Italian wine is a never-ending learning process. With the thousands of indigenous grapes and endless lists of regions and sub-regions, you can never try it all! Sometimes I like to share Italian wines from tried and true places such as the Langhe in Piemonte or Chianti Classico in Tuscany. But other times I share with you undiscovered, small regions you may never have heard of such as wines from Lugana in northern Italy and Custoza in the Veneto region. Today I bring to you the sub-region of Sannio, which is located in the province of Campania. Have you ever tried Campania wine?
Here are 5 fun facts about Sannio as you discover this new to you region!
1. Sannio lies 1 hour from Naples
If you find yourself on a trip to Italy and visiting the famous area of Naples, why not rent a car or hire a driver and visit the undiscovered gem of Sannio? There are ancient towns to visit, restaurants serving local dishes, and the charming city of Benevento.
2. There are under 100 wineries in Sannio
The press materials claim 100 wineries, but I’m told the amount of wineries you can actually taste and visit is closer to 40 or so. Talk about undiscovered. This is the perfect place to visit for the person who likes to keep things fresh and new in their glass. And if you can’t make it to Sannio, perhaps you can find one of the wines below!
3. The region focuses on whites from the Falanghina grape (70% of wine production) and reds from the Aglianico grape (30% of wine production)
Keep an eye out for Sannio wines, if white wine is your jam. Especially Italian whites, which are known for good acid and their food friendliness. Falanghina wine tends to have a characteristic minerality/salinity to them. Aglianico wine is well-known in the Taurasi area of Basilicata, but for something new, try the Aglianico del Taburno from Sannio.
4. There is little to no oak tradition in the region
Historically oak has not been used in the fermentation/aging of Sannio wines. When oak is used, it’s with a light hand and the barrels are generally used or neutral. If you are not a fan of strong oaky wines, keep an eye out for Sannio wines.
5. The wines from Sannio pair beautifully with many food dishes
I recently enjoyed a delicious lunch as N10 Italian Restaurant featuring gorgeous dishes paired exquisitely with Sannio wines. See below for examples of exceptional pairings that you can recreate at home!
First Course: Bruschetta (grilled focaccia, mixed vegetables, sun-dried tomato, basil, olive oil)
Pairing: Corte Normanna Brut Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2020 $18
This wine is made in the Charmat method, just like Prosecco. It is meant to be fresh, light, and fruity. A perfect start to the meal. Note that this wine is much drier than Prosecco, which can have a touch of sweetness.
Second Course: Chopped Salad (romaine lettuce, mozzarella, avocado, dill herb dressing)
Pairing: Terre Stregate Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2020 $23
This Falanghina wine was awarded Tre Bicchieri from Gambero Rosso, which is the highest honor awarded to an Italian wine. Floral notes with a nice minerality and bitter almond aftertaste, which I tend to get with many Italian whites. Why are we even drinking Sauvy B when Falanghina wine exists in the world? I will never know!
Third Course: Tagliatelle al Ragu All’Antica (homemade tagliatelle w. shredded braised beef in San Marzano sauce)
Pairing: La Guardiense Falanghina del Sannio DOP 2020 $13
First off, you had me at homemade pasta, and tagliatellie is my absolute favorite. Another exquisite example of Falanghina knocking it out of the park, and especially for this price!
Fourth Course: Profiteroles (cream puff filled with vanilla cream and dressed in chocolate)
Pairing: Fattoria La Rivolta Aglianico del Taburno Rosso DOCG 2017 $24
This one wasn’t an exact pairing, I’d say. But the dessert was the perfect end to a great meal, and this red was a capstone of our Sannio experience. This wine is serving me everything I expect from Aglianico wine. Earthy and umami notes and astringent tannins that will calm down with more bottle age. Dare I say that this bottle would have paired beautiful with the braised beef pasta?
Thank you, Laura Donadoni, for introducing me to the wonderful region of Sannio and their lovely wines!