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Campania- Part IV - The Wines - Asprinio and Falanghina

Here we are finally. We are going to taste some iconic wines, I will suggest some wines and you will learn to select some of them if they are on a good wine lists.


A couple of fast facts, Campania produces 4% of all Italian production and it has 50000 acres of vineyards. I already mentioned that Aglianico takes almost 30% of all acreage. As we discuss the Appellations of Campania ; only the most important ones of course .


I want to digress for a minute on what is DOC and DOCG. DOC = Denominazione Origine Controllata - DOCG = Denominazione Orgine Controllata & Garantita.


There are the way for the Italian Government to put a structure and organize the way the wine is produced in Italy. (See the DOC-DOCG brief blog in this series).



FALERNO DEL MASSICO DOC


Lets start with one of the oldest wine ever produced: FALERNO.


It was the Bordeaux Grand Cru of the Romans. Produced around the border with Lazio between the extinct volcano of Roccamonfina to the North and the coastal town of Mondragone to the South. The calcareous massif of "Monte Massico" is almost to the center of the appellation and faces the sea on its souther side.


One legend tells of how Bacchus, Roman god of wine, turned the slopes of Mount Massico into vineyards because of the kindness that Falernus, an old farmer, bestowed on the scruffy-looking mortal version of Bacchus.


From that day on, Falerno was praised by classical Roman poets and was the drink of the ancient armies of Rome.

In days gone by, its alcoholic strength was so immense that it was often diluted – although due to its high quality, connoisseurs would leave it in its natural form.


According to the philosopher Pliny the Elder, if a good-quality Falerno was held near a naked flame it would catch fire. Most of the ancient wines were predominantly white, produced from Aminea Gemina, now known as Greco.


As part of the ruins of ancient Pompeii, a price list on the wall of a bar establishment notes

For one "as" you can drink wine

For two you can drink the best

For four you can drink Falernian.


Today the modern versions can be both bianco (white, usually the fragrant and prestigious Falangina) and rosso (red, predominantly made from Aglianico and Piedirosso.


Francesco Avallone of Villa Matilde recovered and first propagated old Falanghina wines (1970s) with the intention of saving the grape. It is the base of the fragrant and fruity white Falerno.



Straw yellow color , it shows persistent aromas of white flowers , pineapples, bananas with a velvety mouthful, a long finish, leaving a very elegant sensations. An expensive wine. A perfect pairing with Oysters, Shellfish and any pasta with fish, especially Neapolitan Style.



So if you buy a Falerno WHITE -- Remember it is made from Falanghina of Campi Flegrei ( do not get impressed by the fancy name) ... Like other wines Here is a list of Falernos wines which you can find in USA through wine searcher ->


AVERSA DOC ( Asprinio d' Aversa)


The Aversa DOC is wine made from Asprinio , the local grape.The vines are typical Alberata Aversana. In the Alberata training system, which dates back to the Etruscans, the vines grow up to 18 meters tall and are tied to tall poplar trees. In other words the vines grow attached to trees. That is a very ancient method.The harvest is manual because ladders up to 20 meters high are used in order to reach the grapes.  The grapes are placed in 18kg boxes. The soil is alluvial, volcanic and of medium texture. After crushing, the must is immediately separated from the skins and placed in an autoclave for a second fermentation. The wine is matured on its lees in an autoclave for about 90 days and was bottled on December 3. The wine has nice citrus fruit aromas and flavors with a hint of lime, herbs and good acidity. The wine can age for 5 to 6 years.


They are actually extremely refreshing and excellent as aperitif. They can substitute the usual choice in USA for Prosecco.

So search for one ... try it and let me know what you think.



Az. Agr. I Borboni Asprinio Spumante NV. 100% Asprinio d’Aversa. $20  Produced in the Aversa and Giuliano zones from sandy soil mostly of volcanic origin where philloxyera could not survive. The vineyards are at 80 meters. Hand harvesting takes place the first week of September and temperature controlled fermentation lasts for 15 days.  Aged in stainless steel for 4 months. The foam stability time is 60 days in an autoclave (Charmat method). It remains in the bottle for 30 days before release. This is a sparkling wine with good bubbles nice citrus aromas and flavors, a hint of lemon and a slight touch of bitter almond in the aftertaste. It was almost impossible to find Asprinio in USA 10 years ago.  Today it is not impossible just difficult but worth the effort.  It is a good food wine.  There is also a non-sparkling version of Asprinio.

