Falanghina (of which there exist at least three varieties and still more biotypes) is a white wine grape native to Italy where it is considered among the oldest varieties in the Campania region.

The name: From the Latin falangae; it was thought that the poles used in the vineyards to support ancient Falanghina vines looked like a phalanx, a military formation of Roman soldiers. Thus Falanghina literally means vines supported by poles.

Two Falanghinas: Currently, two genetically distinct Falanghinas have been identified, Flegrea and Beneventana, yielding two distinctly different wines. Flegrea offers a firm structure and higher alcohol, while Beneventana’s floral nuances are more prominent. However these two are often comingled in vineyards, resulting in wines that exhibit a combination of these characteristics. A possible third biotype is under study, and researchers believe there are yet more to be discovered.

Specific styles: Normally dry and still, although some producers are experimenting with sparkling styles; both 100% varietal wines and blends.

Where grown in ItalyCampania: Beneventano IGP. | Campi Flegrei DOC Bianco. | Capri DOC. | Costa d’Amalfi DOC. | Falanghina del Sannio DOC. | Falerno del Massico DOC. | Vesuvio DOC. | Elsewhere: Plantings are also found in Molise, Lazio and Puglia.

Wine style: Very variable depending upon site, producer, and biotype. Medium lemon colour. Bright (high) acidity, floral aromas and sometimes a pungent leafy green note. On the palate, stone fruits such as peach and apricot combine with a characteristic yellow apple note to yield wines that are full of flavour and with palpable texture. In the best examples the fruit and floral components are backed by a distinct mineral streak.

Bibliography

See Ian D’Agata, Native Wine Grapes of Italy (University of California Press, 2014).

Italian Wine Unplugged (Positive Press, 2017), p.100-101.