2020 Michele Alois, Falanghina “Caulino” Campania IGT, Italy.
The bright golden and bone dry, mineral laced Caulino Falanghina by Michele Alois is a very distinct version of this ancient grape varietal mainly found around the Campania region of southern Italy and goes well with the Mediterranean coastal flavors of the region with crisp lemony citrus, apricot and Summer melon fruits along with bitter almond, volcanic spiciness and subtle florals. This 2020 is dusty dry on the palate and feels more evolved in color and taste than the vintage would suggest, meaning there is no need for patience here and it has become all it can be already, so drink with abandon if you have or see this one, it is more than ready to please. Alois makes a great series of bargain priced authentic regional wines and makes for a quality label to look for when exploring the Campania region, I particularly enjoy their dark, meaty and gripping Aglianico “Campole” and rare Pallagrello (grapes) white and red wines, along with their top DOCG offerings under the Donna Paolina labeled wines. I was happy to recently taste this Alois wine, which was blind tasted, which was a difficult one to get indeed, but it allowed me to really analyze it without bias or pretense.
Located in the remote Caiatini Mountains in the province of Caserta, the Alois winery is committed to preserving the ancient ways and the family has a long history here, once producing highly sought after silk, some of which, dating back to the 1800s, is shown in the Louvre Museum. It’s noted, by the winery, that back In 1992, Michele and his son Massimo Alois partnered up with the University of Naples in a quest to rediscover the ancient (grape) varieties of the Romans and Bourbons popular during the Bourbon era of Southern Italy in the 1800s, which much to our benefit has been successful in capturing a part of history that might otherwise be lost. The Alois’ grafted pre-phylloxera cuttings of Casavecchia, Pallagrello Nero and Pallagrello Bianco onto the estate’s wild rootstocks and have brought back to life these almost unknown and forgotten varieties. The whites here, Fiano, Greco de Tufo and this Falanghina especially especially showcase the terroir and transparent winemaking, all stainless steel, brings out the essence of the place, which is highlighted by a complex series of volcanic, clay and calcareous soils. These wines are terrific bargains and display pure varietal character, I highly recommend exploring the Alois range, though as with most Italian wines the are best with food and laughter!
($17 Est.) 88 Points, grapelive