…with Greco and Fiano being the other two. What? Well, with all of the undervalued grape varieties all over the world, extolling the virtues of the whites from Campania at this juncture seems a bit passe’, but in the end, what’s good is good, and it should be celebrated. And admittedly of the “triumverate” Falanghina is the least known, so no more apologies.
Though Campania is the current center for its production under multiple appellation names, and likely the variety’s birthplace, areas in what is now Lazio and Molise might make their claims on this ancient variety (it may have been the material for antiquity’s celebrated white Falernum wine), and indeed the cultivation of Falanghina has recently spread to these areas and others in southern Italy as well. And it’s no wonder, because Falanghina (fa-lan-GHEE-na) is a real charmer. If Greco is the slightly austere, intellectual poet, and Fiano the grand and generous painter, then Falanghina is the prima ballerina. For me Falanghina is a decidedly feminine wine: pretty, elegant, and light on its feet, but with an intense and limber core. It’s fresh and delicate and sprightly, but ultimately integral and unflappable…
Falanghina is known to be a great partner with sea food (particularly mollusks) and it goes superbly with cannellini beans and soft-ripened cheeses as well, but I served this bottle with rotelle pasta with a zucchini, pea, and mint sauce, and then some herb and lemon marinated and grilled chicken breasts, and a very particular side dish from Molise consisting of steamed cauliflower, cooled and then dressed with mosto cotto (boiled down, unfiltered grape juice) white wine vinegar, basil, and toasted almonds. Ever the poised tersichore, Falanghina hoofed it beautifully with everyone.
Terredora Dipaolo Falanghina Irpinia 2009
Slightly greenish bright and pale gold color. Clean nose of white flowers, pear, pineapple, and lime fruit, with notes of quinine and vanilla bean underlying. The well-balanced, mid-weight palate has a very fresh and “lacy” texture, and a tightly-coiled core with flavors of fresh herbs, nectary pear fruit, and long and pleasant bitter almond finish. A wine that maintains a delicate balance between a saucy intensity and real elegance