Friday, July 21, 2006

T.G.I.F. ~ Thank God It's Falanghina

Global Warming circa 79 A.D. ~ Pompeii

It’s still summer and it’s still hot here in the southwest. Just recently read that we in the southwest use more energy to stay cool in the summer than folks in the most northern parts use in the winter to keep warm. So here might be a remedy a, convenient way to handle the inconvenient truth of the hot spots on this warbled orb.

For several thousands of years, the farmers in Campania have been working this grape, what we know as Falanghina. Thanks to the diligence of those folks, and their respect for things local, we now can seek a remedy for the blazing sun. Last year I made a visit to the area and to the Terredora di Paolo winery, owned by the landholding side of the Mastroberardino family. Before it was part of the Roman Empire, it was part of Magna Graecia, ancient Greece, and all along the way you can see signs of the pagan cult of the goddess as is now interpreted by Christianity. Hera becomes Maria. Strong women. This is also an area where the ancient Romans would spend their summers, for it was up in the inland highlands and is cooler than most spots in Italy. Go to the weather map on this blog and see for yourself. On the right hand side are two boxes, one showing the hottest spots and the other showing the coolest spots in Italy. Often, Avellino is cooler than northern Italy.

Known as the Switzerland of the south, here is where these grapes live life as we can only dream about, at this time. The Falanghina grape thrives around this region and now we are seeing a resurgence of this variety on wine labels.

Ancient writings pegged this grape as the fabled Falernum, but I’m not so sure. The ancient Falernum was red. Or was it more like a maderized white, in the vein of a Marsala? I am asking.

I also liked the name and where it came from. One Italian friend told me it was related to what we know now as the word phalanx. His version, it seems, had the Roman army going from teat to Falanghina, thereby fortifying the troups and securing the future of the Empire. Ok, tastes great, let's go a conquering!

Today we are seeing indigenous grapes coming back into the fold, like heirloom varieties of other fruits and vegetables. This gives one an easy opportunity to experience a sense of place, the terroir, of a region like Campania. Very nice.

The Terredora Falanghina Irpinia D.O.C. is cultivated at altitudes of 1350 feet. on land made fertile by volcanic and seismic activity. Shake, rattle and roll, ring of fire and all that jazz.

On the palate, it is crisp and slightly forest pine-like. Simple and clean, bone dry with healthy freshness.

This isn’t Greco di Tufo , this isn’t Fiano di Avellino, the two more famous sibling whites. This is these two wines on training wheels, but it is a real wine and in this inferno, a real cool gift from the goddess. Ave Maria!


Terredora di Paolo


Travel Italy said...

Falanghina per pocchi, per intenditori!

Alfonso Cevola said...

senza dubbio!

Tracie P. said...

where i come from, that's called a-preechin' tatha choir :)

Alfonso Cevola said...

wale, ah sa hopeins dat be music ta yah eyahs, sistah!

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord, bother!

Real Time Analytics