Ager Falernus - Agro Falerno
The Ager Falernus is a historic region of the northern Campania, located between mount Massico and the Volturno, correspondent to nowadays Carinola Plain. It was renown by Romans, which occupied it in 340 bC founding (318) the Falerna tribe, for the fertility of his land and for the production of the famous Falerno wine.
The Falerno is a wine of antique origins, often mentioned in latin literature as the drink in use in the anciet Rome. Nowadays it's being produced with the name of Falerno del Massico DOC in the municipalities of Sessa Aurunca, Cellole, Mondragone, Falciano del Massico e Carinola, in the province of Caserta, in the following types: white, red and primitivo. The white is produced with falanghina, ciciniello and other local grapes, has an intense straw-yellow color, dry taste and alcoholic content of 12% Vol. The red is produced with aglianico, piedirosso and primitivo grapes, has a grainy red color, dry and warm taste, elevated alcoholic content (14-46% Vol.) and needs to be aged at least one year before being sold. The primitivo is produced with primitivo grapes with addition of other local varieties, has a grainy red color, dry and warm taste, alcoholic content of 14-46% Vol., it also needs to be aged at least one yuear before being sold.
The Romans at the Table
Among all the wines the most famous was the Falerno which is still being produced nowadays in the whereabouts of Sessa Aurunca, Mondragone, Falciano del Massico and other locations between Latium and the province of Caserta and you can find it in red, white and pink.
At the time of the Romans it was only red and it was being described as strong and lasting and, even if young, so sour that it couldn't be drank as it was. It was desirable and appreciated only after years and years of aging.
Oratio called it "the wine of fire" and Persius defined it "untamed". It was demanded for its aging a period varying between 10 to 20 years. Oratio also talks about a Falerno, produced in his wineyards, that had his own age, 33 years.
Cicero instead used to say that an excessive aging made the Falerno undrinkable. According to many researchers, the Falerno should have been similar, among the wines we drink today, not likely to the actual red wine of the same name but more likely to the sherry and it was of a dark-straw color. It was being found of two kinds: dry and half sweet.
The latter was being produced simply by pure chance following the seasoninal trend. If during the winemaking period wind blew constantly from south, the grapes were more "dried" and their sugary concentration increased.