In her 2013 Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino, Clelia Romano once again captures all of the greatness inherent in Fiano di Avellino, a variety that remains one of Italy’s truly exceptional and wholly unique grape varieties. In this brilliant effort Clelia demonstrates why her Fiano always earns top scores and reigns at the head of the class, as recent critics’ reviews will greatly attest. Bright, elegant, flavorful and supremely polished, the 2013 Colli di Lapio Fiano di Avellino offers up alluring scents and flavors reminiscent of stone fruits, spring flowers, and incense, all of which come wrapped in a vivid body that provides additional seduction in the form of pinpoint precision, refreshing acidity, and gentle minerality. Moreover, the wine finishes with a tangy wave, which always seems to include a refreshing hint of sea spray. White wine drinkers who eschew the hegemony of oak in their wine will find Colli di Lapio’s Fiano di Avellino positively exhilarating. Elegant, natural, and sophisticated, Colli di Lapio’s 2013 Fiano glides effortlessly across the tongue to fill the senses, before sliding ever so easily down the gullet, which only makes the impatient taster beg for more. This wine is absolutely brilliant now, but we suggest it be afforded a few minutes in the glass to open before imbibing. We advise serving Colli di Lapio’s 2013 Fiano di Avellino moderately chilled (40º-45° F).
Colli di Lapio’s Fiano di Avellino is born upon hills not far from the sea and recalls the entrancing beauty of the Campania and nearby Amalfi Coast. Obviously, it wasn’t only the sirens that lured sailors to these shores. 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 exceptional 2013 Fiano di Avellino. Made to highlight the catch of the day as well as the produce of the land, Colli di Lapio’s Fiano makes a brilliant partner to all kinds of fish, shellfish, veal, chicken, and legumes. Rock fish, mullet, snapper, and shrimp all provide excellent pairings, with Shrimp Scampi topping the list. Cioppino, Italy’s racy version of Bouillabaisse, makes a good companion to this wine, too. Antipasti and the prized Buffalo Mozzarella of nearby Sorrento, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and served with fresh, juicy local tomatoes, also provide 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!
Editor’s Note: As a general practice The International Wine of the Month Club does not feature two wines from the same producer in any given month. Rarely, have we deviated from this practice, preferring to provide variety among producers as well as varietals and countries. However, on several occasions when a producer is clearly a leader with two wines and at least one or more of those wines is exceptionally rare, we have featured two wines from the same producer. Such is the case this month. Colli di Lapio is clearly one of Campania’s exceptional producers and the estate’s Fiano di Avellino and Taurasi Vigna Andrea are highly allocated. We trust you will enjoy these wines for their quality and rarity.
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 Clelia Romano and her family, Colli di Lapio comprises a mere 8 hectares (approximately 19 acres). The winery, adjacent to the property’s superbly tended vineyards, is both modern and clean but no bigger than a large garage. And, having spent time at the winery with Clelia and her family, we can attest to its diminutive size and continue 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 consistent quality of this estate’s flagship Fiano di Avellino, neither proprietor nor winemaker worries about such trivial matters, nor 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 crafts an outstanding Greco and two very fine red wines from nearby appellations: Irpinia Aglianico “Donna Chiara” and Taurasi “Vigna Andrea.” The latter wines reflect the nobility of Aglianico, the quintessential red varietal of southern Italy that the Greeks planted there 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 inland from the Amalfi Coast.
Fiano is one of the two noble white grapes of southern Italy. It draws its name from the vine’s ancient name vitis apiana, meaning vine beloved by bees. Apparently, the grapes from Fiano vines have been a resounding choice of nature for millennia. The finest examples of Fiano 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 a year or two in bottle 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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