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The Fiano Grape


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About Fiano

(Synonyms: Apiana, Apiano, Fiana, Fiano di Avellino, Fiore Mendillo, Foiano, Latina Bianca, Latina Bianca di Barletta, Latino, Latino Bianco, Minutola, Minutolo, Santa Sofia.)

Background

Map showing Campania

Fiano is a white-wine grape originating in the Campania region of Italy, and also now much grown in Sicily, and of late even in Australia. The wines are pale in color, and typically strong-flavored with an intense aroma; it is described as being "weighty" on the palate, with a honeyed, floral nose and distinct taste qualities of spice, honey, and frequently a hazelnut overtone.

Better-made specimens are considered thoroughly age-worthy, and to not merely withstand bottle age but improve over several years, with the spice and nut flavors especially becoming better established.

Fiano was traditionally subject to being unduly heavy and especially to being prone to premature oxidation. The winemaking techniques of modern times are said to have largely or wholly overcome those problems, though in candor not all vintners practice such techniques yet. The grape is inherently low-yielding, and that combined with the older difficulties of vinification saw its plantings decrease markedly in the last couple of centuries; but it is now again on the upswing, as a result of the better winemaking and consequent worldwide interest in Fiano.

By repute, the best specimens come from the province of Avellino, and are known as "Fiano di Avelino". True Fiano di Avellino must be at least 85% Fiano (with Greco, Coda di Volpe, and Trebbiano also permitted up to a combined total maximum of 15%), and is often 100% monovarietal.

Fiano is generally considered one of the dozen and a half or so of world-class white-wine grapes (those in boldface in the varietals list to the left of the page).

Factoid: Fiano has a lineage extending back at least to Roman times; it is likely the Roman Apianum wine, the name deriving from the bees that to this day are commonly attracted to the sweet grape pulp.


Some Descriptions of Fiano Wines


Some Fianos to Try

(About this list.)

Considering their considerable reputation, decent Fiano wines can be had starting from remarkably low prices. In this list, we include two wines from some wineries: their basic, or "entry-level" Fiano, and (where pricing allowed) a somewhat more elevated rendition as well.

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.

Some Fianos to Try

(About this list.)

Considering their considerable reputation, decent Fiano wines can be had starting from remarkably low prices.

The quotations below are excerpts; we strenuously urge you to click on the green diamond symbol by each quoted review to see the full article.
Colli di Lapio "di Romano Clelia" Fiano
(Pushes our price envelope a bit, but still within it if you look around.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

Bright, pale straw-green. Strikingly complex aromas of green apple, Meyer lemon, mint and herbs, plus a hint of flinty minerals. Deeply concentrated, but with extremely high, integrated acidity giving the stony citrus and orchard fruit flavors excellent cut and clarity. Notes of anise, herbs and minerals repeat on the extremely long finish, which features excellent grip and precision. This will age beautifully for another decade, and I wouldn't open a bottle for another three or four years.

Simply put, the 2011 Fiano di Avellino is one of the greatest Italian whites in its price category. Smoke, ash, incense and white stone fruits are all woven together in a fabric of extreme class, elegance and polish. Bright, saline notes reappear on the impeccably polished finish. An utterly vivid, beautiful wine, the 2011 captures the essence and greatness of Fiano di Avellino. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2015.

♣ Wine Advocate (date unknown), 92 Points

♣ International Wine Cellar (date unknown), 92 points

♣ Gambero Rosso ["Tre Bichere" awards] (2012), "White wine of the Year".

[T]this young estate, founded in 1994, is the source of one of the finest Fianos made today, if not the best one. The perfectly situated vineyards, at about 500 meters above sea level on highly calcareous clay soil and benefiting from wide day-night temperature differences, would rate grand cru status if such a classification scheme existed in Italy.

By chance, my very first Fiano di Avellino was a rarity: a Colli di Lapio with 10 years of bottle age. It was at a dinner in New York, and the host was a wine collector. I don’t remember the vintage, but I'll never forget that fiano: Unlike most aged whites, it was daisy yellow in color. No amber tones here, no whiff of oxidation. Aromas of fresh peach and melon emanated from the glass. The first sip suggested pineapple and apricot nectar. Next was lemon curd and jasmine, then toasted hazelnuts on the finish. A full-bodied, creamy wine balanced by high acidity, it had me smitten. I couldn’t stop sipping, trying to grasp its evolving flavors. That night—then again this spring, when I found a dusty, decade-old Colli di Lapio in our cellar—I discovered what discerning collectors know: Fiano di Avellino is a white that can age

Straw yellow in color, the 2003 has accents of citrus and anise, and a scent of white peaches and tangerine pith. This Fiano's bright snap of acidity makes it a brilliant match with chilled shellfish, grilled shrimp and other summer seafood.



