Posted by: tomciocco | January 13, 2012


Considering that the white Falanghina variety, or at least a direct ancestor, has been grown and treasured for better than two millennia in Campania, and that the people there have been pulling out all sizes and shapes of silver and jewel-toned sea creatures for their dinners pre-dating the first flicker of “history”, a night’s chow of the former with the latter is in no small way a real taste of the past. Just another reason to love History…

Though Falanghina is now also fairly widely grown in Molise, as it likely was in antiquity, this variety’s heartland, as I mentioned above, is and always has been Campania: from the island of Procida in the bay of Naples to chilly, forested, pre-mountainous zones like Sannio (Falanghina ripens early enough to be grown in colder regions). This is a grape that despite the many really nice examples available in the market now, for me still has its best days ahead of it. It always yields a vivacious, spunky, and bright wine but with a reliable solid ballast of nutty, chewy fleshiness too, making it a great partner for pastas (especially with some marine element) and FISH, almost any kind, done almost any way…

Tonight’s “way” was a first course of penne rigate with cauliflower, golden raisins, pine nuts, anchovies, bread crumbs, oil, and garlic. The second was the potentially sublime (it’s all in the ingredients and the timing) and nearly unlimitedly varied zuppa di pesce, this one with a “sea” of tomatoes, white wine, olive oil, red pepper flakes, garlic and parsley, in which swam blackfish fillets, shrimp, and cockles, with toasted bread of course…









Rocca del Dragone Falanghina Campania IGT 2010

Bright, burnished medium gold color. Piercing nose of mixed tropical fruit, hay and dried flowers, minerals, brown rice, peanuts, and pears. The angular, medium-weight body is crisp, tart, and sassy, but with an underlying fatness and notes of brown butter and dark honey complimented by flavors of white spices, grape paste, apricot and quince. Slightly austere, bittersweet marzipan finish.   


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