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The white wines of Campania

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I was thrilled to be invited to “Vitignoitalia” this year, a wine show dedicated to Italy’s grapes, that takes place in the cellars in the superb setting of Castel dell'Ovo, in the harbour of Naples, in Campania.

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Campania, ("countryside" in Italian), is in the south of Italy on the west coast, with Lazio Region to the north and Calabria to the south. The region is the most densely populated in Italy and includes such popular tourist destinations as the Amalfi Coast, Mount Vesuvius and Pompeii, and the island of Capri, as well as the capital, Naples - the home of pizza.

It’s hot down here, and there’s plenty of red wine to be enjoyed from the local grapes; you’ll find an abundance of Aglianico, notable Taurasi, and Lacrima Christi (the “Tears of Christ”). But it’s the white wines of the region that deserve more attention, particularly in these dog days of summer, while our weather’s still enticing us to eat lighter and healthier food.

The three main white wine grapes of Campania are Falanghina, Greco Di Tufo and Fiano, and all are very food-friendly and easily available here in Calgary. Here’s three suggestions to try and the dishes to try with them:

Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina DOC

Falanghina is an intense and aromatic wine with scents of white fruit and banana. It’s a great food wine and has paired beautifully with dishes such as Coconut Shrimp with Honey-Mustard Sauce, Insalate Caprese (Fresh Tomatoes and Buffalo Mozzarella drizzled with Extra Virgin Olive Oil); Pescatore Linguine (Halibut, salmon, squid and mussels in white wine sauce); Spaghetti with Olive Oil, Tuna, Black Olives and Oregano; and Seared Sablefish with wilted arugula, basil and blood orange oil. $20

Feudi di San Gregorio Greco di Tufo DOCG

Greco di Tufo is a crisp, fresh minerally wine, with a lively acidity and notes of green plum vanilla, and mint. We’ve recently paired Greco di Tufo with Arugula Salad with Octopus and Capers, and Gold beet, Wild Mushroom and Local Goat Cheese Salad on Grilled Olive Bread. $32

Villa Matilde Fiano di Avellino

Villa Matilde’s Fiano is elegant and cellar-worthy, with aromas of summer flowers, pear, and hazelnut, leading to flavours of stone fruit and honey on the palate. Mellow and silky, with good structure and a long finish.We've enjoyed this wine paired with Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Truffle Vinaigrette, and Braised Pork Belly with Pear and Smoked Chilli Risotto. $24

Click here to find these wines at a liquor store near you.

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