Napoli Unplugged Contributor Joel Mack
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By Joel Mack aka @vintrospective (Twitter)
© 2010

Prelude

The Audi pulls me through the gauzy grays and blues of a rainy New England winter afternoon meeting dusk, past white snow fields shattered by the interruption of bare trees.

Fog creeps in across the low ground.

We are changing gears, the Audi and I: it, from 1st, 2nd onto 3rd … me, winter toward spring, into summer.

I long for warm evenings when interiors flicker with lights coming on and the neighborhood reverberates with Mrs. Benicci’s voice calling out “C-A-R-M-E-L-I-N-A-AAAA”, telling her daughter that it is time to stop playing and come home.

I long for the bright blues and whites of laundry hanging against summer’s clear morning sky and the sound of bees buzzing around the trellis of grape vines.

Fiano di Avellino, one of Campania’s most important white wines and a spectacular wine for summer enjoyment, is made from the ancient Southern Italian

grape varietal we call Fiano. Fiano is said to derive its name from apiana as it is said to have been called by the Romans, in reference to its grapes being sweet and quite irresistible to bees or, in Latin, api.

The best expression of Fiano comes from the hills and communities around the town of Avellino, where it flourishes in the area’s volcanic, mineral rich soil. Fiano di Avellino must be made of at least 85% Fiano, with regulations allowing small amounts of Greco, Codo di Volpe, Trebbiano di Toscano to a maximum of 15%.

Fiano di Avellino is a dry white wine (I mention this because Fiano can be found produced as semi-sweet or sweet wine), medium-bodied and typically the color of summer straw with a persistent nose and rich palate. The wine’s flavor / aromatic profile can be complex: pears, white peaches, tropical fruit, hazelnuts, white flowers, herbs and honey can often appear as can highlights of oranges, smoke, or sea salt that seem to glide above delicious minerality and acidity.

Generally speaking, Fiano di Avellino is a wine best drunk young, say, 5 years from vintage, although when from great producers in great vintages, Fiano di Avellino can age well to 10 years or so.

Fiano di Avellino pairs shockingly well with refined seafood dishes – crostini with sliced smoked salmon, goat cheese and chives; delicately fried calamari; octopus salad; grilled fish; exquisite seafood risotto – and can be totally charming with a simple pizza margherita or super refreshing when served alone as an aperitif.

Recommended Producers Include:

Terredora di Paulo
Mastroberardino
Feudi di San Gregorio

ABOUT JOEL MACK

Joel Mack writes about Italian wine at Vintrospective -> An Italian Wine Blog. As a free lance writer, Joel also contributes content to other Internet and print interests. He conducts specialized seminar tastings featuring the wines of Italy for private and corporate clients and teaches a college level Discover Italy series of wine classes. He has a worked for a celebrated importer / distributor of Italian wines and continues to study the wines of Italy. See all of Joel Mack’s Articles on Napoli Unplugged.

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