Meet Falanghina (say it: Fall-an-GHEE-nuh), one of the oldest white grape varieties in Italy! It’s believed that Greek settlers brought this variety with them to the Campi Flegrei area (near modern-day Naples) as far back as the 7th century BCE. Falanghina may have been the grape variety that made up the ancient white wine Falernum, one of the most renowned wines of the Roman Empire.
Falanghina is from the Campania region and for the most part strictly produced there. That being said you might find examples from the regions of Puglia or Abbruzzo as well.
Also Known As: “Falanghina flegrea”, “Falanghina beneventana”. “Falanghina Greco”, and actually quite a few other variations that you probably won’t ever need to know!
- Color: Wines can range from a pale straw yellow to a bit more golden.
- Nose: citrus, lemon, citrus blossom, banana, pineapple, stone fruit (peach), pear, hints of pine, honey and dried fruit (if aged a bit)
- On the Palate: refreshingly high acidity, apple, pear, citrus-lemon, mineral, spicy notes, almond aftertaste (as is common with white Italian grape varieties)
- Other Notes: Falanghina can be found as a single varietal wine (in other words a grape solo act-being the only grape in bottle) or as part of a blend. You can find Falanghina wines classified as either DOC (Denominazione di origine controllata – protected designation of origin), DOCG (Denominazione di origine controllata e Garantita- protected and guaranteed designation of origin), or IGT (Indicazione geografica tipica – Indication of geographic area of origin)
Costs: $-$$, Usually in the low to medium price range.
Who it’s good for: People who enjoy unoaked and mineral-driven whites. It can be higher in alcohol – 13%+, so you might want to eat with it. It’s high in acidity which makes it refreshing, and easy to pair with a variety of foods. This is a good alternative for Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, dry Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.
Food pairing ideas: I’d suggest things like rice-based dishes, risottos, fried appetizers or fish, pizza, seafood, pastas with citrus-based or cream-based sauces, nothing too sweet and nothing terribly heavy (ie: probably not a heavy Ragu’ sauce and nothing sugary-sweet like ice cream or tiramisu).