We tasted: Falanghina, £11.99, Majestic Wines
Emma says: “An Italian grape this week and one with a name that I think does it a disservice. Pronounced Fal-an-gheena, it really doesn’t have the prettiest of names. It has an aggressive tone which is a sensory turn off for me. Asking for a glass of Gavi or Fiano (other Italian whites) in a wine bar sounds so much more elegant.
I was desperate to find a recent vintage of this grape. So many traditional Italian importers think Falanghina is a grape that tastes just as good in two or three years, but I think it tastes best when fresh from the harvest. It comes from the Southern region of Campania and it doesn’t have naturally high acidity, age can turn it flat and dull.
We found a 2017 vintage and I hope anyone else who is joining us got that too. Andy has for the first time tasted before me, so watch out for his review below, it may be the most honest so far…
Onto my tasting of this wine. I’ll start with the fragrance, whilst this isn’t a naturally aromatic grape I was pleased to find ours had a vibrant expression, a pear compote note with hints of cinnamon spice, almost sweet and tropical but gentle. To taste it has a weight that isn’t typical in Italian whites but makes it nice and smooth. The flavours aren’t pronounced but they are unique in a combination of pear, quince and gentle peppery notes. There is a mineral smoky dimension that also gives it finesse. It has one of those flavour profiles that is difficult to express since it isn’t necessarily fruity there is almost a savoury tang to it. I think that is why this grape is special it is distinct and difficult to compare to other grapes you may have tasted before. And for that reason I would say it is well worth seeking out.
As for food matches, the delicate flavours of this wine mean it shouldn’t go with food that is too powerful. But given its mineral and savoury dimensions it can match up well to food as a complimentary flavour. I think it would be a beautiful match for a plain grilled fish but potentially one for a pasta dish heavy in parmesan or creamy sauce.
PS – I told the guy who served me at Majestic we would be reviewing his wine on this blog and he seemed ever so disinterested – so I’m leaving this calling card to see if we can get him to respond!
Andy Says: “I’m taking a massive risk here, as I’m tasting and writing before Emma for the very first time. I’m about to show myself up.
The first thing to note is that the bottle was incredibly difficult to open. The rim was rounded and didn’t let the corkscrew latch on, so much swearing was done. It took a good few minutes to open, the cork was incredibly stiff.
Battle over and cork discarded, I poured. First thing I noticed was the incredibly pale colour. I decided it was ‘pale straw’, and then looked at the handy Wine Folly colour chart. I’d only gone and nailed it. Woop. High fives all round, except I was home alone, so let out a little sigh instead.
Falanghina is a white grape coming from Campania in the South of Italy. It isn’t really produced anywhere else. So just head to the Italian white section of your local store and see if you can find it.