Friday Sips

Italian Wines - Camping in Campania
Today January 17 from 1:30 - 6:30
We never camp unless there is wine involved! This week we are throwing down with two outstanding reds and whites from Italy’s Campania region. Surrounding Naples, this area is home to an abundance of excitement and flavor. If you love Italy’s wines then come and enjoy a thrilling experience from outside the normalcy of Tuscany and Piedmont.

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$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

The white wines from Campania are some of Italy's finest and possess character not found virtually anywhere else on the sunny peninsula. One of Southern Italy's great names is Villa Matilde and they are especially known for their wines from just outside of Naples. The historic Falanghina grape, which was first recorded almost two hundred years ago in 1825, makes its home in the vineyards of Benevento just outside of Naples. The name Falanghina derives from the latin word ‘phalange', meaning ‘supported by stakes'.

The first word that came to mind when I put this wine made from the Falanghina grape to my nose was, "fresh" and that resonated throughout the whole experience, from start to finish. Gentle, alive and complex aromas of freshly peeled mandarin, anisette, sheer earth and delicate white flower billow out from the glass. Intense and incredibly nervy in the mouth with a great contrast of melon, blood orange and white spice enhances the ravishing mouthfeel. We love unoaked white wines and while this white is Southern Italian, it possesses the minerality and complex flavors found in fine, purely styled whites from the world over. Have it with spicy, tomato-based seafood dishes or grilled swordfish with a salmoriglio sauce.

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$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Greco is the oldest grape varietal of Campania and one of Italy's oldest. Originally imported from the Greek region of Thessaly some 2500 years ago. Regarded as one of Italy's finest white wine grapes, Greco, especially from the Tufo has gained renown for its refined, complex characteristics and Villa Matilde's version is the money.

The transparency of the vineyard's exposed stony soil is immediately evident with jaunting, energetic minerality. Peach, Meyer lemon, honeysuckle, thyme and saline seep up from the glass and excite the olfactory senses. Brilliant clarity and briskness surround a sultry, silky texture that seemingly covers the entire palate. Coats, cleanses, cuts back and then scores! Oceanic flavors arrive on the finish that is poised and seemingly everlasting. Grand Cru Greco?! I see a bowl of piping hot pasta with clams, scallops and calamari dressed in olive oil and lemon in our future.

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$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

Not to be outdone by the delicious white wines, Villa Matilde also produces excellent red wines. For both red and white, Villa Matilde has bottling their own wines since the 1960s and they consistently turn out some of the best bang for the buck wines in Southern Italy's Campania region.

The red wine selection here is their ultra-delicious Aglianico. I often equate this grape as being akin to Southern Italian Nebbiolo even though it truly is its own beast. Aged partially in stainless steel, followed by some time in large Slavonian botti, this wine is honest, soulful and never loses its natural beauty. Defying its color, this full wine conjures up wild berry scents that are finely enhanced by undertones of tealeaf, sanguine and chocolate licorice. Bold and firm, this wine is a great introduction to the racy Aglianico grape. Immediately it lets one know that it is a wine for food, not for cocktail-style sipping. Enjoy over the next 2-3 years with sausage-mushroom pizza, slow-roasted lamb or a spicy-tomato pasta dish. Pair with eggplant parmesan or a roasted pork loin done Alla Napoli with tomatoes, garlic, rosemary and green olives.

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$26.99 BTL./$323.88 CASE

Sometimes letting folks in on secrets is a good thing, but there are moments when it backfires on you. Take for instance, the automobile. In the early part of the twentieth century, the world should have never let the Italians in on the secret of the car and driving. Don't think I am a hater, but have you ever experienced driving in Naples? Minchia! Now when it comes to wine regions the Italians hold many great secrets and the Aglianico grape of Campania is one of them and this is where I am no longer a hater, but instead a congratulator! Pietracupa is a young estate based just outside of Avellino and smack dab in the renowned Taurasi region. This wine could easily be known as Taurasi, Jr. with its nuance and character that is a significant step up from the everyday version from Villa Matilde.

Tar, mineral, smoky strawberry licorice and dried flowers, this is not for those who like ‘em ripe, sweet and fruity, this is as old-school and food friendly as it gets. The texture is well formed, tangy, dry and semi-spicy with a fine and savory finish. Not one to sit around and sip as a cocktail, it is perfect to drink now and over the next 8-10 years with roasted meats with tomatoes or a spicy pasta dish. It is amazing how this wine can cut into chili flakes. WOW!

Canalicchio di Franco Pacenti with Special Guest Lorenzo Pacenti
Friday Jan. 31 from 3:30 – 6:00
Two weeks from today!
A special Friday tasting with a perennial favorite and upper echelon producer from Montalcino. Drop by to meet and taste with Lorenzo Pacenti as we highlight three wines from his vaunted Brunello di Montalcino estate.
*2016 Canalicchio Rosso di Montalcino
*2015 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino
*2014 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino
*2012 Canalicchio Brunello di Montalcino Riserva