Week 13 – Fiano

Tasting Notes

Emma says: “Today was equal pleasure and pain when it comes to the 52grapes experience. Arriving home late from a work trip, we realised tonight was the only night we had to try a Fiano before our weekly newsletter deadline.

So I sit here bleary eyed, wishing I was in bed, but instead musing over a Fiano. Thankfully this wine has reminded me of what is so enjoyable about our project. Instead of buying one of the Fianos I have tasted before, I ventured into a small and beautiful Italian specialist wine shop, “Passione Vino” in Shoreditch, to buy a version I hadn’t tried before. And this Campanian Fiano is really unusual. It feels like a traditional rather than a modern version. Most of the modern styles I’ve tried are crisp, fresh and floral, quite straightforward and thirst quenching with mild white peach flavours. Think of Pinot Grigio with more fragrance and richer fruit flavour.

But this version is very different to that. For a start the aroma is softer, more honeyed with gentle floral notes (almost pot pourri in style). The palate is quite waxy with orange peel, sweet peach compote flavours and a white tea savoury note. It feels like a wine that would work well with food for its extra body, texture and richness in fruit. But we aren’t talking bold tropical fruit, it is altogether gentle and mild. It didn’t blow my mind but I found it interesting enough to keep going back to in order to consider its flavour palate. I think that is honestly why these small producer styles from a small specialist shop can be a fun experience. They often offer something slightly different from the mainstream styles.

And what do I mean by traditional rather than modern for Campania? Well the modern styles can be made in a very precise technical way, avoiding any oxygen contact to keep the fragrance very fresh. Traditional styles are less protective, meaning a little bit more oxygen interacts with the grape and softens out those aromas, bringing on the honeyed character that otherwise tends to come to these wines later with age.”

Andy says: “Emma was away for a night, so I took full advantage of the “Meet the new CEO” bar tab, and was a little, how do we say, jaded.

But needs must, and so I bravely ploughed into this week’s Fiano. Tasting straight from the fridge, it was crisply cold, with a slightly oily mouthfeel, quite viscous, and somewhat sweet. Remembering last week’s notes on serving temperature, I waited for the wine to thaw out a little before trying again. All the sweetness went and it became more astringent, and a touch sour. Not the worst white wine I’ve ever tasted, it was a perfectly pleasant drink, but not necessarily one I’ll rush back to either. Perhaps I need to try the modern style described above.”

Buying Guide

This pretty little white comes from the Southern Campania region in Italy. It can also be found in Australia and Sicily, but we are going to try the original. Head to the Italian white section and you can find this wine in lots of the major retailers, but, after some Googling many seem to be from Sicily. Try to get one from Campania – the area of Avellino produces the best Fiano. Sicily will do if that’s all you can find. It will be a bit more fruity and less floral than the wines from Campania.

9 thoughts to “Week 13 – Fiano”

  1. Maree d’ione
    Fiano Organic 2017 12.5%

    Appearance – Clean and bright, golden pale green.

    Nose – Fresh, apply notes.

    Palate – Prickly flavours of boiled sweets and fresh apples with a hint of gooseberry. Slightly oily with hot, slightly burnt fruit flavours.

    Finish – Slightly oily with fresh apples

    I enjoyed this wine; hadn’t expected to, very pleasant.

  2. Wine – Fiano Sannio, 2016, Benevento (M&S £9)
    Bottle says – pear, citrus, blanched almonds

    Not a wine I remember purchasing specifically before; Italian whites are not really wines I buy that often, mainly due to their high acidity. This one was a pleasant surprise however.

    The wine was a lovely deep yellow straw colour, not as pale as most.
    It was quite grassy as well as fruity on the nose, and slightly peppery.
    I definitely got the honey flavours a few other people mentioned, but also accompanied by a pleasant mineral finish. It was still quite acidic, but not unpleasantly so. I also noted the similarities to Reisling that others also mentioned.

    I love Italian reds, but as for the whites, although perfectly nice, there will always be other whites I’d rather spend my money on. I will keep trying however, as I am determined to find a white Italian ‘WOW’ wine one day.

    1. Hi Jason, some interesting comments. I know what you mean about Italian whites since the ones from the North of Italy like Pinot Grigio or Gavi are very dry and high in acidity. So my tip would be to look for whites from the South like Campania, Puglia or Sicily where the warmer climate softens the acidity. A really nice option would be a Grillo from Sicily or Catarratto, they tend to be softer and richer in profile.

  3. Smells quite like a riesling. Citrus flavours, fresh and quite acidic with good minerality. Good length and lots of legs for a white.

    Wine tasted: Fiano 2016 Sannio from M&S.

    1. Nice to see this wine tasted since I’m very familiar with it. I do love the delicacy of its florality and that mineral note you detected. It is one of my favourite go to mid week whites for that reason.

  4. This week I tried a Puglian Fiano (Marr d’Ione Fiano 2017, Waitrose, £8.79). It had a pale straw colour and light, delicate smell. I picked-up honey-blossom, lime and stone fruit.

    To taste it was very dry, crisp and refreshing. There wasn’t an enormous amount of flavour – mainly citrus fruit. It was a little bit too dry for my liking (almost wince inducing on the finish). Overall, nothing special but would be lovely on a hot summer’s day, ideally in Southern Italy.

  5. I drank a Colli di Lapio by Romano Clelia, a Fiano di Avellino,2016. Not giving much on the nose but the fruit is quite full and sweet, but not in the sugar sense. Almost like riesling in that fruit sweetness. Then, grippy and tight on the long finish. Very drinkable. I think this was about 17 pounds in London. I then compared it to Unico Zelo Fiano 2017 from the least fashionable grape area in South Australia, the Riverland. This is remarkably similar in fruit quality to the Italian, but does not quite have the structure or length. Pleasant quaffing to say the least, but the Avellino is a more serious wine and will age well for a few years I would guess. This is fun.

    1. Hi Ian, I’ve been a bit behind reading the comments on each grape but thought it was really nice to see a comparison between Italian classic and the new wave OZ Fiano’s. I’ve tried a few from Australia and thought they have been really interesting. A bit more powerful on the fruit but like you say, very quaffable!

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