Campania is one of the oldest Italian wine regions, with winemaking going back to the 12th century BC. Known in Latin as Campania felix, or “Happy Land”, this region of volcanic mountains and wild coasts still lives up to its name. It is home to an impressive array of indigenous grapes like Aglianico, Fiano, Falanghina and Greco, among many others.
Vinotas Selections has searched high and low to find you the very best the region can offer.
I was at a trade show in Naples in 2014, tasting through wave after wave of insipid whites and overoaked, over-extracted reds. Then I came to a table where a kindly old lady, who spoke no English and barely any French, offered me a pour of her Falanghina.
Now, I have to admit that I’m not usually a fan of Falanghina. Most are flabby and uninteresting, primarily reserved for the Anything But Chardonnay crowd. So I was really caught off guard when I tasted one that really caught my attention.
High up on the sides of Mount Taburno, at 350 meters (1148 feet) in altitude, in the Benevento Province of Campania, Anna Rita Fontanarosa tends her densely-planted vineyards using age-old techniques, without additives or chemicals. For all intents and purposes, she is practicing Organic. The land here is volcanic, with calcareous soils laced with tuff and clay. In winter, it’s very cold, and in summer it’s very hot, just the right weather for the perfect balance between fruit and acidity.
At harvest, all the grapes are hand-picked and fermented and aged in stainless steel. At bottling, there’s barely any fining or filtering, as Anna Rita wants to maintain the purity of the expression of the soils. Both her whites and reds reflect this philosophy, with bright fruit, pronounced minerality and lovely acidity balancing everything out.
WINESAnna Rita’s Falanghina del Sannio is a stunning example of what the grape can do in the right hands. Bright but light, with yellow apple, pear and white flower notes, the wine starts off rich but is then balanced by a light saber of minerality and acidity, leading to a long grippy finish. A truly outstanding high-altitude volcanic white wine that will make you believe in Falanghina again.
- Sannio Aglianico
- Rosso Beneventano