Of the four regions of southern Italy (Campania, Calabria, Puglia, and Basilicata), Campania is probably the most important, both in wine and in commerce. Home to the largest city in southern Italy, Naples (which is the third largest city in Italy, after Rome and Milan), Campania has been central to the southern Italian wine industry for many centuries. Dating back to antiquity, when the Greeks introduced winemaking to the region, Campania has been home to some of the most well known wine regions for the three most important (historically) grapes in the area – Fiano, Greco, and Aglianico. These three grapes were brought over by the Greeks in the late BC era and have thrived in Campania since, especially in the mountainous soils around the province (and city of the same name) of Avellino, which is home to Mount Vesuvious, famous for burying the city of Pompeii in 79 AD.
This wine comes from one of the few DOCG regions in Campania. Though there are 4 DOCG wine regions in Campania today, all but one of them have been awarded since the turn of the century, with this region’s status upgrade coming in 2003. Wines from the Fiano di Avellino DOCG are always dry and still and made from the Fiano grape (as you’d imagine). The Fiano grape is one of the aforementioned varieties brought by the Greeks in ancient times and is thought to be the grape behind the ancient Roman wine Apianum, which has led wine historians to consider it a “classical vine”. Fiano is not the easiest grape to work with, however, as the grape does not produce a lot of juice and tends to produce fairly low overall yields. Because of this, during much of the 19th and 20th centuries the grape fell out of favor with many winemakers, who replaced it with the more profitable Sangiovese and Trebbiano. This led to the near extinction of the grape in the late 20th century, until a more recent interest in the grape has brought an uptick in it’s production, and the creation of the Fiano di Avellino DOCG. The area around Avellino is particularly good for growing Fiano due to it’s mild micro-climate and mineral-rich, volcanic soil. Wines from this region must be made from at least 85% Fiano, with Greco, Coda di Volpe, and Trebbiano rounding out the rest of the blend.
This wine is from the producer Vadiaperti and is made from 100% Fiano grapes. Fiano often has a unique profile, and this Fiano di Avellino is true to form. It has a clear and relatively pale lemon coloring to it. The nose is clean, with medium intensity and a relatively unique nose of fruit and floral notes mixed with some slightly chemical aromas. There is some lemon along with a steely aroma and a hint of wet wool. It is medium bodied and dry, with nice, crisp acidity. On the palate there are more fruit and floral notes, again backed up by some unique, almost chemical, flavors and a little grapefruit bitterness. There also seems to be a very slight hazelnut characteristic to it, though I may just be trying a little too hard with that one. The finish is medium in length, with the grapefruit flavor being accentuated a bit more. Overall a nice wine, though definitely unique and memorable.