“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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Right Here, Right Now!

Terra di Briganti
Benepop Vol. I 2021
50% Falanghina, 50% Fiano
Organic, biodynamic, vegan, and indigenous yeasts
Sannio, Campania, Italy
Winemakers: Toni and Romeo De Cicco

Very orange golden and active white bubbles tracing cryptic designs on the surface. So many scents all at once! It’s s blend of creaminess & citrus, bananas (Stuart why are you looking at me like that?), papaya, lemon/lime breeze in with apples and orchard blossoms. Taking a sip and BOOM…again it’s everything! No wonder I keep hearing people love this pet. There’s a creamy feel, citrus soda (not sweet), mango, apple cider, sharp apple/pear with a twinge of bitter bite of skin, fresh, crisp & still fragrant goodness, a touch of white pepper, and a smidge of a stripped young apple tree branch (it just popped out of a childhood memory). This just vibrates of life and fun! Could I please have a fountain of this?

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: oh this is the sweet spot! Buy a box

So this is my 6th Terra di Briganti, does this make me a superfan? Benepop now takes the top spot on my list, unseating my oh so loved, Sciascinoso. I have ordered glasses of that wine so many times I’ve lost count. Well, this is definitely going to be the soundtrack of my summer. There’s so much going on with this beauty, I can’t pick just one song to sum it up. It deserves a whole DJ set from the ageless Norman Cook. This one’s an hour and a half so grab a few bottles and get ready to groove…Right Here, Right Now!

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Guilty Pleasures

Terra di Briganti
Falanghina 2020
Benevento IGP
Organic, biodynamic, vegan, and indigenous yeasts
Casalduni, Campania, Italy
Winemakers: Toni and Romeo De Cicco

Shining golden yellow that deepens as time goes by. Breathe in and that creamy mango feel floats in, pears & mellow mild peaches, tiny arbor blossoms, green apples, and I think the tiniest whiff of caramel but waaaayyyy back and so tiny toward the end that blends into salty slate. Well, well, well isn’t this elegant and damn lovely sipping with still a little natural flair, pears, a tad bit peach, mild mango, a smidge of papaya, citrus squish, and a lick of granite that finishes and then the cycle goes round again. It’s like a fresh smooch of summer. Now I’m going to have another glass and just stop dissecting and enjoy.

Pairs with Cheez-It’s: yuck it ruins it. Stay away

Let’s see, this my 5th Terra di Briganti and the last was a “joy ride” (oh that chilled red Sciascinoso became my delicious go to), but this one is a guilty pleasure on a sultry afternoon. So what are your guilty pleasures? Come on, I know you have at least one…we all do. Mine are really good squishy stinky cheese, a towering raw bar plateau that must include langostines & periwinkles (and this bottle would pair nicely), chocolate dipped Oreos with a little sea salt on top, and lately…I’m going to admit something…watching old reruns of Hart to Hart and reveling in those oh so wonderful 1980s fashions, the cars, the hair, and flirty innuendos. Now don’t laugh, we all need our little escapes. Just grab a bottle of this wine and join me. If you do, I’ll make sure to save you some winkles.

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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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