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The 2009 Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino possesses Fiano’s brilliant, straw colored robe that radiates the warmth of the southern Italian sun. With a slight tinge of green that dazzles the eye and a complex set of aromatics, Colli di Lapio’s outstanding 2009 Fiano di Avellino need not even be drunk to elicit pleasure. Yet, who could resist? A layered, multifarious nose of flowers, spice, dried honey, and freshly picked orchard fruits presents an exhilarating counterpart to the wine’s white peach and citrus flavors, all of which glide effortlessly through to the wine’s structured, mineral rich finish. More elegant and ultimately more sophisticated than other Fiano based wines and Campania’s other premium white varietal, Greco di Tufo, Colli di Lapio’s Fiano retains enough verve and natural acidity to assure age worthiness along with a long, clean, distinctive finish. The wine is brilliant now, yet ultimately it is Fiano d’Avellino’s ability to age and develop secondary characteristics that merit its place among the most noble of Italian white varietals. For those tasters patient enough to allow this elegant white wine an additional six months or even a year in bottle, there will be handsome rewards. In any case we suggest serving Colli di Lapio’s Fiano moderately chilled (about 40º F). Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.
Colli di Lapio’s Fiano di Avellino always makes us smile. Like its Campanian compatriots in nearby Greco di Tufo, it is born upon hills in sight of the sea. From the craggy Amalfi Coast that soars high above the swirling depths and the rugged green Apennine Mountains that climb precipitously inland to the very backbone of Italy, there is no better wine to accompany the region’s many specialties than Colli di Lapio’s 2009 Fiano di Avellino. Made to highlight the catch of the day as well as the produce of the land, Colli di Lapio’s Fiano is a brilliant partner to all kinds of fish, shellfish, veal, chicken, and legumes. Rock fish, mullet, snapper, and shrimp all provide excellent pairings. Cioppino, Italy’s racy version of Bouillabaisse, complements this wine, too. The prized Buffalo Mozzarella of nearby Sorrento, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and served with fresh, juicy local tomatoes also provides superb companionship to Clelia Romano’s prized Fiano. Veal Osso Bucco offers yet another local favorite and gustatory delight, especially when paired with a bottle of mature Fiano di Avellino. Buon Appetito!
Colli di Lapio is a small, family owned winery that crafts what critics have dubbed “the finest wine of Fiano di Avellino.” Run with expert care and supreme dedication by the youthful Clelia Romano and her family, Colli di Lapio comprises a mere 6 hectares (or a little more than 13 acres). The winery, adjacent to the property’s superbly tended vineyards, is both modern and clean but no bigger than a large garage. One has to wonder how Clelia and the estate’s winemaker Angelo Pizzi can even turn around in the place during harvest time, as there is not a single centimeter of space to spare. However, judging from the quality of this estate’s flagship Fiano di Avellino, neither proprietor nor winemaker worries about such trivial matters, and neither should we. What ends up in the bottle is ultimately what matters, and Colli di Lapio’s Fiano di Avellino is one of southern Italy’s finest white wines. Needless to say production at Colli di Lapio is miniscule – only 100 cases of their Fiano di Avellino even make it to the United States.
In addition to fashioning Fiano di Avellino’s most lauded white wine from estate vineyards, Colli di Lapio also crafts two very fine red wines from nearby appellations: Irpinia Aglianico “Donna Chiara” and Taurasi “Vigna Andrea.” Both wines reflect the nobility of Aglianico, the quintessential red varietal of southern Italy. The Greeks planted Aglianico in southern Italy around 700 B.C. when much of the Italian peninsula and Sicily were part of Magna Graecia. Aglianico is a superb varietal, perfectly suited to Italy’s Campania, most especially the appellation of Taurasi and the surrounding province of Irpinia, both of which lie in the mountains just west of the Amalfi Coast.
Fiano is one of the two noblest white grapes of southern Italy. The finest examples of Fiano typically hail from the environs of the ancient Campania town of Avellino; hence, the name of the D.O.C.G. contains both the varietal name and its generic origin – Fiano di Avellino. Fiano has been grown in and around Avellino for more than two millennia. This noble grape variety is believed to have been brought to the Italian peninsula by the Greeks more than 2,500 years ago. Fiano’s reputation is both long and illustrious: its forebears are reputed to have been the favorite libation of Roman elite vacationing along the Amalfi Coast. Apparently, not much has changed in two thousand years.
Today, Fiano continues to woo adherents as it produces an exceptional wine of pale golden color and remarkable aroma, flavor, and texture. It is also the rare southern Italian white wine that can not only withstand several years of aging in bottle, it actually requires at least three years of bottle age to be at its best. It is fermented in stainless steel or ceramic and bottled after about six months. Fiano di Avellino is rarely if ever barrel aged. Most notable Fiano wines will see an additional six months in bottle before release, which means Fiano will rarely be for sale before its first birthday.
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