One Fine Wine: Di Meo Fiano di Avellino 2012

This is the first of what I intend to be an intermittent series of short posts about individual wines I’ve recently enjoyed. Diane and I drank the bottle named above, a Di Meo Fiano di Avellino 2012, with a relatively simple dinner of snapper soup (brought home from a trip to Cape May) and filets of John Dory (brought home from our local Citarella). The nutty, mineral scent of the wine tempted from the first pour – and then the wine itself stood up and kissed the soup and danced with the fish and kept growing more interesting as it opened in the glass. We finished the bottle easily and looked around for more.

Fiano is, without qualification, a great white variety, as fine as Riesling or Chardonnay, and in the vineyards around Avellino, high up – 550 meters up for Di Meo – in the complex volcanic soils of those hills, it achieves its maximum expression.

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Writing some time ago about the wines of Campania, I said that some day wine lovers would regard the Avellino zone with the same reverence they accord Burgundy’s Côte d’Or. Every time I open a bottle like this Fiano, I feel that even more strongly:  This simply is a world-class white wine.

Fiano is never as fat on the palate as a white Burgundy: It’s linear, and often more subtly elegant, with a fine nut (hazelnut and almond) and mineral-inflected complexity that grows more intriguing with every year of bottle age. About a year ago, Diane and I drank (with friends to help) a magnum of Di Meo’s 2000 Fiano di Avellino, and it was spectacular, showing not the slightest sign of senility and all the signs of depth and all the layered flavors that mineral-laced soils and mature fruit (lots of dry pear and hazelnut) can convey.

Di Meo is becoming something of an aged Fiano specialist, but the natural structure of the Fiano variety is such that almost any well-made Fiano di Avellino will mature beautifully, if you can keep yourself from enjoying it while it’s still young.

In addition to all its natural advantages of soil, site, altitude, and climate, the Avellino zone is blessed with a throng of passionate and knowledgeable winemakers. In addition to Di Meo’s, you can find excellent Fiano di Avellino from Cantina del Barone, Ciro Picariello, Donnachiara, Feudi di San Gregorio, Mastroberardino, Pietracupa, Tenuta Sarno, Terredora, Urciuolo, Villa Diamante, Villa Matilde, Villa Raiano and probably a few others I’ve forgotten.

When next you buy some, try squirreling a few bottles away in some corner where you can forget them for a few years: They’re worth the wait.

 

7 Responses to “One Fine Wine: Di Meo Fiano di Avellino 2012”

  1. Bob Griffin Says:

    Thank you for the article. I am a huge fan of Irpinia wines as well. From your recent posts on Italian white wines I have obtained an understanding that Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo age well. As you suggest I now have several of those bottles hidden away in my cellar and in a few years I plan to enjoy.

  2. Philip H Christensen Says:

    Carol and I have an Enoteca across the street, so I braved the blizzard conditions on Wednesday to look for a bottle of Fiano di Avellino. (They only had a 2015 Terredora di DiPaolo.) It went very well with baked fish, jasmine rice, and grilled brussel sprouts, with onions and bacon. Thanks for the recommendation.

  3. fromthefamilytable Says:

    Kissing the soup, and dancing with the fish! Great imagery and then an erudite exposition of the wine. Thanks.

  4. ANGELO CLARIZIA Says:

    Great article. The world is descovering the wines of South Italy. By the way was not by chance named ENOTRIA by the Greeks.

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