The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

A Tale of Two Bottles

Posted on | August 25, 2010 | Written by Janice Cable | 2 Comments

As a writer and a misanthrope, I spend much of my time alone, brooding, typing and occasionally, writing. But this past summer, I’ve been unusually social. I attended dinners, parties and weekends away, all pleasant obligations that require me to purchase and proffer a bottle or six of wine. This past summer, the social summer of 2010, has been defined by two specific bottles of wine: Di Conciliis Falanghina 2008 and Valle Dell’Acate Il Frappato 2008.

Neither of these bottles is particularly chic—they both come from southern Italy, areas windswept and arid, not lush, romantic regions like Toscana and Piemonte—so I wasn’t buying to impress a wine snob. They’re not expensive; both retail in the low $20 range. They’re not crafted from well-known varieties; rather, both Falanghina and Frappato are little-known indigenous grapes. They’re not big, fruity, international wines; some people might not easily understand either bottle. Not endowed with the qualities given to most hostess gift wines, the wines I chose are small, delightful, slightly eccentric and cheap—and I love them.

I’m not very good at describing wine in customary wine discourse. I could say that the white Falanghina has a white peach and lychee palate and a bouncy acidity or that the red Frappato has a lovely bright cherry color, a nose of raspberries and a charming, lissome body, but I’d sound disingenuous. That’s not how I think of these wines. It’s now how I remember them, and it’s not why I cart them by the case out to Fire Island.

Instead, I’d say this: the Falanghina always reminds me of a really pretty girl who is a lot snarkier and smarter than you first thought, and the Frappato always makes me think of eating berries on Central Park’s Great Lawn with the love of my life.  Regardless of how I think of the wines—with analogies to fruit and flowers or in metaphors of people and experiences—I’ve enjoyed spending time with these wines, and I’ve liked them enough to introduce them to the people I love.

Summer is ending, and even a curmudgeon like me starts to feel nostalgic. My nostalgia too has become embodied in these bottles. Though the Falanghina may have begun in Campania and the Frappato in Sicilia, they’ve become forever attached to my summer here in Manhattan, on Fire Island and in Vermont. Though they’re wines, they feel like friends. I’ll miss them when they’re gone.


2 Responses to “A Tale of Two Bottles”

  1. Kerry-Jo
    August 25th, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

    Frappato, the Great Lawn, and the love of my life…. Ahhhh! 🙂

  2. Madonna del Latte, Manuela Zardo
    August 26th, 2010 @ 5:39 am

    We would love to bring you in contact with your next summer- (or winter-) wines, well known grapes but grown on singular vulcanic soil. I loved your article.

    Best regards

    Manuela Zardo

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