Another great example is the TrentaPioli from Salvatore Martusciello (see below on his Falanghina).



A great representation of Asprinio Sparkling Wine , the grapes are grown in the traditional Alberta di Aversa , they are hand picked and produce a great refreshing wine with floral notes and citrus, very refreshing.


Great wines from the grape Falanghina


Falanghina is a grape ubiquitous in Campania. If you go to any local restaurant from Amalfi Coast,to Naples, their white house wine is Falanghina. So if you ask for a glass of white , this is what you are going to get and probably the Campi Flegrei DOC version.


Falanghina from Campi Flegrei DOC it was introduced by Gennaro Martusciello from Grotta del Sole winery in the 1990s ; it found and propagated old vines found around Lake Averno. It is a varietal wine made from 90% to 100% local Falanghina, They also produce Spumante. Some good Falanghina from Campi Flegrei are from

Villa Matilde

(as Falanghina varietal or as Falerno)

An ever-growing portfolio of wines is eloquent evidence of new vineyards and new wines, which testify to the self-confident identity of Campania Felix, ranging from the area of the Ager Falernus, in the province of Caserta, to the provinces of Benevento and Avellino. In 2000, in fact, Villa Matilde inaugurated Tenuta Rocca dei Leoni in the heart of the Sannio zone, near Benevento, and in 2004 Tenuta d’Altavilla in the Irpinia DOCGs, in the province of Avellino, thus giving birth to new wines as well. Villa Matilde concentrates on breed; it does not produce endless lines of wines, but elite wines appreciated by those who understand fine wines, inspired by culture or by personal passion.

Appearing a pale straw yellow, it boasts an intense bouquet of blossoms and fruit, with hints of bananas, tropical fruit, and white peach, followed by a fruit-rich, well-balanced palate.  Overall, this is delicious, crisp, light-bodied wine.


The SetteVulcani Falanghina from

Salvatore Martusciello

is a new comer in this space. Salvatore is from the illustrious Grotta Del Sole family's winery, the first to produce Falanghina in a new modern style in the early 90s.

He just started his own wine adventure producing wines in the DOC regions which his family helped to create such as Gragnano and Campi Flegrei DOC. I have been lucky to meet Salvatore in his new small niche vinery in Quarto, not too far away from my Neapolitan home. He is producing very young and refreshing wine style at this point. The Falanghina is a perfect example of it. With notes of citrus, green apple. Perfect for aperitif or with shellfish or "Insalata di Mare", a typical salad from this area.


However Falanghina is also represented in the Falanghina del Sannio DOC.


It corresponds to the boundaries of Benevento province. The wines are made from 85% Falanghina Beneventata . The wines are smooth, yet pleasantly sustained by crisp acidity with fragrant , fruity aromas and floral notes. They can be made Spumante, vendemmia tariva and passito styles.


Leonardo Mustilli in the 70s selected and propagated Falanghina from old vines from Sant'Agata dei Goti. DNA testing proved that the grape was a different grape from the one from Campi Flegrei.

So if you drink a Falanghina from Sannio and one of Campi Flegrei they are actually different wines, although they carry the same name.



This is a great representation of the new generation of the

Mustilli Wine.

The wine is pale straw in color with green highlights. It shows a persistent aroma of citrus, green apple and tropical fruits. It has a medium body with alcohol in 12.5% abv. It is persistent even after 40-60 sec. The wine is more structured than its counterparts from the Campi Flegrei, with vibrant acidity given the altitude where is grown.


Feudi di San Gregorio


is one of the most modern wineries in the Avellino/Benevento area of Campania. You will be able to see some of the pictures in another blog.

The color is straw yellow containing brilliant green reflections. There are sharp sensations of delicate white flowers and fruit. On the palate, there is freshness and softness.




Mastroberardino

is one of the oldest and most important Wineries in the Campania region. May be one of the most known overseas and especially in USA. You lost likely will find it in any wine store in the East Coast.

Light Straw yellow with green highlights, aromas of citrus, pineapple, tropical fruits and white floral notes. Great persistence. One of the first wines in which the Bernardino Family believed in.


This end the Asprinio and Falanghina Chapter, I hope you enjoyed. So this week exercise is to buy one of the above wine and give me a feedback on it. Lets start a Community of Wine LOvers.








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