Fiano – discovering a new grape

I confess. I’m a wine geek. A grape nerd. Or, as a friend called me today; a cork dork (I disagree on that one because of the closures-debate still going strong, but I digress). Basically; I like my wines obscure. Like to try as many different kinds as possible. And pride myself on knowing quite a few grape varieties.

2009 Surani pietrariccia Fiano

2009 Surani pietrariccia Fiano

Yet last saturday, while browsing the Sligro wine-aisles, I found something I’d never come across before: Fiano. The 2009 Surani pietrariccia fiano to be precise. As it was from Salento (in Puglia, way way south in Italy) I had to take a bottle. I’m really intrigued by that area, thanks to Silvestro Silvestori’s incredible blog. Also; it was very affordable, which helps.

Fiano, I learned from the venerable Mrs Robinson, is a “strongly flavoured classical vine responsible for campania’s Fiano di Avellino DOCG in southern Italy”. Campania being the region around Napoli, right on the western coast of Italy, with Puglia in the ‘heel’, on the eastern side. Fiano is also planted in McLaren vale, Southern Australia, and that’s about it.

On to the wine itself. The first impressions reminded me of picpoul-de-pinet (of Languedoc fame). Both are whites from (very) warm regions, made from ‘native’ grapes. The advantage of using these natives becomes very clear in both of these types; they can handle the heat. This leads to well-balanced wines that don’t get overpowered by alcohol. What also reminded me of picpoul in this wine is the nose: Fresh lemon and white fruit tones, complemented by salty liquorice. On the palate it opens well balanced, immediately followed by bracing acidity. This complements the medium-full body very well, leading to a lively and balanced finish. On the long finish, I find some honey and celery-salt. All in all a very refreshing and (here it is again) balanced wine. It clocks in at 13,5% alcohol, but you have to look at the label to believe that.

Masseria Surani is owned by Pasqua, one of the largest privately owned wineries in Italy, which may explain the low price, and the distribution. But this doesn’t make this an industrial wine per sé. Ok; it doesn’t bring loads of individual character, but this isn’t a wine that needs that. If it’s this good on an ordinary monday evening in Dutch early spring, I can only imagine how good it will be with seafood pasta in the full Puglian summer. Heaven in a glass. And even for a wine geek, that’s a pretty good result.

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About Richard

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2 Responses to Fiano – discovering a new grape

  1. talkavino says:

    As a fellow “wine geek” I can attest to the amazing discoveries which are made among obscure grapes. I would add Romorantin, Grolleau and Pigato to the list of “obscure grapes worth seeking”, and there are many others. As wine becomes ever so popular in US, more and more of the “obscure grapes” become available on the shelves of the regular wine stores – and they are usually well priced, to the ultimate enjoyment of the wine geeks 🙂

  2. Thanks for the comment. I’ve had some Loire grolleau a while back, but I can’t remember much about it. Romorantin I’ve been looking for (especially Thierry Puzelat’s!), but haven’t found it yet. Pigato sounds good; I’ll check it out!

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