Simon’s Wine of the Week is Montecalvo Falanghina
This week we’re taking a trip down to one of Italy’s slightly lesser-known regions, Campania. I say ‘lesser-known’, they’re certainly famous in Italy, and grace many a dining table in their native country, they’ve just never really got the fame they deserved over here. Which is a real shame as I am a huge, huge fan of the region’s wines.
Campania makes up the ‘shin’ of Italy and is very popular as a tourist destination. If you’ve ever sunned yourself on the Amalfi Coast, wandered around the ancient streets of Pompeii, climbed Vesuvius, or eaten a pizza in Naples, you’ve been to Campania.
It has a long and rich tradition of winemaking starting way back in the 12th Century BCE, but it was the Romans who took it to new levels. Their most coveted wine, Falerno, came from Campania, a wine so illustrious it was written about by none other than Pliny the Elder, Marcus Aurelius, and Horace. That’s not a bad trio of recommendation.
These days their wines might not quite have the same level of literary supporters, but the wines can speak for themselves. Big bold reds like Aglianico sit alongside complex fruity whites like Greco di Tufo and Lacryma Christi.
This week’s wine is made from the Falanghina grape, the grape that is reputed to be the one responsible for the Roman Falerno wine. It is only really planted in this part of the world, with the best planted on the rich volcanic soils of the region.
It’s a brand-new wine for us and I only tasted it last week so I’m really excited to start trying it with some customers. It’s a superbly fresh style of wine with the emphasis on clean fruit and crisp acidity. There are touches of tropical fruit on the nose that are supported by lemon zest and white flower. The palate is dry but very zesty, with tangy pineapple, red apple, orange peel and just the merest dusting of sweet spice.
It's one of Italy’s loveliest white wines and should be on every Italian restaurant’s wine list, but would fit perfectly as a mid-priced white to add interest and depth to any menu. Try this with creamy pasta, gnocchi and spinach, or one of my favourite pasta dishes, spaghetti alle vongole.
Have a great week all,