This time Luciano Pignataro takes the stand, and I apologize for the delay in posting his article:
Nuntio vobis gaudium magnum: habemus Fiano! Yes, because after tasting around, I have the pleasure of revealing a promising white: High acidity, good fruit, and body. Every year in Irpinia it's the same story: If Fiano rises Greco falls, and vice-versa.
The reason for this is primarily ripening times, which, for the two great Southern whites are separated by about 10 days, enough that they rarely go in tandem. There are obviously exceptions, like the very well balanced 2008.
For wine lovers, the Lady of Fiano is Clelia Romano, whose wines invariably set the standard, and we await her to evaluate the vintage. We also speak of her in celebrating the birth of the Winemakers of Lapio, a small town whose territory also falls within the Taurasi production area.
She has five hectares of Fiano, planted in the 1980s following Mastroberardino's lead, vineyards that in 1994 began to yield a white that has become a favorite of wine lovers.
The vineyards are planted in three areas: Scarpone, Stazzone, and Arianello, where her cellars are; the terrains are at elevations between 500 and 550 meters, on a hill between the Calore and Sabato rivers, where the grapes, fed by calcareous-clayey soils, suffer day-night temperature excursions and gain elegance in bottle.
The Fiano made by Clelia, now with the assistance of her children, Carmela and Federico, both soon to be married, is born from her friendship with Angelo Pizzi, one of Campania's foremost winemakers, who works primarily in the Sannio area, with Flanghina and Aglianico. But in this estate in Irpinia, the only Irpinian estate he works with, he has revealed an excellent touch with whites.
Terrific freshness balanced by white berry fruit and sweetness on the nose, and dynamic and satisfying on the palate. It goes down beautifully, sip after sip without end. A Fiano to be paired with foods, and also a wine to keep for many years, tracing its evolution.
I have said before, and repeat it here: My favorite Fiano, for the simplicity with which it presents itself, the way it invites discovery, and is far from the humdrum or the one track.
The best vintage? 1999, certainly, but this 2010 has a great deal to say: The grapes were harvested ripe, after a balanced summer and before the rains that made life difficult for Greco and ruined the Aglianico, which suffered one of the worst vintages of all time.
Orders are pouring in, because Clelia is about to release it. But we suggest that you wait until the end of next year to enjoy it.
Clelia is at Lapio (Av), Contrada Arianello 47. Tel. 0825.982184, fax 0825.982184. Winemaker: Angelo Pizzi. Bottles produced: 56.000. Vineyards: 5 hectares, proprietary. Varietals: Fiano, Aglianico
Published Simultaneously by IGP, I Giovani Promettenti.
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