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Please note: in partnership with Serendipity, the following Banville wines are available in California.

San Salvatore 1988

Now more than ever many of us have gotten used to replacing long trips abroad with short trips to the wine shop.  It may not be a luxury-studded trip to the Amalfi Coast, but there are wines that are so graspable, so redolent of the land from which they sprouted and struggled that they might as well be “ambassadors to the world of this place.”  Such are the wines (and words) of San Salvatore’s Giuseppe Pagano, who’s been operating his family-owned winery in the heart of Campania since 2006.

San Salvatore is situated in Cilento National Park, located right around where the tongue of the Italian boot would be in an area laced with wine antiquity.  With holdings in both IGP Paestum and IGP Campania, the land boasts a high level of biodiversity characterized by their prized 500-head herd of Bufala.  The Italian water buffalo are flanked by rare, local varieties that have been grown in the region since ancient times: Falanghina, Fiano, Greco and Aglianico. Giuseppe has been a vocal proponent of these grapes which are grown Biodynamically across his vineyards.  And if these varieties are new to you, here are two food-friendly bottles you have to try:

Remember that bit about Ancient wine?  This fragrant white grape may have formed the basis for the most highly prized wine in Roman times, referred to as ‘Falernian’.  Today, wines made from Falanghina are characterful and unctuous.  At San Salvatore, this lightly lees-aged white has bright notes of orange blossom, green apple, and Mediterranean scrub.  Try it with seafood or light pasta dishes for a refreshing pairing.
Aglianico is one of those oft overlooked, dark-skinned red varieties that speaks to Southern Italy.  San Salvatore’s ‘Ceraso’ is full-bodied and bold, with tasting notes of plum and sweet spices.  Pour it alongside medium or aged cheeses, roasted holiday meats, or any dish with equally robust flavors.

Pala – “Semplicemente Wine Life”

Our next stop takes us to Sardinia— an island whose isolation on the Mediterranean enjoys a rich amalgam of Spanish, Savoy, and indigenous influences. This micro-continent calls to mind images of pastel painted neighborhoods, seaside ruins, and the Emerald Coast.  But if you asked Mario Pala, second-generation owner of Pala wines, what the true story is behind Sardinia, he’d probably answer something like “Vermentino, Nuragus, Monica, & Cannonau.”

The Pala family runs a winery in the Cagliari region of Sardinia (where the capital lies).  They own six different vineyard areas with a total of 68 hectares currently under vine, planted to varieties endemic to the land. With Mario’s children actively involved in day-to-day operations, they employ certified organic farming in the vineyard and do not use chemical pesticides or fertilizers.  Pala speaks to tradition while using modern techniques that allow them to continue to give voice to their island.
Perhaps no voice rings as loudly of Sardinia as Vermentino.  Fabio, Pala’s export manager, describes the gravity of the grape’s relation to Sardinian identity: “It’s like talking about Chardonnay and… [forgetting to mention] Burgundy”.  They produce several site-specific Vermentino wines, the Pala “i Fiori” Vermentino di Sardegna, DOC 2020 among them.  Grown on limestone rich soils, Pala credits the wine’s salty minerality to its proximity to the sea.  And its flavors and aromas echo nearby Mediterranean brush: sage, thyme, lemon, rosemary, and capers.  An elegant white, it’s best enjoyed with dishes like grilled fish, carpaccio, clams, or anything remotely seafood.
We also can’t leave this region without talking about the “King of Sardinian grapes”— Cannonau.  One of the oldest vines in Sardinia, its island origin was recently discovered to be as old as 1200 B.C.  For the Pala “i Fiori” Cannonau di Sardegna, DOC 2019, the vines are a little more contemporary.  This Cannonau was made to be approachable and has tasting notes of ripe red fruits, tomato leaf, fresh violets & spice.  Enjoy it with bolognese (we know you have a killer recipe), herbal pastas, spicy sauces and flavorful cheeses.

Terlano – A Chosen Kind of Family

It was back in 1893 when 24 winegrowers in the small region of Alto Adige pivoted from tradition and formed what would grow to be the area’s leading winegrower cooperative.  One hundred years later and the Terlano name is synonymous not just with a winery, but with the name of an entire town and its own DOC.  With a current membership of 143 growers farming a total area of 190 hectares, Terlano continues to value communication with its growers and sow meticulous historical data.  It’s one of the reasons, besides their devotion to putting quality over quantity, that they’ve achieved international acclaim.
The sweeping visage that is Terlano’s expansive, open valley unfolds in verdant waves of cypress, chestnut trees and other unique flora.  Rare and distinct conditions form the basis of a terroir that experiences more than 2000 hours of sunlight per year.  The soils are comprised of red porphyry rocks with a high mineral content that range in altitude from 250m – 900m above sea level.  It’s here that the mostly-white wines of exceptional longevity thrive; classified into four definite quality lines: Tradition, Selection, Rarity and Primo.  With a coop as large and as seasoned as Terlano, they certainly know a thing or two about what pairings best bring people together.
Three of Terlano’s most traditional white varieties joined forces to form this flagship cuveé, the Terlano Cuvee Classico, Alto Adige Terlaner DOC 2020.  Inviting aromas of green apple and white peach with lemon balm and mint are typical to the blend (Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc).  The Terlano team recommends a host of dishes to try at your next gathering: raw white asparagus salad, focaccia with rosemary, penne all’arrabiata, parmesan & fresh pecorino, turkey breast with root vegetables, veal roast… Or for an authentic taste of Alto Adige, try the Cuvee Classico with South Tyrolean bacon dumplings or sausage with sauerkraut.
Is there a more amicable white wine than single varietal Pinot Grigio?  The award-winning Terlano Pinot Grigio, Alto Adige Terlaner 2019 is fresh and multifaceted, with notes of pear, lychee, white melon and freshly mown grass.  It’s popular with lightly truffled dishes, tender veal, and fine grilled fish.  Or, to travel to the Dolomites by proxy of taste, try it with classic South Tyrolean treats like smoked bacon, Bündnerfleisch cured meat, venison salami or herbed risotto.
With bottles fit for any table and a range of grapes to satisfy any particular thirst, the Italian wines of Banville intimately weave place to people (and then sometimes to pasta).  From the corners of Chianti all the way to Alto Adige, these wines are evocative of family ties, deep roots and good food.  And don’t forget Lia’s adage the next time you’re preparing for your next occasion, ”It’s about La Materia Prima”.  Maybe served best with a bottle of Banville Wines.