“For years I’ve found myself reaching for Fiano when in the mood for an Italian white. It is a grape I’ve always respected for its complexity and subtle insistence of flavors. What I mean by that is, it’s not showy. No Grüner or Gewürz – Fiano unfurls in this dance of texture and acid, orchard fruit, and often with a persistent minerality. You need to give it some focus to get it all.
Fiano’s home is Campania, and in June I had the opportunity to visit Campania in Italy’s southwest and dive a little deeper into the wines and vineyards. (As an aside if you love food this is a must visit part of Italy. Seafood, Pizza, San Marzano tomatoes, Soppressata, of which everyone thinks their own is the best, and pizza – Naples is home base for pizza). My appreciation for Fiano has been solidified and its ability to age, more suspected than experienced by me, was proven. Campania has sibling noble varieties. Much like Burgundy has Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Campania is the home of one of Italy’s most noble red grapes, Aglianico.
Some producers, depending of course on where their vineyards are, produce red or white, but many make both. I should note that there are other grapes grown in Campania that produce complex and tasty wines, but to this taster, Fiano and Aglianico are tops. This week we are presenting two packs. A Campania Quartet Sipper Pack, as well as a trio of wines that show Fiano and Aglianico at the next level”. -Andy
2018 Vadiaperti, Fiano di Avellino DOC – Campania, Italy
Raffaele Troisi is the energy behind Vadiaperti. His passion for his vineyard was palpable as we walked among the vines feeling the dirt under our feet and in our hands. He makes the wines simply, and purely. The vineyards range from 1,200 to 2,100 feet above sea level on soils that are a mix of volcanic clay (retains moisture in the hot southern sun) with visible white rocks of limestone studded around. The earth here has lots to give; the wines thereforem are produced to showcase it. All made in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast and aged on the lees. We saw the complexity of the soil in bottle. We visited with Raffaele for nearly 6 hours, eating his home-made salumi and tasting wines going back progressively to 1988! This ’18 is a lovely. Aromas of apple, pear and hazelnut. Pure, with a textured center, and lifting acidity, with a stony finish.
2020 Ciro Picariello Irpinia DOC – Campania, Italy
Ciro Picariello began his winery in 1997 with the first commercial vintage being 2004. Now nearly 20 years later they have just completed building a new winery and his children Bruno and Emma are slowly taking over the estate. They tend to harvest their Fiano a little later, but their Fiano’s are also some of the brightest and most mineral-driven of the area: a testament to the fine farming and careful work in the winery. This wine is sourced from a 4-ha parcel planted in 1992. Fermented and aged in steel with indigenous yeasts – simple and precise.
Lemon, pear, crisp apple, and a note of a briny stoniness. The palate is bracing with acidity and flinty minerality.
2018 De Concilis, ‘Donnaluna’ Paestum IGP – Campania, Italy
This winery was founded in 1996 by Bruno de Concillis. His brother and sister, Luigi and Paola, run things, with Paola in the vineyards. Paestum is a warm area, but quite near the sea, so there are breezes throughout that day. The vineyards are all high up on the hillsides as well. This wine is fermented in tank, and aged in a mix of half tank and half 4-year-old barrels. Dark cherries and berries, earth and spice. Vibrant acidity and supple tannins on the palate. This is not a shy wine, but is a softer more medium bodied Aglianico that goes great with fried eggplant, tomatoes, some cheese, and salumi – trust me, I tested that. It’s a wine of the sunshine that feels right on warm day, with great summer veggies.
2018 Luigi Maffini, ‘Kleos’ Cilento DOC – Campania, Italy
Luigi and Raffaella Maffini run their estate together high in the hills overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea. Luigi’s father planted vines and made some wine, but it was Luigi who beginning in 1995 started turning it into the winery it is today. The soils here are limestone & clay which make a particularly fresh expressions of Fiano and Aglianico. His production is roughly 2/3 the former and 1/3 the latter. He is not one to follow others. In his years he has tinkered with how best to
express the grapes and the vineyards in the glass. Usage of tank vs barrel, old vs new, and how long is a perpetual work in progress, but he feels after nearly 30 years he is almost there. Fermented in steel and aged in a mix barrels of different ages. Currants, cherries, with hints of peppery spice. The palate has smoky, slightly meaty note, but the finish reverts back to a bright fruit. Subtle, but present tannins.
2019 Ciro Picariello, ‘Ciro 906’ Fiano di Avellino DOC – Campania, Italy
Ciro 906 is named for parcel 906 on the official Avellino map. It is the highest and oldest parcel of Fiano of the estate. Aged for 12 months in tank with the lees stirred often, and then 12 months in bottle before release from the winery. This is a wine that unfurls in the glass with a little time and lingers on palate for full minutes. Notes of golden apple, white peach and hazelnut – a staple crop of the area, just like Oregon – with a strong flinty character, great complexity, and a very long finish.
2013 Luigi Maffini, ‘Pietraincatenata’ Cilento DOC – Campania, Italy
Pietraincatenata comes from a 2ha parcel and at nearly 10 years old is stunning. Fermented in steel and aged in new barrels, but only for 3 or 4 months! Why, the proof is in the glass. Exotics nose that shows golden hued fruit, dried apricots, wild flowers, new rubber, and wet stone. The palate is giving at first, but retains acidity to balance and lingers long on the palate.
2011 De Concilis, ‘Naima’ Paestum IGP – Campania, Italy
‘Naima’ is one of the top wines of the estate and named for a John Coltrane song – many of the bottlings have jazz inspired names. The siblings feel Aglianico from this area is able to walk a tightrope of being powerful, but still having softer rounder tannins. Much care goes into this one. Fermented in tank, then aged for 1 year in 225L older barrels, followed by two years in 300-500L older barrels, then 1 year in stainless prior to bottling. The intensity and suaveness of the wine is enthralling. Deep berry fruit, and earthy forest floor aromas. On the palate the rich fruit shows, but so does pepper, and earth, and a dark anise tone. Striking stuff for a big meaty dish.
This week’s regional wine spotlight is all about…Island Wines!
Every Wednesday, all featured category wines will be 15% off regular price. Here are more details on how to purchase:
– 15% off all Island Wines (Corsica, Sicily, Canary Islands, & more)
– Discount automatically applied at checkout (no code necessary).
– Click the banner to shop the entire inventory.
– Valid online and at the shop.