“I Just Wanna Be Part Of Your Symphony”

Falanghina del Sannio DOP
Campania, Italy

Springy gold with a touch of green. Breathing in white peaches, ripe sun kissed cucumber, mango, lychee, and a bundle of white flowers, a light touch of grapefruit, and wet limestone after a cool & cleansing rain. All of the before scents are in the taste along with firm pears, lemon/lime squeeze & zest, a bit of yellow watermelon added to the mix, trace of honeysuckle stamen dragged across my tongue, and a mineral bit on the back.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: heightens everything

This is one of those wines that pulled me down the rabbit hole of information. Tales of the Samnites…witches, warriors & the written word. Ja’na:re is part of the co-op La Guardiense that has been around since 1960. They started out with only 33 members but are now around 1,000 and all very proud of their history which leads back to Ja’na:re or rather janare who were the local women/witches, “who weave the secrets of the earth with silvery moonbeams and dance in the shade of a walnut tree” and carry on tradition & natural knowledge to this day. Then there are Sannio’s men once fierce warriors are now strong & noble farmers driven with the same passion of their heritage. Finally there’s this bottle that comes from their “Alfabeto line” which their designs are Inspired by the Oscan-Samnite language/alphabet (btw it’s read from right to left and words are separated by dots). Grapes for this collection are selected from the best of their vineyards/terroirs and are brought together as they say “Just like conducting an orchestra where each component must give its best, guaranteeing absolute harmony to the whole”. Love that their gift to the world is this beautiful bottled symphony.

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Making It Happen

Casa D’Ambra
Ischia Bianco DOC 2021
Biancolella 50%, Forastera 50%
Indigenous grapes
Forio, Ischia, Campania, Italy
Family winery
Winemaker and owner: Andrea D’Ambra

Pale straw. Breathing in a pretty bouquet of spring flowers, pear & white peach, a tiny spritz of Chanel N°5 that blends back into the fruit, an herbal blend of mint/basil, and mineral bits reminding me of our refreshingly always cool old spring house where the salamanders played. First sip and damn this is good! There’s pears, apples, young yellow watermelon, white peaches, salt a blend of basil/oregano, and at the end a little almond bite with a lick of rock.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: sharpens everything

The Isle of Ischia looks like paradise. Oh, the water surrounding is such a gorgeous mix of shining blue and greens, then there’s the ports, the thermal baths, the mountain area, sunsets, all the natural beauty, and of course the food. Their well known dish “Coniglio all’Ischitana” (yes, this is bunny) was lauded on “Searching For Italy” when Tucci ventured to Ischia (S1 E1) and Trattoria Il Focolare. If you look closely Casa D’Ambra’s wine, “Forastera” is used in the recipe, which makes sense because from what I’m finding they’re related. As usual with Tucci, his meals look like a fun affair, which leads me back to a very appropriate quote from Andrea D’Ambra, “When you are happy drink to celebrate. When you are sad, you drink to forget, when you have nothing to be sad or happy, you drink to make something happen.” Thank you for creating your “Bianco” which definitely made it “happen” for me. 💋

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A Polished and Spirited Youth

Falanghina ‘Orange’ 2020
Organic, unfined and unfiltered
Grapes from Campania, Italy
Winemaker: Michael Schmelzer

Warm golden sunrise with an orange streak creeping in. Sniffing Golden Delicious apples (my childhood fave from the orchard), fresh apricots, honeysuckle, a little dancing lemons, some anise, grass, a sprig of hay, and a crumble of a lemon cookie. Sipping and there’s pears, apples, and again fresh apricots, lemons, mandarins, a shake of salt, here comes a little grass, and a smidge of that anise seed again, but really just a smidge and a sprinkle of baking spice.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: it’s elegant and really works. Mellow fruit

A Italian, a Michiganian, and a German walk into a bar…well, that’s all rolled up into one man, Michael Schmelzer. His dad’s job kept him on the go. Born in Italy, grew up in Michigan suburbia, finished high school in Germany and then kept on moving through culinary education in Paris & London to later learning the ropes of winemaking in Australia. Luckily his parents wanted to find a place to retire, have their children near and working with them. Buying Monte Bernardi (long wine heritage) brought that dream to reality. Now with a successful winery, Michael also has another creative outlet in his Gioventù wines. As the name says, he has bottled this essence of “youth” that shines in this orange Falanghina, but this spirited youngun’ has finesse, polish, character, and one more surprise too…it’s not going to break the bank, so pick up two! One sip and you’ll thank me later for that nudge.

