastic with the shrimp pasta. The wine loves the sweet shrimp and the rich anchovies in the sauce. The sweet shrimp are so flavorful, and they bring out such beautiful sweet fruit in this wine changing it from a tart acidic wine to a more flavorful smooth sipper. The lemon becomes more of a nectarine and apricot in the wine.
2021 Cantina di Solopaca Aglianico Benventano
Importer Straitalian Inc.
Appearance: Raspberry juice, fresh raspberries, pretty pink rim.
Aroma: Insence, church incense, plum, red current, violet, red vines licorice, cinnamon, more like red hots, sweet vanilla,
Palate: So very tart and dry, cranberry, cocoa powder, eucalyptus, rosemary on the finish, this is a very young wine and could use some time in the cellar, lots of tannins and acidity that should hold up through time. This is such a food yearning wine. It really deserves to shine with the food it is paired with.
Pairing: The wine and the Coppa were a great combination. The palate needs the fat and richness of the food in order to bring out the excellence in the wine. Great with our raw almonds. The almond richness is highlighted, the nutty flavor is enhanced and the wine has fresh bright fruit notes when paired together. Cambozola and the wine was so perfect together. I felt that the wine was just alright with the pasta, Sue found it to be quite pleasurable. However, with the salad the wine was an even a better match. It yearned for the creamy avocado, the rich olive oil and the crispy salty prosciutto. Make your prosciutto into crispy bacon bits to bring your salad to another level. The amazing pairing is with the pasta with Sue’s red sauce with Italian sausage. All of these rich flavors help to integrate the flavors of this young wine.
This week I attended Gambero Rosso and found more Falanghina and Aglianico.
For more about Campania, Molise, and Basilicata, check out:
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Aglianico and Schwarma? Let’s give it a try….”
- Camilla of Culinary Cam features “From Campania: Pasta Named for a Patron Saint + Wine from an Ancient Tale.”
- Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles highlights “Campania, Calzone, and Aglianico.”
- Andrea of The Quirky Cork offers “Basilicata Meets Turkey Sucuk Paired Aglianico.”
- Martin from ENOFYLZ Wine Blog presents “A Taste of Three Feudi di San Gregorio Campania White Wines.”
- Susannah of Avvinare reveals “Tintilia, A gem grown in Molise.”
- Katarina of Grapevine Adventures discusses “Giovanni Piccirillo Brings a Fresh Approach to Winemaking in Alto Casertano.”
- And host Jen of Vino Travels gives “A Glimpse into Molise with the Tombacco Biferno Rosso Riserva.”
There will be a chat this month at 8am Pacific. Search for the hashtag #ItalianFWT.All are welcome.
I discovered Aglianico ages ago at Kenneth Volk when he had his Paso tasting room. We picked up a few bottles of different wines, and I remember reaching out to him and asking about a good pairing for Thanksgiving. Without hesitation, he suggested Aglianico.
Falanghina, funnily enough, I learned about it from my best friend’s daughter, who traveled to Italy and fell in love with it (before she could legally drink it). I immediately went out to find one.
It’s funny how wines come into your life. Thanks for bringing back these wonderful memories with your post!
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Great stories! Kenneth Volk loves to experiment– sorry I missed his Aglianico!
That Falanghina sounds really lovely. Sounds like a producer to look out for!
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Yes, and so good with the shrimp!
Cool that you tasted an Aglianico and Falanghina from the Benevento area, there are so ma ny nuances to the Campania wines.
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It was nice to be able to showcase both of these wines.
I’m sure there were many great wines at the Gambero Rosso. Would be great to compare multiple aglianico and falanghina side by side to get a true sense of terroir at once.
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Yes! and yes, that was my intention but it is so easy to get distracted. And I didn’t get to the table that was all about Sannio until I really needed to get on the road otherwise I’d face hours of terrible traffic.