As we fully welcome the warm embrace of spring, the idea of enjoying a refreshing glass of Italian white wine in the warm sun becomes more appealing.
Of course, those who want to explore as much of what Italian wine has to offer as possible know that this presents something of a challenge.
With thousands of options available to you, how do you find the perfect white wine for the season?
We won’t claim to have a definitive answer.
After all, the perfect wine for one person may not be perfect for another. Aspects of personal taste and preference come into play in any wine lover’s decision-making.
But what we can do is recommend a wine that our team has fallen in love with.
This gorgeous Italian white wine hails from the Campania region and carries the DOC Sannio Falanghina certification. It is also not anywhere near as well known as we believe it should be, which is why we have chosen to spotlight it today.
That wine is the Fontanavecchia Taburno Falanghina del Sannio 2020.
But before we tell you why it is the perfect wine for those warm spring days, we’ve like the explore the story of the remarkable company that produced it.
Fontanavecchia makes the bold claim on its website that telling the story of the company is much like telling the story of Terrecuso and its people.
However, delving into the history of the people behind the company, it is difficult to dispute this claim. In fact, registers from the region show us that as far back as 160 years ago, the winegrowers of the Rillo family were considered the best that the region had to offer. As you may have already guessed, this is the very family that forms the backbone of Fontanavecchia. In fact, some go so far as to call this family the guardians of the ancient winemaking city of Benevento. And while this again may seem like a large claim, there is no denying that the Rillo family have done more than most to put their little-known region on the map.
Perhaps the group’s most important work comes in publicising too little known Italian wine grapes – Falanghina del Sannio and Aglianico del Taburno. Both are native to the region the company calls home, with neither being the first to come to mind when you think of the great Italian white wines.
Regardless, Fontanavecchia has dedicated itself to exploring these grapes like few others, making them instrumental in ensuring these precious grapes have come back into fashion with their full potential realised.
While the wine we’ll review shortly is certainly a product of the Campania region, Fontanavecchia takes great pride in being representatives of Samnium. The company’s story is one of patient work dedicated to a single, unwavering goal:
Quality beyond all measures using the region’s native grapes.
To ensure these high quality standards are met, the company dedicates enormous amounts of time to refining every aspect of production. From the picking of the grapes, which ensures that only the best make it into the wines, through to the processes using in bottling, passion and an eye for detail are key. This has allowed every vintage the company produces to become a true reflection of both the land it comes from and the dedication of the Rillo family.
This dedication to quality is also reflected in the management style of the Rillo family.
It would be all too easy for the family to focus on a single vintage in an effort to lend more prestige to the winery’s name. However, the family is just as concerned with its younger wines as it is with the ones that helped it to build its reputation.
This shows us a dedication to continued innovation alongside a respect for traditions and history. Fontanavecchia is not a company that is content to reap the rewards of its labours and then remain still. The passion of the Rillo family drives the company forward, leading to continued experimentation with new ideas that lead to the production of remarkable vintages that are both complex and infinitely accessible.
And this brings us nicely to the wine that we would like to look at today.
This wine is a perfect representation of the Falanghina del Sannio grape mentioned earlier, as it is made using that grape and nothing else. And to us, it’s a stunning Italian white wine that we hope more people will discover for themselves.
What makes the Fontanavecchia Taburno Falanghina del Sannio 2020 so special?
From the moment it’s poured, you will see that this is a wine that has great ageing potential. While beautiful in its younger state, the wine does have small hints of green colouring that show it has the capacity to age further. Another 5 to 10 years in the cellar will do wonders for helping it to realise its full potential.
And that potential would be mind-blowing because the wine as it is today is truly remarkable.
Upon pouring, you will immediately notice the dominant fruity notes that are present in all great Italian white wines. But what’s most interesting here are the subtler notes that hint at a greater level of complexity. Look below the surface and you will find scents of wildflower and fresh grass, which lend the wine both floral and earthy characteristics to complement its sharpness.
Upon tasting, you will find that these seemingly disparate notes are kept in perfect balance. The wine achieves a perfect level of freshness, making it ideal for those warm spring days. And yet, there is a certain level of warmth present, particularly in the aftertaste, that leads to a heightened sense of satisfaction upon drinking.
Currently available for less than €7 in the Xtrawine store, this wine is a true bargain for anybody who wants to wander off the beaten track when searching for Italian white wine. Our team believes so too, as they have awarded it a rating of 95/100.
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