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In This Issue
 Falanghina encore Yet another revisit to a new Southern Italian favorite.
 Ocone 2004 Taburno Falanghina ($11) Very young and very fresh, white-fruit and floral notes elevate a crisp, cleansing food wine.
 Katrina fund-raiser: Thanks for your generous support We're wrapping up the weeklong effort with one last call for donations in our online forum's charitable-giving sweepstakes for Hurricane Katrina's victims.
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Falanghina encore

Use a new word three times, and it's yours for life, the teachers say, which sounds simple enough until you try to figure a good way to work a word like "eleemosynary" into everyday conversation.

A similar principle applies to wine, where a single encounter with a grape or region that's new to you may cast an intriguing spell, but it takes a few repeated tastings to get a clearer sense of what it's all about.

Accordingly, let's take another taste of Falanghina, a Southern Italian grape obscure enough that - despite my long interest in, and affection for, the wines of Italy - I encountered it in the glass for the first time only this year.

Following up on the Villa Carafa 2003 Falanghina I reported in the Aug. 31 Wine Advisor and the Feudi San Gregorio 2002 Falanghina (April 6), last night I returned to Falanghina for a third tasting, hoping to make it my own.

This one was made by Ocone, the family name of the producer Azienda del Monte, located near Benevento. A 2004, it was the youngest and freshest Falanghina I've tried, and it represents the third major Falanghina growing region, Taburno; the others were from Campi Flegrei and Sannio, respectively. It was also the least expensive of the three, at $11 (the others sold in the middle teens).

Both its youth and its low-end price may have been reflected in its nature, which was pleasant, crisp and refreshing but lacked the minerality and slightly oxidative richness of the other Falanghinas. Or perhaps this was a question of its youth ... it seems that with wine, if not with words, it sometimes takes more than three tastes to fully master a new one.

But you knew that, didn't you?

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on today's topic (or any other wine-related subject), you'll find a round-table online discussion in our interactive Wine Lovers' Discussion Group, where you're always welcome to join in the conversations about wine.

If you prefer to comment privately, feel free to send me E-mail at wine@wineloverspage.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.

Here's a simply formatted copy of today's Wine Advisor, designed to be printed out for your scrapbook or file or downloaded to your PDA or other wireless device.

Ocone Ocone 2004 Taburno Falanghina ($11)

This is a clear, pale straw-color wine with a slight greenish hue. Fresh white fruit and delicate floral notes come to gether in a pleasant aroma, but it lacks the pleasant oxidative character that I've found in many Southern Italian whites, perhaps attesting to its relative youth. Medium in body, it offers an attractive balance of forward if rather simple white fruit and fresh acidity. A cleansing food wine, if not one for deep contemplation. U.S. importer: Scoperta Importing Co., Cleveland Heights, Ohio (Sept. 8, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Falanghina is a natural with delicate veal, seafood and fish dishes; less traditionally, it was fine with a light Asian meal of veggie shiu mai and edamame.

VALUE: Not overpriced at $11.

WHEN TO DRINK: Its freshness makes it pleasant and approachable now, although I'm going to stash one away to see whether it develops additional richness and complexity. Watch for a follow-up report in a year or two.

"Falanghina" = "FA-lan-GHEE-nah," with a hard "g".

Check availability and look up prices for Ocone Falanghina on Wine-Searcher.com:

Katrina fund-raiser: Thanks for your generous support

Last Friday, I turned over the Wine Advisor's pulpit to my wine-loving pal Dale Williams to announce a call for donations to appropriate organizations helping in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, along with a donation of several fine wines from his collection as sweepstakes prizes to serve as a slight additional incentive for support.

I'm delighted to report that Wine Advisor readers and Wine Lovers' forum participants have responded with great generosity: A half-dozen of you offered additional gifts of fine wines to bolster the sweepstakes, and well over 100 readers have made contributions totaling well over $10,000 in funds.

Today we're starting to wrap up this weeklong effort with one last call for donations. Over this weekend, we'll randomly select numbers and notify the lucky participants who'll win such vinous goodies as a three-bottle "vertical" of mature Chateaun Meyney, a J.L. Chave Hermitage, a 1982 Chateau Latour, a 1985 Chateau Lafite, and much more.

If you haven't joined in this effort yet, I urge you to consider joining in, whether you're inspired by the possibility of winning an excellent wine or whether you simply feel that it's right to dig down and throw a few bucks into the hat to help the people who have suffered from this major natural disaster.

We're encouraging contributions through Network for Good, a reputable organization that acts as a clearinghouse for online contributions to quality nonprofit organizations in many areas of need. A list of more than 100 worthy Katrina-related organizations will be found online at

For full information on making your contribution and entering the sweepstakes, click to this Wine Lovers' Discussion Group forum announcement:

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Friday, Sept. 9, 2005
Copyright 2005 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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