Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino 2011
As Frank recently noted, the wines of the north typically set the standard for Italian whites. And though there are certainly some great examples, even the best tend to fall in the light-bodied, elegant and/or aromatic category. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) And then there’s mass-produced Pinot Grigio. My point is, I suppose, that these wines might not always get the blood flowing for lovers of vino rosso, especially as the nights grow cooler. Whites from Italy’s south, land of generously warm sun, on the other hand, offer ripe grapes, and thus lush wines of bold flavor (though not without nuance).
Fiano di Avellino, in particular, an indigenous single varietal number from Italy’s Campania region near Naples, can be particularly intriguing, due to its tendency to feature undertones of smoky, volcanic ash on the nose, a savory characteristic usually reserved for red wines. It’s not overwhelming by any means – fruit is still the standout flavor – just a little something to add character.
Feudi di San Gregorio Fiano di Avellino 2011 ($11.99, #12345), recently released on Chairman’s Selection, would be a great intro to the style – a reliable producer at knockdown price. I recently sampled the 2012 vintage: the nose was intensely floral, with layers of stone fruit, citrus and hay, and just a hint of underlying ash as it picked up some air. On the palate, succulent nectarines led the way, with touches of honey, hazelnuts, toffee and even a hint of stone on the finish. Pair it with light-to-medium spiced Asian fare or mid-weight fish dishes. Though this wine can typically hold for a few years, I’d drink the 2011 soon.
I also tried the Rocca di Sanniti Fiano di Avellino 2013 ($12.99), another nice version, though not as vibrant. At the same tariff, I’d pick the FdSG, though both are enjoyable.
BTW, for anyone curious how to pronounce “Feudi” in Feudi di San Gregorio, it is “Fouw-di” – or at least that’s the simple way to explain it. (Listen to an Italian say it here.)