Discover the Secret of Fiano di Avellino Wine: A Comprehensive Guide
Fiano is an ancient vine (wine) that has accompanied humans in Campania since the time of the Greeks, although it is with the Romans that we witness its explosion.
It is a fine, elegant, full-bodied, sapid, structured wine, but one characterized by stunning finesse. Having said this, it looks like the perfect vine, and we must say that we are not short of it.
If you taste a well-made Fiano, you will be delighted: the aromas are warm and enveloping, with ripe fruit, hazelnuts, lots of flowers, and honey. On the palate, it is ample, round, and always fleshy and appealing, never redundant. But this richness also corresponds to a fairly high alcohol level: Fiano is a tough wine that often exceeds 14 degrees.
But all this complexity comes at a price: meticulous care of the vineyard with low yields and long aging for the wine, which is often also done in the barrel.
Where is Fiano produced?
Fiano is the most iconic white grape of Campania, found in every vineyard, but its home is in the hills surrounding Avellino.
The name says it clearly, in Avellino, the Fiano grows so well that they have established a DOCG, DOCG Fiano di Avellino. It could not be otherwise, because we are speaking of an amazing area: Irpinia. Irpinia is a mythical wine-growing zone, a corner of paradise characterized by notable temperature ranges, altitudes that even reach 600 meters and those incredible soils of volcanic origin, which make the wine unique.
However, while the Aglianico becomes full-bodied, sapid, and balsamic, the Fiano on these volcanic soils gains finesse and a crazy minerality. It has a lot of freshness, flowers, and rocks, but honey and a fruity scent soften the whole thing.
It is enough to go a little farther, and even in the DOC Sannio, we can find excellent bottles of Fiano: this area is in the rise, and we are only tasting the tip of the iceberg.
Last but not least, the DOC Cilento Bianco, where Fiano is often produced unblended. This is another area to keep an eye on, Fiano is different here, not so sumptuous, but the saltiness of the sea manages to give strength and character to these wines.
History of the Fiano grape variety
You will have already understood that we are in love with Fiano and that it is an extraordinary wine, one of the best you can find in Italy. But this isn’t news: Pliny the Elder and Columella both thought Fiano was the mythical Apiana grape, so named because it was so sweet that bees devoured it. Although later it was found that the Apian grape was Moscato, Fiano is thought to be a vine that arrived in Campania in the wake of some brave settlers from the city of Apia, in the Peloponnese. There are no certainties or official sources, but once again, the Greek origin is the most probable, given that Magna Graecia was the cradle of Italian viticulture.
Apart from the historical events, the name of Apiano has remained attached to Fiano for centuries, so some think that the name comes from the village of Apia, today’s Lapio. An intriguing hypothesis that, for the time being, cannot be denied. We’ll see if there will be further research.
What does Fiano di Avellino taste like?
Fiano’s bouquet is sumptuous, resinous, balsamic, and fleshy, characterized by a warm fruit that is expressed with finesse. It is not explosive, but subtle. The savory and floral suggestions keep it measured and aristocratic. Lavender, lemon, apricot, peat, juniper, hazelnuts, and some smoky suggestions that could remind you of Riesling. It’s intoxicating, it’s complex like a spicy gin, but the smokiness doesn’t come from the barrel aging: it’s part of this incredible wine.
On the palate, Fiano is a kaleidoscope; it is warm but very sharp. An acidity that makes it a wine of great structure and suitable for long aging in the bottle. Salt, rocks, flowers, tropical fruits, and many other flavors titillate the mouth. It is not easy to find a balanced or mature Fiano, so you have to experiment a bit and do not be afraid to leave the more structured Fiano in your cellar. Over the years, a wine that may have seemed rude or too aggressive becomes poetry.
If Fiano were an actor, he would be Fiano Reeves in The Matrix: cool, elegant, mysterious, and above all, irresistible.
Fiano di Avellino food pairings
Fiano is a full-bodied white wine that is very acidic and salty. So let’s pair fish, sushi, prawns, risotto, caprese, and all the crustaceans that, with their sweetness, will be cut in half by the mighty Fiano. Fish and chips, grilled fish, paella, salmon cooked on the cedar tablet, pumpkin tortelli alla mantovana, spaghetti with clams, rice noodles with prawns and vegetables, parmigiana ravioli, spaghetti with clams, chicken tikka masala, Chicken Cacciatore, Vitello Tonnato, truffle risotto, pasta alla carbonara.