Roman Way

In ancient Rome, the most sought-after wines – the ones earning at least XCV points from Vinum Spectatorem – came from the region of Campania.

Actually, the Roman rating system was not so formal. There was no Latin precursor to modern wine mags, as far as we know. But the area of Southern Italy was indeed highly regarded for its wines – and remains so to this day. So when Wrath Wines began producing Falanghina, a historic Campanian varietal, from two rows planted in its estate vineyard, winemaker Sabrine Rodems discarded modern processes in favor of clay vessels. The wine was fermented in a dolium (a large earthenware vessel) with extended skin contact and then returned to clay for aging.

Hey, when in Rome…

The 2018 Wrath Ex Dolio Falanghina is Janus-faced in the best way possible. It spills aromas that promise a rich, lush wine, with dried apricot, toasted almond, meadow flowers and hints of buckwheat honey. But the wine changes directions when sipped, springing onto the palate at a brisk pace. Bright, fresh apple and apricot flit about as darts of citrus zip over the top. Yet there is a tannic grip – a parched, gritty, leathery finish of cured tea leaves that brings balance to the fruit.

The wine owes its spirited nature to Wrath owner Michael Thomas, an archaeologist who has been involved in digs near Pompeii, where the ancients played and wines from Campania flowed.

WRATH WINES, Carmel Plaza, Ocean and Mission, Carmel, 620-1909; 35801 Foothill Road, Soledad, 678-2992.

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