Out of italy

Country Style - - WINE -

Rob In­gram en­coun­ters a ‘new’ white with a con­sid­er­able history.

he waiter men­tioned that we “might like to try the fi­ano — it’s a new va­ri­ety”. He was half right about the ‘new’… or per­haps three-quar­ters.the fi­ano was a fine sug­ges­tion and while it’s cer­tainly not a new va­ri­ety, it is a rel­a­tively new style to Aus­tralian wine lists. It is quite likely that when Henry V of Ger­many first went to Italy on a work­ing hol­i­day in the 12th cen­tury and ended up be­ing crowned Holy Ro­man Em­peror, he might have in­vited a few of the boys around for a fi­ano or two. And cer­tainly it is recorded that in the 13th cen­tury, Charles d’an­jou — King of Naples — had 16,000 fi­ano vines flour­ish­ing in his vine­yard. The va­ri­ety orig­i­nates from the Cam­pa­nia re­gion east of Naples, and Fi­ano di Avel­lino is rated DOCG, Italy’s su­pe­rior wine clas­si­fi­ca­tion. By the 20th cen­tury, fi­ano was in de­cline in Cam­pa­nia, mainly as a re­sult of grow­ers be­gin­ning to use the grape for blend­ing and then turn­ing to va­ri­eties that pro­duced more juice. But around the town of Avel­lino, fi­ano re­tained its ex­alted sta­tus. Mark Lloyd of Co­ri­ole Vine­yards fell for its charms when look­ing for a new south­ern Ital­ian va­ri­ety to grow in South Aus­tralia’s Mclaren Vale.the first Aus­tralian fi­ano was re­leased by Co­ri­ole from the 2005 vintage, and to­day around 40 Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers have a fi­ano in their range. Mclaren Vale re­mains the prom­i­nent re­gion and South Aus­tralia the prom­i­nent state, with fianos also pop­ping up

Tin the Clare Val­ley, Langhorne Creek, the River­land and the Barossa Val­ley. But a dis­tinc­tive and ap­peal­ing style is also com­ing out of Vic­to­ria’s King Val­ley from pro­duc­ers such as Gap­sted and Red­bank. In Italy, the clas­sic fi­ano wines come from the Ir­pinia dis­trict around Avel­lino, which is shel­tered by the nearby Ap­pe­nine Moun­tains. Although it is grown through­out the re­gion and all the way down to the coast, the best fi­ano vine­yards lie among the forested hills of Ir­pinia. It’s said that the forests are the source of Ital­ian fi­ano’s dis­tinc­tive piney herba­ceous flavour. The fruit for Red­bank’s King Val­ley fi­ano is har­vested from a vine­yard that’s 700 me­tres above sea level in Vic­to­ria’s High Coun­try. King Val­ley proudly wears the ‘Lit­tle Italy’ name tag on be­half of the Ital­ian mi­grants who es­tab­lished vine­yards in the dis­trict.the wines dis­play a crisp el­e­gance and they’re also rich in Ital­ian her­itage and au­then­tic­ity. As well as hav­ing its own King Val­ley vine­yards, Red­bank re­lies on a small group of grow­ers, some of whom are de­scen­dants of the orig­i­nal Ital­ian set­tlers.the 2014 Red­bank Fi­ano comes from a small par­cel of vines planted at Myrrhee, a tiny ham­let in the King Val­ley. Fi­ano is most ac­claimed for its dry ex­am­ples but is some­times also made into dessert wines that are usu­ally air-dried to pro­duce some­thing lus­cious that would be the per­fect com­ple­ment to a frangi­pane tart.

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