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 want 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 fantastic 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, a grape which thrives in volcanic soils, 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, and substance. The contrast to California Chardonnay is stark, enjoy some wine diversity. 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 and in your glass.

I brought this wine all the way home from my last trip to Italy, where there were some difficult choices had to make because of baggage weight issues. During the I had an opportunity to speak at the 2012 International Wine Tourism Conference and Workshop 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 rooftops, that Campania is home to some of the world's very best wines. Wine destination tourism is alive and well in Campania, come to taste the flavors of this great land for yourself, you'll never be the same.

The International Wine Tourism Conference media team and hosts were 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 nowhere close to being an overstatement. 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 fantastic wines of Campania.

Chef D'Amico then proceeded to give us a quick cooking demo, on how to make, mouth-watering ten minutes, Campania comfort foods. One of oh-so-tasty but straightforward 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 excellent 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 2010 Fiano di Avellino, which Daniella graciously signed for us; to say it was a mouthwatering masterpiece, really does not give this wine enough credit. In the glass, 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 an excellent 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 beautiful 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, excellent structure and natural 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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