Falanghina Fan Club

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Kent Comley
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Falanghina Fan Club

#1 Post by Kent Comley » November 29th, 2019, 8:51 pm

I had never had a Falanghina until Wednesday night at a little local Italian restaurant that we regularly frequent in Adelaide. They always have a tight, Italian focussed list. It was a warm day so I asked for a white recommendation. What are you looking for enquired the twenty something English waitress. Something briny, mineral and textural I responded. Ah yes you must try this .....

2018 Fontanavecchia Falanghina Del Sannio (Campania, Italy)

Some spicy notes, some more exotic honeysuckle, lanolin inflections, but there's an underlying briny, oyster shell note. It's linear, taut and just a great drink. So good that I ordered another bottle the following night.

Out for luch the next day I spied another Falanghina, this time from 2016. I was catching up with an old mate, so didn't take particular notice of the producer, but it was similarly excellent. A little more weight but similarly crunchy and mineral.
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David K o l i n
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#2 Post by David K o l i n » November 29th, 2019, 9:01 pm

Charter member here

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#3 Post by Rory K. » November 29th, 2019, 9:08 pm

Falanghina, Fiano, Greco di Tufo, Southern Italian whites are fun
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#4 Post by Kent Comley » November 29th, 2019, 9:52 pm

Have always enjoyed Fiano, and do drink them quite frequently, but wondering how Falanghina has eluded me for so long.

Good job David, will you propose me for membership??
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#5 Post by Robert Pavlovich » November 29th, 2019, 10:02 pm

Had a nice one recently at Il Forno Caffe in Santa Monica, a Macchialupa Beneventano...not at an expensive wine at all, but very refreshing and delicious. Makes me want to try some of the better examples.

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#6 Post by Scott Watkins » November 30th, 2019, 3:54 am

Robert Pavlovich wrote:
November 29th, 2019, 10:02 pm
Had a nice one recently at Il Forno Caffe in Santa Monica, a Macchialupa Beneventano...not at an expensive wine at all, but very refreshing and delicious. Makes me want to try some of the better examples.
Do they make expensive ones? Yeah I have enjoyed them for years.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#7 Post by marc d » November 30th, 2019, 6:04 am

I have been drinking the recent released 18 Arnot Roberts Falanghina from a vineyard in the Dry Creek Valley. It’s a salty minerally wine that has decent bright acidity with some fruit, fair amount of dry extract and California sunshine with the typical AR light touch. Would recommend this to everyone but especially for fans of the grape.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#8 Post by Ken Zinns » November 30th, 2019, 6:43 am

Made a 2018 Falanghina (20% skin-fermented) at Harrington that turned out very well. Fruit was from San Benito County. We also used to make Fiano, including a no-added-sulfur bottling, but haven't done that in 5-6 years.

I've had some really nice Falanghina from Giornata in Paso Robles in the past few years, including one that I believe was made entirely in amphora.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#9 Post by Matthew King » November 30th, 2019, 9:06 am

My wife loves the wine.

I love saying the name.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#10 Post by GregT » November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm

Kent - you had two and you're founding a fan club?

Easily influenced are we??

Anyhow, I like the stuff. As with most of those ancient grapes, there are a few clones. One is the Flegrei and I can't remember the name of the other, and I think there are a few more. It was almost extinct except for a small region in Campania, so there's not a lot of it and it only really started coming back in the 1990s so there's no real history to give it any cachet. That means it's usually pretty cheap and the quality/price ratio is fantastic. Generally they have a kind of waxy/lanolin quality with a bitter citrus kind of finish, and most are made pretty much bone dry but are really low in alcohol, often coming in under 12%.

Some say it was brought from Greece and it is the grape that was used to make the famous Roman wine Falernum, and since it's often called Falanghina Greco that may be, but I don't think anyone really knows for certain. The only thing that is certain is that what they were drinking was nothing at all like those made today. One reason is that today they're usually done in stainless steel, which didn't exist then.

Had that one with Robert at Il Forno. We have a really cheap one that we drink with friends, it's put out by a co-op and made in a prosecco style. In fact, a number of people are doing it in a prosecco style and it lends itself to that quite well. That means that the bubbles aren't produced in the bottle like Champagne, they're done under pressure before bottling. A few still versions we've had recently that come to mind are Mustilli, Mastroberardino, Feudi di San Gregorio as mentioned, Sorrentino, Fontanavecchia, and La Sibilla. Most of those producers do more than one. I haven't had every iteration from every one of them but those I had are pretty good.

And a couple people were trying it out in CA. Wrath did one that was pretty nice. I haven't tried Giornata's but want to. It's a nice grape and I'll generally take that over something like Chardonnay or even Riesling, which I'm not always in the mood for.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#11 Post by Denny Marin » November 30th, 2019, 12:53 pm

Arnot Roberts just produced their first bottling of Falanghina. Picked some up to see how closely, or not, is resembles it's Italian cousin, so to speak. They are the first US winery I've ever seen produce a single varietal Falanghina wine. Eager to taste and compare.

