Producer: Masseria Starnali
A few days of skin contact lend complexity and structure here—the little bit of tannin the wine picks up in that short maceration period gives what Hayes calls “firmness” to the wine. Ocean breezes and salty minerality run through a core of fresh grapefruit and green apple notes, like standing in an orchard on a spring morning. Hayes suggests this as a pairing with first-of-the-season vegetables, like fiddleheads and asparagus, or with rustic seafood pastas.
Move over, Pinot Grigio! Falanghina’s briny minerality and ripe citrus fruit is where it’s at. One of Italy’s most ancient white varieties, Falanghina (say: fal-un-GHEE-nah) grows most commonly in Campania, an oft-overlooked southerly region chock-full of value-driven wines and volcanic soils—the whole region is the basin of a former volcano. The old-school Starnali estate (“masseria” just means “farm”) is far off the beaten path, and the farm’s rustic locale is reflected in the winemaking, which focuses on biodynamic methods and native grapes. Matriarch Maria Teresa purchased the estate thirty years ago with her late husband; today, her son, Luigi, is at the helm. They say they’re lucky to live in a place so isolated, where they can focus on the pure expression of their land, uninhibited by the influences of more modernized winemaking.