After last week’s Garnacha Blanca review, we delve into increasingly obscure depths this Thirsty Thursday. Fiano is our grape of choice.
It is unbearably hot, flat, and dry here. That heat produces nearly half of Italy’s olives. Next, hot climate red grapes Primitivo and Negroamaro comprise equal thirds of wine production. Whites barely register. But Fiano keeps a heal-hold.
Castello Monaci, under over a century of family ownership, has 350 acres of vines, with each vineyard vinified separately. Today’s is called “Acante”. Desperate night harvests avoid Salento’s mid-day sun stroke. Fermentation shifts to neutral acacia barrels with skins, followed by sur-lie aging on skins to provide extra heft. Let’s try 2011:
Aromas: Buckets and buckets of gold, twisting beeswax, kiwi and green melon, linseed oil, birch, salt.
Palate: Dry but ripely fruity, with moderate acidity and alcohol (only 12.5%), followed by a gorgeous, viognier-fat body.
Flavors: That bouquet of beeswax remains, but really bold yet sunny, round, honeyed melon and pineapple juice are on show here. A little driftwood and seaside minerality closes a medium plus finish.
Conclusions: Monaci’s Fiano is solidly good, round, yet refreshing stuff (3 of 5), especially under $15. Seafood, risotto, young cheese, greek salad, or simply itself will cool any brow.