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Fiano di Avellino DOCG

Before I get into the translation, I just want to mention that I don't like Italian tasting notes. I feel a blog post coming on, but I'll save that for later so that you don't accuse me of editorializing when I said that I wouldn't. Because the descriptors in the text do not convey the complexity of a good Fiano di Avellino, I have to add that I always found an intriguing herbaceous note in the wine reminding me of the pine forests that surround the area. In addition to citrus, there is typically a pronounced minerality. They can also be slightly nutty at times, but only the special ones. Just like us.

Text below translated from: del Canuto, Francesco et al., Il vino italiano, panorama vitivinicolo attraverso le denominazioni di origine, Associazione Italiana Sommeliers (Bertani & C.), Milano, 2010 (2002), fourth edition.

Recognized as a DOCG 8/5/03

Photo from newsposi.it

Production Zone: including the townships of Aiello del Sabato, Atripalda, Avellino, Candida, Capriglia Irpina, Cesinali, Contrada, Forino, Grottolella, Lapio, Manocalzati, Montefredane, Mercogliano, Montefalcione, Monforte Irpino, Ospedaletto d'Alpinolo, Parolise, Pratola Serra, Salza Irpina, San Michele di Serino, San Potito Ultra, Santa Lucia di Serino, Sant'Angelo a Scala, Santo Stefano del Sole, Sorbo Serpico and Summonte, all in the province of Avellino.

Yield: max 10 tons per hectare

Grape Varieties: fiano; also permitted up to 15%: greco bianco, coda di volpe, and/or trebbiano toscano

Minimum alcohol: 11.5%

Aging Potential: 1-4 years

Mention of APIANUM is permitted on the label as a reference to the origins of the grape name.**

Fiano di Avellino, taken from the eponymous grape variety, is one of the most distinguished wines of Campania. With time, the wine acquires depth and softness. Fiano is pale in color with an intense nose of fruit. Its balanced notes of citrus and acidity pair well with dishes such as spaghetti with fresh anchovies, grilled fish, seafood stew, baked fish, pizza, and calzones.

Some producers are late-harvesting as well as creating passitos, some are even using grapes affected with botrytis. These are still rare, but very interesting.

Sparkling wines made from Fiano using the Martinotti (Charmat) method are pleasant and zippy, and are perfect as an aperitif.

**It is commonly believed that the original name for Fiano was Apianum, derived from Vitis Apiana, which was a reference to the high sugar level of the grapes and the bees' attraction to them. (Ape, pronounced "AH-pay" is the Italian word for bee, derived from the Latin "Apis.")
Vitigni d'Italia disputes this, claiming that the actual origin of the word is from Appiano which was a variety of apple grown in Apia (now Lapia) near Avellino. B'oh!

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Blogger Do Bianchi said...

The origins of grape names, as you and Alfonso know all too well, can be tricky and A. Scienza is right to dispute the connection between Apianum and Fiano.

The fact of the matter is that, no matter how much we want to find the etymon (origin), folks in antiquity just didn't care that much about grape names.

But this fact, in and of itself, also reveals something about the nature of viticulture in antiquity. It was so ubiquitous that perhaps it was taken for granted...

Juice for thought?

Great post!

11/03/2010 7:39 AM

Blogger Tracie P. said...

taken for granted, maybe...or forse just treated in a less "precious" manner.

as i said before, b'oh! :)

but the real gift is that they left us with mysteries to ponder, right 2b?

11/03/2010 8:23 AM

Anonymous tom hyland said...

I trust this entire text is a translation. For the original author to write that 1-4 years is optimum for drinking a Fiano di Avellino is a bit misleading and a bit of an understatement. I've had numerous special bottlings of Fiano di Avellino that are in excellent condition at 5-7 years of age.

Mastroberardino just re-released a small quantity of its 2002 Fiano di Avellino (the regular bottling, not a cru) that displays a lovely freshness. Clearly, Fiano ages quite well with some bottlings showing well after a decade.

11/03/2010 11:41 AM

Blogger Tracie P. said...

tom--i agree. i imagine that this is written as a general guide and a reference to your "garden variety" fiano di avellino. I've had some slightly older and agree that they hold up well, though I wouldn't pick blindly from a shelf and trust that any producer would make one to hold up 5+ years. thx for reading!

11/03/2010 12:08 PM

Blogger Alfonso Cevola said...

I was recently in Italy at a wine bar in Grosseto and there was a lively discussion of Italian white wines. Fiano was mentioned as one of the wines that could live long. True to Italian fashion, there was a wine enthusiast at the table who insisted that Fiano after four years was just a waste of time, for the wine, in his opinion, wouldn’t develop. I asked this person if they had had older examples and was told yes, many times. So perhaps there is the individual element of taste (or opinion) that colors this subject. Surely this person was ready to go to the mat for their belief.

Thankfully, we had a bottle of amaro at the table, so I could digest all the wisdom that was being flung about.

Thanks for another interesting post, Tracie.

11/03/2010 1:04 PM

Blogger tom hyland said...


Glad that we agree on this. You're undoubtedly correct that the author's original guide was about the base examples of Fiano. That's the trouble with sound bites.

But you're right in that an older version has to come from a top notch producer, vineyard and vintage.

11/03/2010 2:41 PM


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