Friday, March 10, 2023

One of Campania's Greatest White Grapes with Aia dei Colombi Falanghina del Sannio

Last week we touched upon the region of Molise showcasing a blend of Montepulciano and Aglianico and this week we venture to the region of Campania highlighting the native white grape, FalanghinaCampania is a region in southern Italy located on the western coast along the Tyrrhenian SeaWith Naples as the capital of Campania that most are familiar with, maybe you’ve also been fortunate to travel there to explore the Amalfi Coast and the ancient ruins of PompeiiA region with amazing history and amazing wines. 

The winery – Aia dei Colombi 

The Aia dei Colombi winery I’m featuring today is not one very large in size, occupying about 25 acres in the hills east of Naples in the towns of Castelvenere and Guardia SanframondiThe winery was established in only 2002 founded by Maria and Marcello PascaleOriginally much of the fruit had been sold off to other producers, but since their sons, Gaetano and Marcello, have become involved in the business they now produce their own wines from 3 primary varietals including Falanghina, Fiano and Aglianico.   

Aia dei Colombi winery in Campania
Sourced from Aia dei Colombi
The grape – Falanghina 

Falanghina is a grape that is believed to have arrived in southern Italy by the Greeks in the 7th century BCCampania claims 95% of Italy’s Falanghina plantings and the Sannio DOC that I’m sharing today is where 80-90% of Falanghina is grown.   

A key figure and local producer, Leonardo Mustilli, was instrumental in the Falanghina grape thrivingHe had found an ancient vine of Falanghina and began to work with the grape to be the first to release it as a single varietal in 1979 showing the qualities that this grape possesses to stand on its own. 

There are two different varieties of this grape, Falanghina Flegrea and Falanghina BeneventanaFalanghina Flegrea is typically lighter and brighter with showing notes of citrus, stone fruits, pears and applesFalanghina Beneventana, on the other hand, is more concentrated showing more tropical and floral notes with some herbal nuances.   

Falanghina is a grape that has a yellowish skin that loves the warm, dry Mediterranean climate, especially the volcanic soils of this region as wellMost of the wines made from Falanghina are made in stainless steel, but you may see the use of oak with some producersThe flavor profile will vary depending on the use of Falanghina Flegrea or Falanghina Beneventana grapes along with the specific terroirs of where the grapes are grown. 

The Wine 

The 2020 Aia dei Colombi Falanghina del Sannio DOC Guardia Sanframondi I purchased was brightly straw colored with pretty aromas of citrus mostly and green apple. The wine had a tingly acidity that lasted throughout to waken up that palate showing lemon, tart apple and some minerality. A decent finish with some length. Retailing about $15-17 a bottle it was worth the purchase. Although it’s always important to know the top producers making high quality wines to get a good sense of the typicity of these grapes, I always enjoy those I haven’t heard of that may be smaller as those can sometimes be the ones that surprise you. ABV 14% 

2020 Aia dei Colombi Falanghina del Sannio DOC

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