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And Fiano it Is

An excerpt from our 2016 newsletter.  After some further local research, we selected Fiano, partly because we can see it suiting our climate, partly because it’s a beautiful wine, and partly because it’s an anagram of Fiona!  Looking forward to a small crop in 2020:

A warmer 2016 vintage reminded us that we need to think of the future, and perhaps the wines of southern Italy might be worth a closer look.  Abruzzo, Campagna and Sicily were our targets – well south but the better wines are grown in the cooler, higher regions on the mainland, and with coastal influence in areas of Sicily.

Wine highlights of the trip:

  • Fiano – a lovely soft, rounded wine white, highly fragrant, beautifully textured, could make a good addition to the stable.
  • Greco di Tufo – a wine makers wine, restrained, high acidity, citrus, highly reminiscent of a nice, dry Riesling.
  • Aglianico – we’ve tried a few good Australian examples, and it didn’t disappoint, quite tannic when young, tarry, liquorice, a big wine, often blended with something a bit softer. Memorable due to the lady who made our lunch being born in Canberra and returning to Taurasi (Campagna) when she was 13.  Best antipasti!
  • Montelpuciano – widely planted, and made young and fresh through to dark and brooding. Cherry, plum, drying tannins, lean and structured.
  • Nero d’Avola – gaining momentum in Australia, makes Sicily’s only DOCG wine – Cerasuolo di Vittoria – when blended with Frappato.  Full bodied, smooth, ages well, a bit like shiraz.  We visited COS in Vittoria where they are fermenting and aging some wines in buried amphora.

Of course, the wine is only half the story.  The local cheeses, breads, pastas, salamis, prosciutto, seafood (it was tuna season!), and game meats were superb.  And the coffee – addictive short blacks for about $1.50.  Absolute standouts – fresh cheeses of Abruzzo, aged cheeses of Sicily, the original buffalo mozzarella from around Naples, chestnut pasta in Abruzzo, Bisteccia Florentina in a Tuscan restaurant in Rome, fresh anchovies stuffed with mozzarella in Sicily, boned (!) rabbit wrapped in prosciutto and poached in wine.  Also great – all this was reasonably priced (OK except for the Bisteccia).


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