The Wine: Fiano di Avellino DOCG 2016
Fiano di Avellino is one of Italy's best white wines, made from the Fiano variety near the town of Avellino in the region of Campania. Ciro Picariello practices very natural grape growing and winemaking, yet his wines are completely clean and expressive.
The fruit for his estate-bottled Fiano di Avellino comes from two areas within the appellation, Summonte (around Picariello's house and winery), which is at 650 meters (2,100 feet) above sea level and Montefredane, at around 500 meters (1,650 feet) above sea level.
The grapes are picked by hand into small boxes, then the whole bunches are pressed, the must is settled out for 24 hours and fermented with indigenous yeast. Once the fermentation is complete, the wine is racked and then aged on the fine lees for about 10 months. The wine is bottled with little SO2 and no fining or filtration. Fiano is one of the most age-worthy white wines in Italy, and this will go ten years very easily.
The wine shows vivid, distinctive aromas and flavors of almond, herbs, citrus, and an enticing smokey/struck flint character from volcanic soil. On the palate, there is bright, green-apple acidity, and great complexity. Pair with all kinds of seafood dishes, or just roast chicken.
The Producer: Ciro Picariello
Ciro Picariello is one of the most respected natural winemakers in Italy. His white wines are legendary among natural wine drinkers. Their uniqueness, terroir-driven profile, and capacity to age are legendary. Only Valentini and his Trebbiano d’Abruzzo or Paolo Bea with his natural Umbria Bianco white wine can rival Ciro Picariello in his craft.
Ciro Picariello’s vineyards are located in Campania, Province of Avellino, and are divided between two locations, Montefredane (1,600 feet above sea level) and Summonte (2,100 feet), both parcels within the Fiano di Avellino DOCG appellation. In addition to Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Ciro Picariello produces Greco di Tufo DOCG, which we will soon feature on Primal Wine.
The Region: Campania
Campania is located in Southern Italy, it borders with Lazio (north), Abruzzo (northeast), Puglia (east), Basilicata (southeast), and with the Tyrrhenian Sea (west). The capital of Campania is Naples, which is also its biggest city and economic center.
Off the coast of Campania there are several islands, most notably Ischia, the biggest, and the ever-charming Capri, with its picturesque squares and docks. Pompei is also located in Campania, within the metropolitan city of Naples, near Mount Vesuvio, one of the most famous active volcanoes in the world.
The Terroir of Campania
Mount Vesuvio is not only a tourist attraction but also a defining element in the region’s winemaking, together with the Tyrrhenian Sea. Some of the best wines from Campania, such as Taurasi, Aglianico del Taburno, Fiano di Avellino, and Greco di Tufo are made from grapes grown on volcanic soils and gently caressed by a steady Tyrrhenian sea breeze.
In Campania we find a soil formation – a combination of limestone with gravel and clay – called “regosuoli”, characteristic to the areas within the Provinces of Benevento and Avellino where Aglianico and Aglianico del Taburno are grown.
The Red Wines of Campania
Campania is one of the richest Italian wine regions in terms of indigenous grape varietals – both red and white. Among the reds, Aglianico is king, which is also the most widely planted varietal in the region overall with about 30% of the total. The two red wine DOCGS of Campania are both Aglianico-based wines.
Aglianico del Taburno DOCG: a medium to full-bodied blend of Aglianico del Taburno (min. 85%) and other non-aromatic red varietals (max. 15%), grown on limestone with gravel and clay soils – "regosuoli" in Italian.
Taurasi DOCG: a full-bodied, structured and complex wine, a blend of Aglianico (min. 85%) and other non-aromatic red varietals (max. 15%), aged a minimum of 3 years in total, with 12 months in wood barrels.
The White Wines of Campania
The three most famous white grape varietals native to Campania are Fiano di Avellino, Greco di Tufo, and Falanghina – the first two have their own DOCG. On the island of Ischia we can find Biancolella and Forastera, whereas more inland, near Caserta, we find some of the rarest native grape varietals, Asprino and Coda di Volpe. The Gulf of Sorrento is also home to several rare native varietals, used in local blends, with Suppezza and Olivella being the most common.