De Falco Vini
What is very enjoyable about what I do are the fun discoveries along the way. For various reasons, I focus on vineyard areas with a lot of "minerality" (from soils with high mineral content from volcanic activity, granite, limestone, and slate) as I find wines from those areas more refreshing to drink, with more fresh fruit flavors, and also much more complementary with food. In Southern Italy it was then natural to look for producers with vineyards on Mount Vesuvius.
My search led to tastings around Naples at four wineries. All four had good wines but I was particularly struck by the quality and expressiveness of the De Falco Vini wines. While those two characteristics may seem like they would naturally go together, unfortunately I often find very expressive wines but with uneven quality and also well-made wines with good quality but which lack expressiveness. It is my firm belief that good wines are actually made in the vineyard and I was especially impressed by the strong fruit cores of all of the De Falco Vini wines that I tasted. Beyond the strong fruit core of each wine, however, there was also another characteristic that I require which is: what is appropriate to be done with the grapes produced in every changing year.
As someone who I respect in San Francisco said about the De Falco wines after initially they arrived - "these are good honest wines" - which while seeming to be underwhelming praise, is actually what I am looking for: wines that are honest to their place and which fully express what was capable of being expressed in the fruit in each year. Another part of the fun discovery of the De Falco wines is that the producer is very comfortable and confident about their wines and feels no need for "sales pitches" to induce purchases of their wines. While this is actually true about every one of my producers (who have no problem selling all their production each year) the wines from Mount Vesuvius are not really thought of as being "highly sought" wines each year in what in my opinion is a business full of too much hype. And so, to find such enjoyable and well-made wines in a less prominent area was a very enjoyable an fulfilling experience that I am very happy to share with my clients and their customers.
Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco 2020
This is a blend of 85% Coda di Volpe and 15% Falanghina. Aromas include camellia, jasmine, honeysuckle, narcissus, and starfruit. Flavors include honeydew melon, white peaches, white grapefruit, and mild apple. There is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a full minerally finish.
Food pairings would include crab, sole, swordfish, calamari, seafood pasta and salads, veal, pork, chicken, Asian and Mexican pork, chicken, and seafood dishes, and green salads.
Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Rosso 2022
This is a blend of 85% Piedirosso and 15% Aglianico. Aromas include dark cherries, dark plums, blackberries, and boysenberries. Flavors include blackberries, blueberries, dark cherries, and dark plums. There is a medium body, perfect balance and acidity, and a medium to full minnerally refreshing finish.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, Rib Eye, short ribs, beef stew, pork chops, pork tenderloin, pork shoulder, rack of lamb, grilled chicken, pasta with meat sauce, baked pasta dishes, cassoulet, coq au vin, salmon, shrimp, clams, mussels, Asian and Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, lamb curries, Tandoori dishes, enchiladas, tamales, tacos, charcuterie, and mild to medium cheeses.
Aromas include dark cherries, dark plums, ripe strawberries, nectarines, and dark chocolate. Flavors include blackberries, boysenberries, and dark cherries. There is a medium body, perfect balance and acidity, and a long lingering finish with refreshing minerality.
Food pairings would include Filet Mignon, lamb chops and rack of lamb, grilled pork and pork tenderloin, wild boar, grilled chicken, coq au vin, shrimp, clams, mussels, salmon, paella, Asian and Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, tapas, charcuterie, and medium, rich, and creamy cheeses.
Beneventano Aglianico 2021
Aromas include black cherries, dark plums, blackberries, blueberries, tea roses, wildflowers, and forest floor. Flavors include blackberries, boysenberries, blueberries, and nectarines. There is a medium to full body, perfect balance and acidity, and a long medium to full finish.
Food pairings would include New York Steack, Rib Eye, Roast Beef, short ribs, beef stew, veal chops, lamb, pork chops, pork tenderloin, wild boar, elk, grilled chicken, salmon, clams, mussels, pasta with meat sauce, Asian and Mexican beef, pork, and chicken dishes, lamb curries, tamales, tacos, charcuterie, and medium to hard cheeses.