Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Two tasty wines from Campania

I recently attended an Italian cooking class organized by one of my friends for which I had volunteered to bring some wine. Based on my recent improved knowledge of Italian wines, I selected a couple of bottles from Campania, to be tasted at lunchtime with the result of our cooking session. Campania is a region that is currently experiencing a winemaking renaissance and is producing an increasing number of exciting — and still reasonably priced — wines made from unusual native grape varieties.

The white wine was made from Falanghina grapes grown in the Pompeii area. Falanghina is an ancient varietal that has been recently rediscovered as it can produce wines with high acidity and good aging potential. The 2003 Sannino Falanghina Pompeiana had a golden color and a delicate nose of white peach and honey. On the palate, it was round and mouthfeeling with a fresh, lively acidity. The wine was delicious with our Caponata, a full-flavored eggplant-based Sicilian appetizer.

The red wine was made from Aglianico grapes grown in the mountainous province of Beneventano. Aglianico is considered to be the greatest red grape of the South as it can produce tannic and dense wines suitable for long ageing. The 2003 Sannino Aglianico Beneventano had a bright red color with a peppery nose of blackberries. On the palate, it was medium-bodied with a soft texture, followed by a lively finish and an aftertaste of cocoa powder. Not the tannic and dense kind but it was very tasty with the other dish we made, a wonderful stuffed veal dish called Cima.

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