Pronunciation: fa-lahn-GEE-na (That's a hard "G.")
This is probably the white wine that was most ubiquitous in my Ischia-Napoli world. It's what came in carafes as the house wines, and it's what could also be found in an average to fancy bottle. A cold condensation on a hand-painted pitcher of Falanghina next to a hot pizza, screaming of basil, milk, and tomatoes would melt that Summer sun right out the sky.
Living most of the time in Ischia, Falanghina was still the go-to white. I say this because Biancolella and Forastera are the varieties indigenous to the island, but the island just isn't that big. Not big enough to quench the thirsty, fish-eating masses anyway.
So here we are back in Texas, and my heart calls out for the real thing. My DoBianchi brought home a shiny white ball of Mozzarella di Bufala and a bottle of Cantine del Taburno Falanghina, but, alas, I am still searching for an unoaked/unmalo-ed/non-acidified yet certified stateside version. I won't give up. I can survive on the fumes of my memories just a little longer.
Until I find it, don't cry for me Falanghina, the truth is you never left me.
Text below adapted from: Del Canuto, Francesco et al., Il vino italiano, vitigni, enografia, e grastronomia regionale, Associazione Italiana Sommeliers (Bertani & C.), Milano, 2010 (2002), fourth edition.
Alternative Names: Fallanghina, Falanghina verace, Uva Falerna, Falerno Veronese, and Biancuzita
Historical Notes: This grape variety has ancient origins and was probably cultivated in Sannio going back to the Roman Era. The first documentation of this variety, however, is from 1825, even though it was frequently confused with other grapes.
Production Zone: Falanghina is most widely produced in Campania. It finds its best expression in the area of Falerno del Massico, the island of Procida, Campi Flegrei, and Sannio.
Characteristics: average to small leaves that are smooth and wedge-shaped and usually have 3 lobes, sometimes 5, with green veins and red streaks; The clusters are compact and cylindrical with one small wing. The berries are round and covered in bloom. The skins are thick with a yellow-gray hue.
Ripening: second half of September
Wine made from Falanghina has a straw-yellow color, tending toward golden with an intense and fruity nose. It usually has softer acid and a pleasant, persistent finish.