Naples is regarded as Italy's "ungovernable wild child", and exploring the city by foot last summer was one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, it's ominously just west of Mt. Vesuvius. The city is synonymous with its famous Neapolitan style pizza, but truth be told, the real magic of Naples is its seafood. And, when I must choose from the delectably crisp and dynamic whites from the greater Campania region, without hesitation I turn to Ciro Picariello.
Today, I'm happy to offer Ciro's first ever release of the "BruEmm" Falanghina Beneventana for $25, complete with special 6-pack pricing down to $23.16/btl.
Ciro Picariello is the rockstar of Campania. Everything he touches simply turns to gold. Even on a value-driven scale Ciro's whites have a richness and an extra 6th gear depth that's on a completely different level from his contemporaries.
The debut of Falanghina Beneventana from Ciro is immediately the benchmark for the grape. Tasting much over the years I'm accustomed to the variety's rich, textural personality with green apple notes and a faint honeyed inflection. Ciro's example works off these traits, but endows them with an pulsating stream of mineral verve and a textural gloss that surprisingly remains taut despite the extra horsepower. There's an added layer of white peaches and mountain herbs that showcase Falanghina's most compelling side.
Without a doubt, this debut was one of the most thrilling young Italian whites I've ever tasted. At $25 per bottle, the value here is shocking until you look at the entire Picariello portfolio. It's the model for affordable, great Italian whites that transcend their categories. I've also featured the range from Ciro below, including his Greco and Fiano.
Ciro's small production comes equally from 7 hectares where high altitude plantings are the focus. Only stainless steel is used at the winery, wines are kept undisturbed on fine lees for aging, and only small amounts of sulphur are added. As Ciro has proven, when executed with precision this brings the flavors one step closer to the raw materials on vine and a distinct sense of place. This is the best stable of young white wines coming from southern Italy today.
Often I'll beat the drum for the small, family producer. Campania's wines are overwhelmingly dominated by large brands with insipid products from an industrial approach. Ciro represents the other side of the spectrum, the absolute height of what can be achieved when conscientious and fastidious work is the foundation. To close out August, there's no white wines more salivating and delicious than those from this Campania benchmark!
2016 Ciro Picariello "BruEmm" Falanghina
$25 per bottle.
Special E-mail Falanghina 6-Pack Pricing: $139 ($23.16/btl.)
2016 Ciro Picariello Greco di Tufo
$25 per bottle.
Greco shows the more citrus and melon notes with volcanic minerality. It ages well, putting on weight with notes of orange blossom developing.
2017 Ciro Picariello Fiano Irpinia
$25 per bottle.
Fiano speaks more of apple, peach, almost, and a flinty mineral quality. With time Fiano ages similarly to Loire Chenin Blanc, revealing honey, beeswax, and lavender notes.
2014 Ciro Picariello Fiano di Avellino "906"
$38 per bottle.
The magnum opus of the estate, sourced from the highest elevation plantings of Fiano. The best option in Campania for long aging.