While Italy is known for its spectacular red wines, the country also produces some awesome white wines. This month’s Italian Food, Wine and Travel Group (#ItalianFWT) theme focuses on favorite Italian wines. It should go without saying that it is rather difficult to narrow down favorite Italian red and/or white varietals. Nevertheless, for the sake of this article, I’ll zoom in on a favorite Italian white grape varietal, known as Fiano.
Recognized as one of Italy’s finest white varieties, Fiano is believed to be indigenous to the southern Italian region of Campania. In fact, Fiano is Campania’s most noble white grape and is believe to be the grape referred to as Apianum, dating back to the Ancient Roman Empire in 13th Century. The Fiano grape is said to be what the Romans referred to as vitis apiana. The root of apiana, apis, is the Latin word for bees. Bees are typically very attracted to sugary pulp of Fiano grapes, so the name is fitting. Today, the name Apianum could appear on the labels, connecting it to its ancient Roman history.
Although Fiano’s presence was eventually reduced due to phylloxera, like other native grapes from the region, it was revived by the iconic founding father of Campania’s modern wine industry, Antonio Mastroberardino. While Fiano is also found in Sicily, Puglia, Basilicata and now even Australia and Argentina, the optimal expression is found in the Fiano di Avellino DOCG appellation, in the town of Irpinia Campania. I had the opportunity to visit a few wineries in Campania during the last Radici del Sud event. I was exposed to many of southern Italy’s finest wines, including Fiano, and I have been sold ever since!
The Fiano di Avellino DOCG has four areas: Lapio, Montefredane, Summonte and Cesinali, which all correspond to different villages in Avellino, leading to distinctive character. The appellation is comprised of rich, volcanic and clay soil, which also contributes to the flavor profile. The DOCG requires a minimum of 85% Fiano, although most of the wines are usually 100% Fiano. Up to 15% of Greco, Coda di Volos Bianca and Trebbiano Toscano are allowed for blending. Vinification is done in stainless steel. Fiano is fresh and fun, and at this time, who couldn’t use a dose of freshness and fun?
Fiano is not only known for its strong flavors and intense aromatic notes, but it ages particularly well and benefits from bottle aging. In fact, it’s a fantastic wine because you can drink it now, but also 5-10 years from now. This wine is stylistically diverse, in that it can be clean and refreshing, but it can be so much more. Now that we have explored a little bit more about Fiano and it’s The Wining Hour, lets taste a few. Here are three very different expressions of this southern Italian favorite:
Vigne Guadagno 2016 Fiano Di Avellino DOCG
Vigne Guadagno Fiano comes from the Comune di Montefredane in the province of Avellino. These wines tend to have intense mineral nuances, high acidity and fantastic aging potential. This one fit the bill. It is 100% Fiano at 450 meters above sea level, fermented in stainless steel. Intense straw yellow with apple, floral and citrus fruit aromas. The palate is clean and fresh with nuances of herbs and minerals. Being four years old already, it is clear that this wine has aged very well, developing more complexity, emitting honey and hazelnut flavors. Long finish with good acidity.
The Guadagno brothers believe that “Non si può fare un buon vino senza una buona uva” or you cannot make a good wine without a good grape. Exactly right! This one is not only good, it has a long life ahead.
Tenuta Del Meriggio Fiano Di Avellino DOCG
Tenuta Del Meriggio is located in the town and commune of Agro di Montemiletto, with vineyards at 500 meters above sea level. Their name, Tenuta Del Meriggio, refers to “when the time on these hills seems suspended, and the air is pervaded by an ancient magic.” Their philosophy is that quality is born first in the vineyard, and their respect for their terroir is evident in the bottle. After the wine is vinified in stainless steel barrels and fermented, the wine remains on the lees for several months and is then allowed to evolve more fully in the bottle. Tenuta Del Meriggio’s Fiano is a pale yellow with lovely white peach, floral and balsamic aromas. The wine is round, fresh and flavorful.
Torricino Serrapiano Fiano Di Avellino DOCG
Azienda Agricola Torricino is located in the hills of Tufo, province of Avellino in Campania. Their name, Torricino, is derived from the ancient medieval tower around their farm site. Stefano Di Marzo manages the farm, along with Maria Concetta and Federica. The Di Marzo family considers themselves ambassadors of the land. Despite the struggles between “man and nature, a story of earthquakes and migration of a cruel and harsh land (Irpinia),” the Di Marzo family have been producing top quality wines and olive oil. The Tufo terroir or volcanic tuff, yields wines that have a particular taste and character. Each of Torricino’s wines are a clear indication of the impact their sulphur-rich terroir plays in production. This Fiano is a good example.
The name “Serrapiano” is the combination of “Serra,” the location, and of “Apiano,” the historical name of the Fiano di Avellino grape. Torricino’s Fiano, which is 100%, come from grapes 400 meters above sea level. The must is fermented in stainless steel tanks with the use of indigenous yeasts. It is then in the tanks for about 6 months, on its lees to give complexity and structure. At least 1 year after the harvest, the wine is bottled. This yummy white wine is straw yellow in color with intense and complex aromas. The palate is nutty, with a flint mineral complexity, and well-integrated acidity. Smoky, salty and sapid.
Ultimately, Fiano is an Italian white wine, that is fresh and fun. It is stylistically versatile and ages well. As there have been a ridiculous amount of things to weigh us down, including life in general, anything to lighten the load and bring joy is welcomed. Whenever possible, keep it light and fun. Enjoy the simple things in life: family, friends, fun and…Fiano.
Interested in learning more of our favorite Italian wines? Join me and my fellow writers of the #ItalianFWT group live this Saturday on Twitter, 11am EST. You can also read more about our Italian white and red favorites below:
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm featured ;A Lovely Bottle of Taurasi paired with a Delicious Meal of Beef Tips Marsala.
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles served up Bacon and Butternut Pasta with a Langhe DOC Nebbiolo.
- Susannah at Avvinare was ;Taking a Closer Look at Vernaccia di San Gimignano.
- Camilla at the Culinary Adventures with Camilla was ;Capping off the Old Year with Cappelleti in Brodo + G.D. Vajra Barolo Albe 2016.
- Lynn at Savor the Harvest showcased how ;Lagrein Reigns in Alto Adige.
- Terri at Our Good Life cooked up An Italian favorite: Chianti Classico with Baked Salmon and Stuffed Mushroom Caps.
- Linda at My Full Wine Glass asked ;What If You Could Blend Your Own Pinot Grigio?
- Li at The Wining Hour was ;Keeping it Fresh and Fun with Fiano.
- Cindy at Grape Experiences brought us on ;A Return to Piemonte with Marenco Scrapona Moscato d’Asti 2019 and Bagna Cauda.
- Gwendolyn at Wine Predator was ;Going with Lugana.
- Katarina at Grapevine Adventures will be sharing 3 Wines to Get 2021 off on the Right Foot.
- Jen, our host, at Vino Travels was Starting the New Year off Right with Chianti Classico.