Discovering Sannio DOP of Southern Italy

Sannio (pronounced like San-yo) is located in the Campania region of Italy. The Campania region is in the southern part of Italy. It is below Rome and just 30 miles east of Naples. It has rolling hillsides and altitude making it the perfect location for vineyards. The soil is mostly clay and limestone, but there are areas where volcanic soil can be found! Sannio is made up of 11,000 hectares (27,181.59 acres) of vineyards. And 7,900 vine growers. There are many different grape varieties that grow here, but the two most famous are Falanghina and Aglianico. I recently attended a beautiful luncheon at N10 Italian Restaurant in downtown Los Angeles with Italian Wine expert Laura Donadini (@theitalianwinegirl) to learn about Sannio wines paired with delicious Italian dishes. 

The first wine we tasted was a sparkling Falanghina from Corte Normanna. It’s a Brut style sparkling wine made in the Charmat method (tank method). Oak aging in uncommon in this region. It spends 11 months on the lees with lees stirring which add complexity and delicate bubbles. This wine is refreshing with high acidity and notes of floral, citrus and a finish with a touch of almond. The almond finish is a marker common on Falanghina. This wine was paired with a Bruschetta with sun dried tomatoes, basil and mixed vegetables on focaccia. The acidity in the tomatoes really balanced the acidity in the wine.

The second was was a still Falanghina from La Guardiense ‘Janare‘. This wine recieved the highest award from the Gambero Rosso called Tre Bicchieri. It has beautiful dusty minerality with aromatic floral notes. It’s has a stunning and unique salinity resembling capers. It has the classic bitter almond finish. What stood out to me about this wine was the mouthfeel. It had an oily texture that is very pleasant on the palate. It has medium plus intensity of aromas, a complex, refreshing acidity and a long lingering finish.  

 Wine number 3 was another still Falanghina from the opposite side of the region from Terre Stregate ‘Svelato’ . This one has 4 months on the lees giving its a cheese rind, yeasty aroma. Along with a refreshing green apple acidity. 

 These Falanghina wines are if the DOC designations. They were paired with a chopped salad consisting of  romaine lettuce, mozzarella cheese, avocado and dill herb dressing. The freaking notes of the salad brought out the citrus notes of the wines. The mozzarella brought if the lees nots as well as the creamy mouthfeel. Great pairing!! 

The tasting concluded with a beautiful complex red wine of Aglianico. This is the famous red wine of Sannio and is of DOCG designation. There are 3 biotypes of Aglianico in Sannio: Taburno, Taurasi, and Vulture. I tasted the Fattoria La Rivolta Aglianico del Taburno DOCG 2018 . It was full of black fruits and spice. It spent 1 year in neutral oak and organically farmed. Full of complexity, these wines have so much aging potential! This wine was paired with shredded braised beef in San Marzano sauce in a homemade Tagliatelle pasta. What a perfect pairing! 

I highly recommend checking out the wines from Sannio for great quality and great value! I hope you discover this up and coming region! Cheers! 

Love, Your Personal Sommelier, Casleah

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