Posted by: tomciocco | September 1, 2010

WHAT’S IT CALLED VALERIO, FALERIO?….

Italian wine is a bit confusing and there’s lots of it to be perplexed by…This is a situation that, given the hundreds of Italian wine regions, and the fundamental fractious Italian nature,  is unlikely to change either…Jen often asks, reading off of the label of this or that bottle, “ABCDEFG”, is that the grape?” Tonight she didn’t actually ask that question, and tonight the mystery name was “Falerio”, and by the way that name was written on the label, it could have easily been construed as the name of a grape; alas, no. She could have as easily asked if it was the region (which it is, by the way) or the proprietary name of the blend, or the producer’s name…you get the picture…

I hate to promote the somewhat cliched notion that Italian wine labels are be confusing, but unfortunately, it’s more true than not. But, rather than promote obfuscation, here’s one sure-fire solid piece of information you can always pull from an Italian wine label: the official name of the WINE REGION  must  located, by law, directly above the I.G.T., D.O.C., or D.O.C.G. classification. For example, directly above the D.O.C. one could read “Montepulciano d’Abruzzo”, or above a D.O.C.G. designation see “Brunello di Montalcino” and be 100% sure that that was the kind of wine you were drinking…there’s a whole lot that this DOESN’T tell you, but I promised no obfuscation…

So this installment’s particular D.O.C. wine is an organically grown Falerio or Falerio dei Colli Ascolani which as the longer form of the regional name suggests, is around and adjoining the city of Ascoli Piceno in the Marche. Falerio is a white wine (no red Falerio) made primarily from Trebbiano Toscano, Pecorino, and Passerina, and as the very obviously Italianized Latin name would suggest, the wines of Faleria have been made since Roman times, and indeed Pecorino is a recently rescued ancient variety, and Passerina is believed by some to be the progeny of a grape praised by the Roman poet Virgil.

I served this intriguing white with an appetizer of prosciutto and figs, and then an herb-encrusted pork tenderloin, and braised fennel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saladini Pilastri Falerio dei Colli Ascolani 2009

Greenish light gold color. Subtle, layered nose of rich walnut and cashew nuts, hay, yellow cherries, fresh herbs, seashells , and lilacs. The mid-weight palate has a correspondingly medium prominent acidity with flavors of honeydew melon, sea water, paraffin wax, and powdered ginger. The finish is clean, complex, and echoes away nicely.

TOM CIOCCO

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