Gran Passione Falanghina 2014
A winemaking renaissance is underfoot in Campania as more and more small, artisan and family-run wineries redefine their style with vineyard improvements and cellar upgrades. The region boasts a cool Mediterranean climate with extreme coastal, as well as high elevation mountain terroirs. It is cooler than one might expect in Campania; the region usually sees some of the last harvest dates in Italy.
Just south of Mount Vesuvio, the volcanic and sandy soils create aromatic and fresh reds based on Piedirosso and whites, made from Coda di Volpe and Falanghina. Both reds and whites go by the name, Lacryma Christi, meaning the "tears of Christ." South of Mount Vesuvio, along the Amalfi Coast, the white varieties of Falanghina and Biancolella make fresh, flirty, mineral-driven whites, and the red Piedirosso and Sciasinoso vines, which cling to steeply terraced coastlines, make snappy and ripe red wines.
Farther inland, as hills become mountains, the limestone soil of Irpinia supports the whites Fiano di Avellino, Falanghina and Greco di Tufo as well as the most-respected red of the south, Aglianico. Here the best and most age-worthy examples come from Taurasi.
Farther north and inland near the city of Benevento, the Taburno region also produces Aglianico of note—called Aglianico del Taburno—on alluvial soils. While not boasting the same heft as Taurasi, these are also reliable components of any cellar.
Thriving throughout Campania, Falanghina grows widely throughout the region and plays a key role in many regional blends. Along the slopes of Mount Vesuvius, the local grapes, Verdeca, Coda di Volpe and Greco take well to its addition. On the Amalfi Coast, it is added to Biancolella as well as Greco. Around Avellino, it can be made into single varietal versions. Somm Secret—Thought to be an ancient transplant from Greece, the grape takes its name from the Greek word, phalanga, meaning stake or pole, in reference to the Greek method of training vines to single stakes.