Pietracupa Fiano di Avellino, Avellino, Campania, Italy 2017
GRAPE: FIANO [fee-AH-no]
‘I think Fiano may well be Italy’s greatest native white grape’ says Ian D’Agata. Sing it, brother. Historically speaking this grape likely goes back to the days of Pliny. It’s wild to think that it was only as recently as forty years ago, the early 80’s, when Fiano was actually was correctly identified and produced as a varietal wine. Credit for this, as with many other landmark moments in Campanian wine, goes to the Mastroberardino family for doing all the groundwork in the vineyards. Their wines are classic benchmark examples and they have led the way in the selection massale process of these native grapes. The allure of this noble grape variety has definitely reached our shores and there are a handful of thoughtful producers putting some serious love and attention into making great Fiano here in California (See: Unti, Ryme, Giornata…)
GROWER: Sabino Loffredo has long been one of my top favorite winemakers. Not only are each of his wines simply stellar across the board, he is also one of the greatest characters I’ve met in my years of travels to Italy. He’s been producing wines since the late 90’s and of the three grapes he works with it is clear that Fiano is his favorite. (Though don’t miss any opportunity to experience his Greco and Aglianicos.) Sabino certainly has a distinct style, as each of his wines have this beautiful saturation to them – meaning that they are truly seamless and impossibly long on the palate – not that they are in any way big or over concentrated. Quite the contrary. The wines character also match their maker in this case, Sabino’s ardent passion and intensity are hidden behind his humble manner and wry humor.
GLASS: Yet another white wine that I could just bury my nose in forever. Ripe golden apples, honeysuckle, sweet rosemary and just a whiff of toasted almonds. The aromatics perhaps suggest a bigger wine than it is overall, but really it’s all about the complexity that makes this special. The crisp apples, as well as stone fruit like yellow plums, saturate the taste buds perfectly and are equalled by a rich nutty quality that helps provide a fair amount of textural weight as well. And then there are the reminders that we’re dealing with volcanoes here people, or at least older soils with several layers of volcanic influence. This is Fiano at its finest here, with tertiary notes of flint-y and pine resin-y essence that add even more to the wealth of delectable elements already present.
SIDE NOTES: Pietracupa was built to showcase the special nature of historic commune of Montefredane. There is no word in the English language to describe the level of pride and attachment amazing producers like Sabino hold to their native grape varieties and soils. I can only hope that there one in Italian.