Mastroberardino "Radici" Fiano
(This "Radici" is their premier bottling.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
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• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

The color is now [2006 vintage in 2011] gold bright yellow. The nose is evolved in notes of dry fruits, dry banana, mango and pineapple, ripe golden apple, dry herbs and more marked salty sensations. The sip is long, smooth, creamy, with a better balance and a very pleasant minerality.

Pale brassy green with greenish brassy reflections and white rim. The bouquet is pleasant, with delicate floral accents, in particular honeysuckle, mingled with hints of honeydew melon and slight sweetness. Inviting. On the palate it's ample, fairly bright, and quite mineral with some interwoven honeydew melon that gives way to minerality in the finish, which is fairly long, with some bitter hazelnut accents. A classic Fiano that revolves more around aromatics and finesse than structure, and will be quite nice as an aperitif or with delicate fish, and will also nicely complement either cheese or Oriental dishes. . . [It] combines harmony and balance. 88-90

Let this wine warm and you will see what a few degrees can do. Aromas of honeysuckle, peach and pear, with a long, lingering blend of spice and nuts on the finish. Still a touch closed, best drunk after being open for a few hours. Serve at 8-12 C. [46°F - 54°F

Fiano di Avellino displays a pronounced smokiness, along with notes of hazelnut, citrus and apple. The 2012 Mastroberardino Fiano di Avellino is an excellent example.

Straw gold color, with an aromatic, complex bouquet and distinctive flavor. Full-bodied and elegant with pear, pineapple, citrus, nut and honey flavors and a lingering toasted hazelnut complexity.

Mastroberardino's 2008 Fiano di Avellino has attractive aromas of pears and citrus fruits along with a hint of hazelnuts. It is a rich, opulent, full-bodied white but with better acidity and complexity than one would expect from such a generous wine.



Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano
(Feudi di San Gregorio also makes a "Campanaro" bottling, plus an expensive "Pietracalda" Fiano.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
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• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

Feudi di San Gregorio consistently does a terrific job with the Fiano grape. The producer finds a magical way of extracting the grape's pear, citrus and peach aromas. Mineral and talc powder sensations are there as well. Score: 89

Moderate aromatics of spritzy lemon, fresh cut grass, smoke and green almond lead to a crisp acidity supporting layers of pink grapefruit, honeysuckle and a sharp, bone-dry finish laden with minerality.

This deliciously dry and refreshing wine certainly added a little zippiness to the day with its vivacious character. Although a little shy at first, it soon blossomed from bud to flower. Subtle floral and mineral aromas flattered the nose with a hint of honey, chamomile and citrus fruit, followed by a rich textured mouthful of ripe pear and peach flavours, supported by a lively acidity. The finish with its mineral edge and nuances of quince and hazelnuts, played encore after encore and left the taste buds in no doubt that they were in heaven! Sublime on its own, but I can only imagine how it would shine like a sparkling diamond alongside rich seafood, poultry, soft cheese or pasta with a creamy sauce. This was a stunning and elegant expression of Fiano di Avellino at its best from a benchmark Italian winery. Bravo and encore!

A superb lightly dry white wine. Goes well with seafood and, er, summer. Quality: 5/6; Value for money: 4/6.

On the nose I had herbs, (yellow) flowers and peach. The label also said that the wine should have aromas of orange but I didn't notice them. The finish was long. Almost no acidity and a taste of minerals was present. At the Roman enoteca I spent 13.50€ for this wine. I don't regret the purchase and will buy it again when the opportunity arises.

The 2008 Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino is a full-bodied white whose weight and richness might lead you to think that it has spent time in wood, despite its lack of oaky flavor. In fact, the wine is made entirely in stainless steel; it is the grapes and not the winemaking that give the wine its considerable character. The wine's aroma is fresh and penetrating, with notes of ripe citrus, apple and peach, as well as floral and definite mineral notes. The wine is bone dry and crisp but has lots of weight; silky texture; and a broad note of minerality that balances the depth created by the high acidity. Nutty, fruity and honeyed flavors have good concentration in your mouth. . . This wine is a marvel on the table because of the yin-yang nature of its acidity and richness.

Rich dried white peach, apple and honey blossom flowers, this wine is full and lush in the mouth with herbal and mineral notes offsetting the full fruit. That mouthfeel, in addition to the lively freshness of this wine is impressive. Weight to match poultry (or goose, or duck), acidity to freshen the palate with numerous flavours. A boon is the candied orange peel note on the finish – a perfect complement to cranberries and savoury dressing. ***½



Donnachiara Fiano
(This is their basic Fiano, not either of their "Esaoterica" Fiano bottlings.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
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• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

This offers pretty aromas that recall white spring flower, almond and acacia. The juicy, medium-bodied palate offers ripe pear, lemon peel, hazelnut and a hint of dried mint alongside fresh acidity. 87 points.