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Let’s Take a Joy Ride!

Terra di Briganti
Sciascinoso 2019
Sannio DOP
Casalduni Campania Italy
Sciascinoso 100%
Organic, biodynamic, vegan, and indigenous yeasts
Winemakers: Toni and Romeo De Cicco

It’s a glass of deep ruby purple Ring Pop. Letting you know, I tried this wine at two different temps. First was from my red wine fridge. Taking a sniff and it’s cherry with funk…spicy funk, dark berry, and earthy. Sipping and there’s pucker up tart cherry, blackberries, light and tangy. Second try was nicely chilled, and what a different wine! Breathing in sweet cherry, something floral, beautiful strawberries, and it’s still a little earthy. Tasting bright cherries, blackberry, plums, smooth fruit with a little tangy tingle zingy. There’s that touch of earth again and a dash of white pepper. Super fresh and soooooooo good chilled. For some reason my lips feel like they are vibrating. Do it! Chill it! You’ll be so happy.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: both tries and I come up with the same result of no changes

Out of the four Briganti wines I’ve tried, this is the most playful and carefree. Fits their fun label of two people on a motorcycle with a sidecar taking a sunny joyride. Let’s hit the road with them and Hendrix.

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Rustic Family Roots

Terra di Briganti
Nato Nudo
Aglianico 2017
Benevento IGT
Casalduni Campania Italy
Aglianico 100%
Organic, biodynamic, vegan, and indigenous yeasts
Winemakers: Toni and Romeo De Cicco

Dark garnet that I can’t see through. Breathing in dark cherry, prune, and an earthy spiciness. Whoa the first sip is darker than I was expecting. Someone please bring me a lamb chop or maybe even better a lamb sausage. Rustic cherry including the pit and tart ripe blackberries some velvet plum/prune. There’s also something herbal or maybe…no wait, it’s oil cured black olives that I used to eat like a madwoman in college. It’s that luscious old school bitter.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Less bitter and more fruit

Senza Solfiti Aggiunti are magical words to my ears. I love no added sulfites! This is my third Terra di Briganti wine and all three are greatly diverse yet consistent. Every one is well structured and true to their grape. You can feel the passion and care in the wines. I love this quote from their site: “It’s the proper equilibrium between tradition and innovation and the ideal synergy that is found amongst the Earth’s gifts and the art of wine. Because wines of quality aren’t the fruit of coincidence.” This family is devoted to the land, the grape and the nature that nurtures. Does my heart good to see them passing this knowledge down the generations. Check out these lovely pics of everyone pitching in working the vines and wine.

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Naked as the Day You’re Born

Terra di Briganti
Nato Nudo
Fiano 2018
Benevento IGP
Casalduni Campania Italy
Fiano 100%
Organic, biodynamic, vegan, and indigenous yeasts

Super deep glistening gold. Inhale and then there’s blossoms, tangerine, some wafting salt, and then here comes the apples, pears, and something a bit herbal. Go in for the sip and there’s those pears and apples again. Add to that melon, honeysuckle, citrus peel tang, and spice that may be black pepper, or something dried. All I know is I want a plate of salame and mortadella.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: gives it a citrus zing lightness with a touch of celery

Nato Nudo means born naked, and is a natural unfiltered wine with no added sulfites. You can really smell, taste, and feel the benefit of the wild rugged land where the guyot trained Fiano grows.

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Fresh and Foxy

Terra di Briganti
Coda di Volpe 2019
100% Coda di Volpe
Benevento Campania Italy
Organic, biodynamic and vegan

Cloudy orange goldness and tiny bubbles cling to the glass. Go in for the sniff and wow, honeysuckle and spring grass, then a hint of vanilla cookie, smoke, and a splash of cola.  This is delightful. Swirl and sip. There’s honey, a light citrus tingle, smoke and light citrusy and tangerine tingle with a dash of smoke and salt. This is one sleek, sly, fun fox.

Pairs with Cheez-Its: tangerine mellowness continues

The more you know: Coda di volpe means tail of the fox, which refers to how this type of grape looks on the vine growing in a long tail-like bunch.

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