The WineCollective team loves to focus on introducing new varieties and regions to our members across Canada. We love when someone who is stuck in a Cab Sauv craze, or Sauvignon Blanc addiction turns a new cheek and discovers a new wine to take place as their favourite after years of going after the same wine, or wine style.
In March packages we featured an excellent Fiano, produced by Masseria Surani – one of many Tomassi Family Estate projects. This is only the third Fiano wine featured on WineCollective over the last six years, and with such an excellent example, we wanted to bring to you some much needed wine education.
Fiano is a high quality white variety produced mainly in southern Italy, and specifically, Campania. Historically the grape was used to make sweet or sparkling wines because of its natural sweetness, but today Fiano is used to make varietal wines. At times the wine is blended with smaller amounts of Chardonnay or Trebbiano.
In the 13th century, Fiano was widely planted in the Campania region, however following the phylloxera crisis of the 19th century, the grape was nearly forgotten. It was not until the 1980’s when local producers rediscovered and reintroduced the grape to consumers. Fiano is widely recognized as Fiano di Avellino because of its wide production in Campania on the volcanic hillsides of Avellino, just east of Naples. Other synonyms include Apiana, Foiano and Minutola.
Aroma and flavour characteristics
- Tropical fruits
The grape’s traditional name Vitis aping “the vine beloved of bees” is no surprise as bees are typically quite attracted to Fiano vineyards because of the sweet honey profile. It is also quite common for the vines to be planted among Hazel trees, lifting the nutty flavour of the wine.
Experts agree that Fiano is not the easiest of wines to create. The grapes are tiny and thick skinned leaving little juice and therefore a higher yield is required to produce a significant amount of wine. In addition the wine requires harvest to take place two to three weeks prior to the average variety. A well made Fiano should be weighty, often created by stirring in lees for added texture, and two to three years of aging can really leave behind an impressive bottle.
The 2013 Surani Arthemis Fiano is produced in Puglia, Italy. A very fresh and sweet example, we noted honeydew melon and tangerines followed by spiced florals and minerality. It also holds quite a weighty texture and a silky mouthfeel. Our food pairing recommendation was quite scarce as we think this Fiano makes an excellent companion to a patio on a sunny day. It is easy to see why the grape was produced in sweater styles back in its former glory.
Fiano production does not stop in Italy. With its increasing popularity, wines are beginning to appear in Australia’s McLaren Vale and La Rioja, Argentina. We look forward to tasting new examples and differences in Fiano from across the globe.
We would love to hear what you think about the Surani Arthemis Fiano, or even the Pirro Le Vigne Rare Varone Fiano, which was featured not too long ago in October packages. Sign onto WineCollective.ca where you can rate and comment on the wines. Don’t be shy!