The Wine Club bottle of the week is the inverse of The Dark Knight. The Wine Society's Falanghina (2020) is an exquisite drop at an unreasonably reasonable price. The UK is being assaulted by mass financial misery and so this is very much the hero we need even if we do not deserve it!
Falanghina gives us a chance to marry the familiar and the unfamiliar, the oft-visited yet the never-tried. This Wednesday we will jet off in our imaginations and travel forward in time to the warm summer evenings that are creeping into view for those of us in the UK. Now that the WNP Wine Club enters its four millionth week (roughly) it is inevitable that we revisit certain countries multiple times but the Wine Club committee are still committed to bringing new and less mainstream grapes and styles to your ever demanding palates. This week exemplifies this as we re-re-re-re-re-re-revisit Italy, a place our cases have ventured so much that we almost qualify for citizenship. However, the Falanghina we shall sup is likely to be something new.
Something of an unknown quantity to your average drinker on the street, this enchanting white grape is much loved amongst those in the know, but there aren't enough in the know! Falanginha's arrival at the club is not the marquee name summer signing the Galactico seekers would welcome: 'We wanted Napa Pinot Noir from PSG or Montrachet Chardonnay from Real Madrid!' they yell in anger to Sky Sports Deadline Day camera team. Fools - this Falanghina promises to bring some much-needed freshness, vibrancy and structure to the Wine Club squad, despite it not costing much and you not having scouted it before. Less Figo and Zidane, more Kante and Mahrez. Not exactly a £200m Neymar or £89m Pogba, but not dissimilar to a £6m Vincent Kompany or £60k Seamus Coleman.
Falanghina is not only crisp and refreshing but it has character in spades – a jinky winger who wears gloves in April but always tracks back and definitely leaves one on the oafish 90s centre half who dares lets him know they're there in the opening 10mins of the game. In less tangential footballing parlance that means: distinct orange peel, tangy clementine, cut cumquat and quince, interesting herbiness and a soupcon of peach. It works well as an aperitif, is light enough for a summer garden lunch, but also matches brilliantly with pasta dishes, crab, mussels, salads and barbecued prawns. Basically, it plays well in any conditions because it's really bloody nice.
Falanghina's homeland is an area that few tourists tend to venture, inland from Naples in the Irpinian hills of Campania, one of Italy's most dynamic and exciting white wine regions. It is 'the' signature white wine grape there, the widest grown of local grapes and recently revived by Campania's producers as it grows so well on the rich, 'tufa' volcanic ash soil, which was blown centuries ago from the Ischia eruption. Like the region it is grown in, Falanghina is often ignored, forgotten and even looked down upon by some. No longer – as Maradona rejuvenated opinions on Naples, so shall the Wine Club raise up high the virtues of this Campanian hero!