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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Campania Uncorked: 2010 Fiano di Avellino, TerreDora

“With drops of Jupiter in her hair, she acts like summer and walks like rain, she listens like spring and talks like June” ~ Train

Many folks like to describe wines as being either feminine or masculine, I too like to think of wine in that way and have often described Cabernet Sauvignon as masculine and the lighter, generally more delicate Pinot Noir as feminine. But in today's wine review spotlight, is a wine which is somewhere in between those two ends of the spectrum. In Campania, you have the red wines from Taurasi which are big, strong and very masculine and Falanghina, a bit more of a delicate, feminine style of white wine. But the Fiano, seems to fall somewhere in-between, reminding me a bit of the lyrics from that song, "Drops of Jupiter".

To me the Fiano I encountered in the bottle, just last week was very "tom-boyish" it definitely has a feminine side to it, but with plenty of, in your face, "these boots are made for walking" attitude. Now that's my kind of wine, in a cage match this wine would pummel chardonnay like a bad habit, frankly it wouldn't be much of a contest. It would give everyone with the Chardonnay Conundrum, a new champion to fill their glasses, with wines that have a soul, especially in contrast to California Chardonnay. And believe me, having just judged 30 different Chardonnays and over 30 different Viogniers [SDIWC], all nearly monolithic wines; folks it's time for the wines of Campania to find a place in your own cellar.

I brought this wine all the way home from my last trip to Italy [where there was some choices I had to make because of weight issues], where I had an opportunity to speak at the International Wine Tourism Conference this past January. It was on the way to Campania, where I encountered the Fiano and was given a sample to take home. This wine she signed and gave to me and each one of other wine-writers with me, reminds me of our brilliant, smart and quick thinking host in Campania, Daniela Mastroberardino, President of Moviemiento Tourismo e Vino in Campania and owner of the Terredora Winery. As she speaks you can sense her passion and unrelenting desire to ring the bell, shout from the roof tops, that Campania is home to some of the world's very best wines. Wine destination tourism is alive and well in Campania, come taste the flavors of this great land for yourself, you'll never be the same.

Our blogger wine-bus crew was sucker punched by a snow-storm the likes of which they had not seen in Campania since 1956, so to say it was a Monster Storm, is no where close to being an over statement. Out itinerary had plans for us to visit, Terredora, but circumstances being what they were, I was so sad we missed out on that unique opportunity.

Nonetheless the ever buoyant and fast thinking Daniela, quickly came up with a plan to make lemons into lemonade. She gave us a quick and fascinating tutorial on the wines of Campania. She then arranged with UNA Hotel il Molino's Chef Angelo D'Amico to come up with some dishes, to pair with the amazing wines of Campania. 

Chef D'Amico, then proceeded to give us a quick cooking demo, on how to make, mouth watering ten minute, Campania comfort foods. One of simple but oh-so tasty dishes he prepared, was a mixture of old bread mixed with sautéed garlic, onions and softened vegetables [hello comfort food], sprinkled with a Caciocavallo cheese, which really added some nice depth to the dish and paired so wonderfully both the red and whites wines we encountered. Many of those wines produced from grapes, which sadly, I've had little to no exposure to in the past.

About the the 2010 Fiano di Avellino, which Daniella graciously signed for us; to say it was a mouth watering masterpiece, really does not give this wine enough credit. In the glass a gorgeous golden hay colored hue, on the nose honey from the hive, nectar, lemon and lime rinds tickling the senses. On the palate a beautifully executed mouth watering vibrant acidity, honey, toasted almonds, wet-stone, subtle lemon and lime notes like low hanging fruit, built upon great structure. The finish is long and memorable, inviting slurp after slurp, the kind of wine that makes you sad, when the last drop falls from the bottle. This can be purchased stateside, it sells for $20 to $25 a bottle, I scored this wine 93 points and in my mind this is the perfect "comfort-food" wine. Even if you're not up to making a ten minute recipe, bust out the Chicken Pot pies, pour yourself a glass of chilled, but not cold Fiano, you'll find yourself in heaven.  

As I've shared this remarkable story above, I have but one desire; folks please hear me on this point, you need to search out the wonderful wines of the Campania region for yourself and give them a swirl, your palate will never be the same. Personally, I was blown away by the many different flavors, great structure and easy pairing ability, which nearly every one of these wines brought to the table. Until next time folks sip long and prosper, cheers!
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