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#12 Post by Ken Zinns » November 30th, 2019, 1:24 pm

Denny Marin wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:53 pm
Arnot Roberts just produced their first bottling of Falanghina. Picked some up to see how closely, or not, is resembles it's Italian cousin, so to speak. They are the first US winery I've ever seen produce a single varietal Falanghina wine. Eager to taste and compare.
As mentioned above, there have been a number of varietal Falanghina wines produced in California, and Arnot Roberts was not the first. Giornata, Harrington, Wrath, Montoliva, Castoro, Cougar, and I believe a handful of others have produced varietally-labeled Falanghina. Falanghina was approved by the TTB for use on American wine labels about five years ago.

FWIW, Eric Asimov wrote about Falanghina in the NY Times a few years ago:
Tapping Into the Potential of Falanghina
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#13 Post by Wes Barton » November 30th, 2019, 2:31 pm

GregT wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm
The only thing that is certain is that what they were drinking was nothing at all like those made today. One reason is that today they're usually done in stainless steel, which didn't exist then.
As Ken mentioned, ours was about 20% skin fermented. That was sort of out of necessity. It's a late ripener and a couple people backed out on our grower, who'd grafted it for us, so we ended up with a lot more than expected. We didn't have enough room for all of it in stainless, but were set to press in a few days, which would make room, so I suggested starting that last portion on its skins until there was room. But, it was so amazing Bryan just kept it going.....and going. The rich golden fruit and spice aromatics were incredible! He ultimately stretched it out a little far to see where it'd go (maybe 3 weeks open top), but it was still excellent and blended well with the rest. If any white grape was made for skin contact, this is it.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#14 Post by Kent Comley » November 30th, 2019, 4:13 pm

Interesting and illuminating discussion.
Great that it is being grown in teh States and also a good article from Asimov, although he does not sound 100% convinced with the variety.

And yes Greg i am impressionable - I joined the DRC fan club after one taste :)
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#15 Post by Oliver McCrum » December 2nd, 2019, 12:32 pm

There are two entirely different varieties grown in Campania under the name Falanghina, which explains some of the confusion about what it's supposed to taste like. I think that the one from inland, the Falanghina Beneventana, has enormous potential, but there aren't yet many well-made examples (which explains Asimov's article, I think). The variety has terrific distinctive mineral character; my Fiano producer likes it so much that he leased a vineyard near Benevento so he could start making it, and he already makes both Fiano and Greco.

Count me into the club, in other words.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#16 Post by GregT » December 2nd, 2019, 2:49 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 2:31 pm
GregT wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm
The only thing that is certain is that what they were drinking was nothing at all like those made today. One reason is that today they're usually done in stainless steel, which didn't exist then.
As Ken mentioned, ours was about 20% skin fermented. That was sort of out of necessity. It's a late ripener and a couple people backed out on our grower, who'd grafted it for us, so we ended up with a lot more than expected. We didn't have enough room for all of it in stainless, but were set to press in a few days, which would make room, so I suggested starting that last portion on its skins until there was room. But, it was so amazing Bryan just kept it going.....and going. The rich golden fruit and spice aromatics were incredible! He ultimately stretched it out a little far to see where it'd go (maybe 3 weeks open top), but it was still excellent and blended well with the rest. If any white grape was made for skin contact, this is it.
Brilliant Wes. More reason to bemoan the loss of Harrington wines!
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#17 Post by Wes Barton » December 2nd, 2019, 5:14 pm

GregT wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 2:49 pm
Wes Barton wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 2:31 pm
GregT wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 12:22 pm
The only thing that is certain is that what they were drinking was nothing at all like those made today. One reason is that today they're usually done in stainless steel, which didn't exist then.
As Ken mentioned, ours was about 20% skin fermented. That was sort of out of necessity. It's a late ripener and a couple people backed out on our grower, who'd grafted it for us, so we ended up with a lot more than expected. We didn't have enough room for all of it in stainless, but were set to press in a few days, which would make room, so I suggested starting that last portion on its skins until there was room. But, it was so amazing Bryan just kept it going.....and going. The rich golden fruit and spice aromatics were incredible! He ultimately stretched it out a little far to see where it'd go (maybe 3 weeks open top), but it was still excellent and blended well with the rest. If any white grape was made for skin contact, this is it.
Brilliant Wes. More reason to bemoan the loss of Harrington wines!
Bryan did a lot of work steering our sources to the right winemakers, so we'll see... Our former tenant, Casey of CB Wines, was one of a few who took over that Falanghina. Ken and I helped him crush it this year (he moved to August West), where he gave the whole lot 3 days skin contact.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#18 Post by Kent Comley » January 7th, 2020, 1:37 pm

