I always love trying unique wine grape varieties. This week I added Falanghina to my list. Falanghina is a white wine that hales from the DOC of Irpinia in Campania, which is in the Southwestern part of Italy. The 2016 Terredora Dipaolo, Corti di Giso, Irpinia DOC, Falanghina had an inviting nose with notes of stone fruit of peach and apricot plus citrus aromas of grapefruit. The palate offered additional notes of honeysuckle and minerals, was not too acidic and had a nice mouthfeel. This dry white wine had a medium body with a finish of around 22 seconds. The cost was around $18 a bottle. I paired it with salmon and yet felt it was not in balance. There are many better white Italian wines for the price. However, I would like to try some other Falanghina’s to compare, and I'd love to travel to Naples to do it!
When my guests visit the Southwest Wine Center, on the Yavapai College Campus in Clarkdale, there is always something exciting instore for them. Besides sampling fabulous wines and getting a tour of the amazing facility, they learn about winemaking techniques and sometimes guests will even get to sample wine grapes! On a tour last week, guests tried the Malvasia Bianca and Carignan wine grapes.
When you sample wine grapes they don’t always taste like the wine, however, Malvasia Bianca is one variety that can taste quite similar to the wine. Pictured on the right is the Malvasia Bianca, one of Arizona’s signature white grapes. It originated in Crete and if quite popular in Italy. It has been used in Chianti and Madera.
Carignan is a red grape found in Italy, Spain and Southern France and known by many names including Mazuelo and Samso and is pictured on the left. It produces full bodied reds, is often used for blending and grows quite well especially in hotter climates. The Carignan from our college vineyard was planted in 2015 and is already producing amazing fruit with a luscious, sweet fruit taste.
I look forward to tasting the wonderful wines that will be produced from these grapes. Starting next year, the College will be offering wines made from 100% estate fruit, meaning they will grow all of the grapes for the wines they produce on the campus.
Last night, my daughter and I decided to have an Old World vs. New World varietal contest. We chose Monastrell vs. Mourvedre. The Monastrell was the Honora-Vera 2016 from Jumilla DOP, Spain and the Mourvedre was the Hart 2015 from Temecula Valley, California. Interesting to note the Old World was 14.5% alcohol and the New World was just 12.8% alcohol. The Honora-Vera had a lovely purple/ruby color which was darker than the Hart. It was fuller bodied, had minerals, green pepper, unsweetened chocolate and dried herbs on the nose with additional flavors of dark cherry and dried cranberry on the palate. The Old world was bush trained in limestone at a 2300 foot elevation with low yields. The finish was longer than the Hart at about 31 seconds.
The Hart had a nice color of Garnet/Mahogany with aromas of berries, cherries, leather, oak and red pepper. The palate had additional cherry, mocha, oak and tannins. It was VSP trained and was medium bodied. Both had some earthy notes while the Hart was much more fruit forward.
We paired the wines with brisket, rice noodles and steamed broccoli. The Honora-Vera was an excellent, complementary, pairing for the brisket, while the Hart was too fruit forward and oaky for the pairing. Though in the case the Old World wine was higher in alcohol, it still was the better choice for food. In my studies, I frequently find the Old World wines complement food, while the new world wines are better drunk on their own.
I was hoping to have my contest with one of our delicious Arizona Mourvedres, but alas, in my wine storage, they were all drunk! This Old World- New World contest was a blast and I look forward to doing it again soon.
Sue Schurgin is the manager of Sedona Wine and Beer Tours. She is studying for her CSW and sommelier certifications.