Come back to Fiano
Not that I need to be forced to re-visit an old favorite, our focus on Southern Italy in this month's online Wine Tasting 101 program provided an opportunity too tasty to resist.
In other words, when I noticed that a local shop still had a little stash of Fiano di Avellino, a truly delicious Southern Italian white that I had very much enjoyed the last time I tried it (in May 2002), I had to grab a bottle to see how it had fared.
Even though it had hardly been properly "cellared," gathering dust at room temperature on the retailer's shelf or distributor's warehouse, the good balance of full fruit and snappy acidity that made the Fiano a winner last spring had served it well over a year's time. Comparing notes, it was recognizably the same wine, but with an added dimension of richness and complexity that helped explain, if not fully excuse, the shop's decision to raise the toll 3 bucks over last year's price tag.
Fiano, you may recall, is an indigenous white grape of Campania, the region around Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Pronounced "Fee-ah-no," it goes back to the ancient Romans, who called the aromatic grape "apiano" because it attracted bees ("apis" in Latin). The other half of the wine's name honors the village of Avellino, the traditional center of the Fiano-growing district.
Because this was year-old stock, the 2000 vintage may not be widely available. If you would like to replicate this experiment, though, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a couple of bottles of a more recent vintage ... one to enjoy now, one to put aside and try in a year or so.
Here's my tasting report. If you would like to compare it to my previous tasting of the same wine, you'll find it in the archives at
Terredora 2000 Fiano de Avellino ($20.99)
Clear gold, darkened just a bit with age since my last tasting in April 2002. Appetizing and still-fresh scents, white fruit and a touch of banana oil, add complexity with notes of almonds and a pleasant whiff of beeswax. Full-bodied and ripe, rich and textured flavors are consistent with the nose, mouth-filling fruit with snappy acidity to provide a sturdy backbone. Ripe tropical fruit and subtle bitter almond add flavor interest in a very long finish. U.S. importer: VIAS Imports Ltd., NYC. (July 15, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: An outstanding companion with simple, pan-seared wild Alaska king salmon.
VALUE: Although the $20 point can't be considered "budget" level, this wine stands comparison with White Burgundies and other world-class whites that earn their price tag the old-fashioned way.
WHEN TO DRINK: Delightful now, and should hold for at least another year or so, or longer under good cellar conditions.
WEB LINK: The winery's Website is available in Italian, English, French, German and Spanish. To skip the "Flash" introduction and go straight to the English page, click
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Friday, July 18, 2003