Most experienced tasters note a difference between the Falanghina grown by the Di Meo family at La Sibilla in the Campi Flegrei along the coast of Naples and the Falanghina grown in inland Campania, around Benevento. Well, it turns out there's a good reason for the difference: there are two entirely distinct varieties with the name Falanghina, Falanghina Beneventana (from around Benevento) and Falanghina Flegrea (from the Campi Flegrei, where La Sibilla is located).
Vincenzo and Luigi di Meo tell me that:
'Falanghina Beneventana has a compact bunch with oval berries, very concentrated acidity but low extraction of polyphenols. The wines tend to have very high acidity, both malic and tartaric (in fact most producers put the wines through malolactic fermentation), and low pH. The wines are very drinkable if well made but tend not to be very structured.'
'Falanghina Flegrea has sparsely packed bunches with roundish berries, low acidity but very high dry extract. The wines tend to be more minerally than acidic, with substantial polyphenolic structure. Malolactic is usually avoided because the pH is higher and the acids tend to precipitate. The wines are normally more structured and 'salty.''
The two grapes have been DNA tested and in fact are separate varieties.