Wine Review: 2008 Terredora di Paolo Falanghina

21 Oct

Taking you into my world of wine with this one.  Similar to my experience with sushi, my enjoyment of wine has only thus far been a 3 or 4 year infatuation, but in that time I’ve not only likened my palette  to the taste, but also become fascinated with the sub-culture surrounding – as simple as it seems – squeezed grapes.  Working in restaurants definitely enhances your knowledge of wine because you’ve got to understand what you’re selling to your guests.  If you can’t explain how a wine tastes or what it tastes best with, then how are you supposed to sell it?

That brings me to the wine I tried tonight, a 2008 Falanghina from Terredora di Paolo.

Tonight’s Wine

Stats

Winery: Terredora di Paolo

Varietal: Falanghina

Vintage: 2008

Region: Irpinia, Campania, South Italy

Tasting Notes

Color: Medium Gold

Nose: Fleshy fruits like apples and pears, stone fruit, a hint of banana (when you saute or fry a banana and you get that crisp, sweet, banana smell)

Palette: Medium-bodied; very fruity, though not very sweet; apples, pears, pineapples; a hint of lemon zest; rich minerality

Finish: Cool, crisp, and short finish; Very refreshing

Food Pairing: Light seafood; sushi and sashimi; chicken dishes dressed in garlic and olive oil, light vinaigrettes, lemon dressings

I would give this wine a B-.  This is only the third falanghina that I have ever drank and it was quite delightful; I liked it more than the first two that I had experienced.  I think the best part of this wine was its accessibility.  For those of you who don’t know about the falanghina varietal, it is very similar to pinot grigio, but a little more fuller-bodied and richer in terms of both acidity and fruitiness.  I’m not a huge pinot grigio fan, so I don’t drink it very often, but if I do, I usually drink it with food.  I don’t like to sip pinot grigio on its own.  This falanghina was different from most pinot grigios and the other falanghinas that I have tried before in that it was more accessible, or easy to sip.  I had a glass with my dinner and am still sipping the wine after the dinner is finished.  It is very rare that I enjoy sipping white wine.  Riesling is the exception, usually, for me – I could drink bottles of that; it is, without a doubt, my favorite white wine.

I think the best part of the Terredora di Paolo is its balance.  The fruity nose is accentuated with the first taste of the wine – more layers of rich fruit hit you right off the bat.  The middle has just a tinge of zing, which is from the acidity of the wine.  That only lasts a second, though, before a cool, crisp finish sets in and you just want to say ‘ahhh.’  It is well balanced – the acidity and fruit play off each other in a deliciously complimentary manner.

I gave this wine a B- grade because I’m not a huge fan of the falanghina varietal.  I like it, that is for sure.  But I don’t love it.  I don’t know if the best falanghina in the world could be an A or A- for me – I don’t think it would even be possible.  When I drink white wine I prefer sweeter wines, and that is why riesling is my favorite.  The acidity of this wine was certainly refreshing, but did not make for my ideal tasting wine.

A Quick Note About The Varietal

The falanghina varietal is grown, as noted, in southern Italy in the region of Campania.  Campania is home to the famous Italian city of Naples.  While falanghina is native to Campania, there are variations in taste and structure depending on where the grapes were grown and harvested within the region.  This grapes harvested for this particular wine were grown in a town called Irpinia, which is located in the Apennine Mountains roughly 25 miles from Naples.  The soil in Irpinia is mostly limestone-based, which is a key contributor to the acidity of grapes and the ensuing wines.  The most interesting tidbit about both the falanghina varietal and the region of Campania is that is has been made for thousands of years.  It is noted that during the Roman Empire falanghina wines were often enjoyed.

Price: $17

Recommendation

This was, as stated, the best falanghina that I have tried.  I’m not a huge pinot grigio drinker, but if you like that varietal, you should certainly try the falanghina, and this is a perfect one to try.  The price point is reasonable and doesn’t provide a barrier to entry in terms of trying.  The worst that happens is that you spend $17 on a fairly good, fruity, acidic wine that will go well with your next homemade seafood dish.

The Winery at Terredora di Paolo

The Rolling Hills and Vineyards in Irpinia

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