[This wine] is a delicious example of the varietal. If I had tasted this blind, I might have guessed it was a good everyday chardonnay from the Macon sub-region of Burgundy. It's got beautiful aromas of pear, yellow peach and almonds. It's beautiful texture is very Chardonnay like, and it's medium-bodied orchard fruit flavors are balanced by zingy acidity. Retaining acidity is so critical to hot climate whites such as this, as too much ripeness can drop the acidity too low, leaving you with a flabby, dull wine.

The aromas of peppermint and apricots amaze me here. It's full-bodied with bright acidity and a long finish. Dense, rich white with real palate presence. 93 points. [James Suckling]

Chablis-like nose and palate of mineral, herb, and nuts. Balanced and elegant. 93 points.

Very aromatic with a beguiling floral scent, this dry white wine refreshes the palate with crisp fruit flavors and a hint of minerality. Fiano di Avellino also belongs to that special club of white wines that age beautifully and I found that the older vintages revealed amazing layers of flavor - tropical fruits, honey, and almonds; while maintaining great acidity and freshness.

Lightly spiced, with hints of white pepper and pine framing the melon rind and citrus zest notes. A hint of cream rounds out the finish. 87 points. [Wine Spectator, 2012, web]



Terredora di Paolo "Terre di Dora" Fiano
(Don't confuse this bottling, apparently also known as "Ex Cinere Resurgo", with their pricier "Campore" Fiano di Avellino.)

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
• Retail offers of this wine listed by Wine Searcher
• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

To me the Fiano I encountered in the bottle, just last week was very "tom-boyish" it definitely has a feminine side to it, but with plenty of, in your face, "these boots are made for walking" attitude. Now that's my kind of wine, in a cage match this wine would pummel chardonnay like a bad habit, frankly it wouldn't be much of a contest. It would give everyone with the Chardonnay Conundrum, a new champion to fill their glasses, with wines that have a soul, especially in contrast to California Chardonnay. And believe me, having just judged 30 different Chardonnays and over 30 different Viogniers [SDIWC], all nearly monolithic wines; folks it's time for the wines of Campania to find a place in your own cellar.

Perhaps the creme de la creme of [Terradora's] white wines, this 100% Fiano has a graceful nose of white floral and honeysuckle that draws you in like a great perfume. Richer in the mouth, aided by partial barrel fermentation, the flavors of pear, apricot, lemon are complex with notes of toasted nuts and clover honey in the mix. Rich and intense, it can stand up to antipasto as well as elaborately sauced fish and chicken dishes.

[This wine] is as elegant and as pure in its varietal character as you will find. The wine is simply delicious and is a nice middle ground between the Mastroberardino style and the Feudi [San Gregorio] style.

2010 Fiano Di Avellino, Terre Dora; a D.O.C.G. wine: 100% Fiano cool fermented and aged on its lees for a highly aromatic, dry white wine with a bit of spice finished with honey. This white can be aged 10-15 years. The favorite of many in our group.

[The winemaker at Terredora] told me, "We will always be the benchmark for Fiano." The indigenous jewel of Campania whites, Fiano can age in a cellar for up to 15 years, and many experienced tasters have said that an aged Fiano tasted blind is really like fine white Burgundy (at a fraction of the cost). The 2009 is firmly structured and exceptionally elegant. Less giving than the Greco, it walks a limestone bridge linking floral and fruity.

Terre di Dora is one of Terredora's own vineyards. Dry and crisp, with fresh fruity aromas suggestive of pineapple. It has great length on the palate, with a rich finish. Excellent Fiano. 92

The Fiano di Avellino (made from Fiano grapes) had a bright and fragrant nose of apricot, blood orange, rich minerality and a noted saltiness, with a complex and mineraly mouth. It was elegant and structured on the palate without being weighty. A very interesting wine.

Green fruit aromas on the nose, apple and pear and some honeysuckle. The palate is waxy, medium to full bodied with subtle nuances of roasted nuts. 86 points Rating: ****



Collazzi "Otto Muri" Toscana

• Retail offers of this wine listed by 1000 Corks
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• This wine's CellarTracker review pages.
• This wine's Wine Searcher "Tasting Notes" page.


Some quotations and facts about this wine:

♣ Surprisingly little on line about this bottling, though amateur tasters obviously like it, as do those pros who have noticed it.

Fresh and clean white with apple, hints of cedar and honey. Medium body, bright acidity. 91 points. [James Suckling, September 2016]



For a Splurge

This is another case where there are no wines widely graded as nontrivially better than many on the list above. Splurge on a case of your favorite.


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