Managed to track down an Australian example of the variety. Grown in the very warm Griffith region, in the irrigated Riverina.
2018 Chalmers Project Falanghina
This has that delicious salty mineral twang with good acidity. It is quite rich with a slightly oily edge, yet somehow retains a coolness and clarity. Very good, at the riper end of the spectrum.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#19 Post by Sean_S » January 7th, 2020, 8:47 pm

Wes Barton wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 5:14 pm
GregT wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 2:49 pm
Wes Barton wrote:
November 30th, 2019, 2:31 pm


As Ken mentioned, ours was about 20% skin fermented. That was sort of out of necessity. It's a late ripener and a couple people backed out on our grower, who'd grafted it for us, so we ended up with a lot more than expected. We didn't have enough room for all of it in stainless, but were set to press in a few days, which would make room, so I suggested starting that last portion on its skins until there was room. But, it was so amazing Bryan just kept it going.....and going. The rich golden fruit and spice aromatics were incredible! He ultimately stretched it out a little far to see where it'd go (maybe 3 weeks open top), but it was still excellent and blended well with the rest. If any white grape was made for skin contact, this is it.
Brilliant Wes. More reason to bemoan the loss of Harrington wines!
Bryan did a lot of work steering our sources to the right winemakers, so we'll see... Our former tenant, Casey of CB Wines, was one of a few who took over that Falanghina. Ken and I helped him crush it this year (he moved to August West), where he gave the whole lot 3 days skin contact.
Very much looking forward to Casey's version. The fruit certainly looked nice when we were sorting it. I'm very glad I have more than a few of the Harrington in my cellar to enjoy. Once my credit card stops smoking from Christmas might need to pick up some more from Brian

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#20 Post by Everett Bandman » January 8th, 2020, 3:41 am

The one made by Arnot Roberts is fabulous. Very interesting white varietal when made in a lean crisp way.

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#21 Post by SteveBrown » January 8th, 2020, 4:24 pm

Clime Wines makes both still and sparkling (Pet-Nat) Falanghina wines with grapes sourced from the Viani Vineyard in El Dorado County. I grabbed a few bottles of each after tasting the Arnot Roberts bottling at their pickup party and only finding a single bottle left when I finally made it over to buy some, haven't opened one yet. There's a short writeup on Clime by Esther Mobley here: Winemakers to Watch
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#22 Post by Fred Bower » January 9th, 2020, 10:11 am

Greco is my first preference of the three Rory mentions. Falanghina next, then Fiano, which I always find to be fruitier and simpler to my palate. All three are regular summer sips at my table.

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#23 Post by TomHill » January 9th, 2020, 11:14 am

Everett Bandman wrote:
January 8th, 2020, 3:41 am
The one made by Arnot Roberts is fabulous. Very interesting white varietal when made in a lean crisp way.
Good to see you in this little corner of CyberSpace again, Everett. Haven't seen you around for some time. Hope things are OK with you?

I thought the A-R Falanghina was varietally correct, I found it, like many of the A-R whites, on the lean & eviscerated side, a bit too
severe on the palate for me. I much preferred BryanHarrington's Falanghina because it had more richness and impact on the palate.
Just a bit more interesting.
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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#24 Post by Everett Bandman » January 9th, 2020, 1:59 pm

Tom, Been great and traveling quite a bit. Yes, we have different palate preferences I know from reading your notes. I'm definitely an old world guy when it comes to whites, loving muscadet and vermentino probably the most. I think we both do enjoy Tablas Creek's wines though. Going to France in March for a 3 week tour which will include visiting to lots of my favorite wineries in the Loire, Beaujolais, and the N. and S. Rhone. I live in Novato (Northern Marin County) now, having moved from Davis, 2 years ago. If you're ever in the SF Bay Area let me know and we will find something in my cellar that we'd enjoy I'm sure. Arlene and I are going to be in your neck of the woods visiting the Pueblos near Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Mesa Verde area in May and we have some free time from May 11-15. I've never been to Los Alamos.
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May Visit..

#25 Post by TomHill » January 9th, 2020, 3:12 pm

Everett,
By all means get in touch in May. I frequently give personal tours to visitors of our Bradbury Science Museum, one of the best Science museums in the Nation. Have lots of stories to tell about the exhibits..some of which are even true!!
Tom

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#26 Post by Nathan Smyth » January 9th, 2020, 7:22 pm

If you don't have Pierce's Disease in the neighborhood, then Falanghina will grow like an invasive weed.

But once the Leaf Hoppers move to town, your Falanghina will be dead as a doornail in 10 days to two weeks.

FUN TRIVIA: Falanghina 01.2 was donated to Foundation Plant Servics and the Germplasm Repository by Carlo Mastroberardino.

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Re: Falanghina Fan Club

#27 Post by Nathan Smyth » January 9th, 2020, 7:27 pm

I have just about zero experience with Italian cultivars from California, but my two best wines in 2019 were a sparkling Ribolla Gialla from Slovenia and a [still] Verdicchio di Metalica [from Italy].

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