It’s funny to talk about Fiano (fee-ah-no) as if it’s a new kid on the block, when it has been attracting the bees (traditionally known as Vitis Apiano ‘the vine beloved by bees’) for over 2000 years and pleasing Italian kings since the 13th Century. But in Australia, and even in modern Italian terms, Fiano is a fresh face on the white wine scene, luring dedicated Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris/Grigio and even Riesling drinkers to its unwavering fan-base. Here’s why…
Fiano is basically Italian royalty
It is widely thought that Charles d’Anjou, King of Naples was so taken by Fiano’s charms that he had the royal vineyards planted with 16,000 Fiano vines in the 13th Century. In fact, Southern Italy’s Campania region is still the stronghold of the variety today. This may make you wonder, if Fiano was so deeply loved why did it vanish from popularity until as recently as the 1990s? Tragically Fiano was hit hard by the phylloxera crisis of the late 19th Century, plus its low yield and small juice output wasn’t seen as viable when pitted against the big, juicy grape varieties popular in the 70s and 80s. Thankfully for lovers of this small, thick skinned grape, today it’s embraced for its complex, textural and expressive qualities, and celebrated for its low yield, concentrated characteristics.
When things heat up, Fiano is still as fresh as ever
If you are environmentally conscious or just a fan of clever viticulture, when you pour yourself a Fiano you’ll be pleased to know one of the reasons Australian winemakers increasingly look towards southern Italian grapes goes beyond their impeccable flavour profiles and aromatics. It also has a lot to do with climate, in particular warm climates. As the world heats up and Australian vintages bear the brunt of temperature spikes Fiano is proving to be a resilient variety. It ripens later and retains acidity despite the heat, essentially by-passing the effects our scorching summers can have on fruit, saving on water and wastage.
It’s the tiny grape that tells a delicious story
Read the label of almost any good Australian Fiano and you will find yourself being enticed by its pristine colour, mouth-watering acidity, light and fresh aromatics, and an abundance of fresh fruit flavours. While climate, region, terroir and winemaking styles all play a part in shaping each unique bottle of Fiano, typically you might expect to enjoy grapefruit, honeysuckle, apricot, nashy pear, almond, hazelnuts, tropicals and/or citrus, along with notes of spice and herbal minerality. Some of which you will enjoy in our 2019 Fiano, grown locally here in Gundagai.
Italian fare is more than fair on Fiano
You’ve probably read it many times before, but Italian varietals are extremely food friendly and the old adage certainly rings true for Fiano too. Fiano’s fresh acidity effortlessly cuts through Cuoppo – Southern Italy’s take on fish and chips. Or try with a Margherita Pizza for an alternative pairing to the usual red wine partnership. Creamy dishes are also a tasty match for Fiano, such as a Creamy Carbonara. Of course, Fiano doesn’t need food to be a pleasure, however, if you are a Table of Plenty type of wine lover we suggest you pour yourself a glass with your fave foods and settle in the for a delicious evening.